In 1922 pitmaster Leonard Heuberger created the pig sandwich: pulled pork on a bun, drenched with tangy sauce and embellished with cole slaw. Mr. Heuberger’s logo was a pig in top hat and tails, captioned Mr. Brown Goes to Town, which was a code that told how succulent his barbecue was. The outside of the meat, which gets dark and chewy as it cooks, is still known among old-time connoisseurs as “Mr. Brown”; the interior, which is soft but not as deeply flavored, is “Miss White.” If Mr. Brown goes to town, your sandwich has plenty of those outside chunks. Mr. Heuberger and his original smoke shack are gone, but you can still see his dapper neon pig strutting proudly above the Mount Moriah location of Leonard’s Pit Barbecue (on Fox Plaza Drive). Also on the premises, which are decorated to be reminiscent of a mid-century barbecue parlor, is a restored delivery truck from Leonard’s early days.
The barbecued pork on a pig sandwich is the Memphis gold standard, but Leonard’s cole slaw is something different. Made of finely chopped cabbage and mixed with sauce that has a mustard kick, the slaw is a fresh bright layer that brings out all the sweet and spicy qualities of the pork and sauce below it. There is a lunch buffet at Leonard’s featuring ribs and fried catfish, both of which are very good; but the one thing to eat in this piggy shrine is the sandwich. It is said that when Elvis got a craving for barbecue (a rare event; he was more a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich man), Leonard’s was the place he went, and the pig sandwich is what he ate.