"The Pig" History
I am not sure if I can recall a time in my life where BBQ was not a big deal in my family. I remember my Dad was always preparing for the next big BBQ; I am not speaking of the backyard type, but a BBQ done for hundreds of people. My Dad was called upon to BBQ for one civic group or another to raise money for whatever the community needed.
My Dad, Al Aspinwall, was the eldest of three boys my grandparents, Sine and Vida Aspinwall raised. Sine and Vida started the restaurant together. Vida started BBQing when my dad was just a kid. My dad and his brothers, Mike and Randall, were raised in the “The Pig” BBQ restaurant that my grandparents owned and operated since the early 1950’s in Jesup, Georgia.
The family restaurant was in operation for well over 20 years.
As the story goes, “The Pig” put Jesup, Georgia on the map. “The Pig” restaurant was right off of US 301 in Jesup, long before interstate I-95 was put in. Many folks, who traveled each year on their annual pilgrimage south, would make eating at “The Pig” a mandatory stop on their journey. Even to this day, I still find articles written about “The Pig” restaurant’s BBQ and sides served at my grandparents’ restaurant.
The recipes my grandparents used in their famous restaurant were the same my father used. As a young child, I remember going with my dad to some of the BBQ functions in town that he put on for various groups. Inevitably, someone would always mention “The Pig” restaurant and even as a young child I remember my Dad beaming with pride. The Aspinwall name was synonymous with great BBQ. My Dad continued to keep the BBQ tradition in our family alive and well for years. Even after Dad’s illness, my mother Faye Aspinwall O’Connell and my granddaddy, Ernest Smith, continued to keep the BBQ legacy alive by making the famous BBQ sauce. Many times my brother, Bert Aspinwall, and I would come home from college just to make the family BBQ sauce with Mom and Granddaddy. Many folks around town came to look forward to the holidays because we would always make a huge batch of the legendary BBQ sauce to give away to friends and family.
Now spring forward to the year 2004 . . . I have always dreamed of some day owning my own BBQ joint but was always leery of taking those first steps. My dream started taking shape after calling many of my Dad’s relatives who still have their own memorabilia from when “The Pig” was in operation. As I began talking with family, gathering ARTICLES and memorabilia, I became more determined than ever to start living my dream. The number of articles I could still find to this day about “The Pig” restaurant astonished me. I now keep “The Pig” articles and memorabilia in my office at J.D. Diggs as a constant reminder, so that I never loose the focus of my family’s business and heritage. I am very happy that I get to share with the rest of the folks who love good BBQ as much as I do, the way REAL BBQ is suppose to taste