The Sandwich: Carolina Chopped Pork Shoulder Sandwich

Where: Pitmasters Back Alley Barbecue, 4818 Yuma St. NW

Cost: $11.99 with fries

Bread: House-baked potato roll

Stuffings: Chopped pork shoulder, Carolina barbecue sauce, and a choice of apple slaw or “mother-in-law” slaw (a spicy Trinidadian specialty made with pepper and carrot)

Thickness: 3.5 inches

Pros: While most chopped pork possesses the same, slightly stringy texture, the meat from this new Wagshal’s-affiliated carryout spot has slightly crunchy and juicy, fleshier bits. The spicy tang of the mother-in-law slaw cuts through the salty meat and delivers just enough heat to warm your mouth without wiping out every other flavor.

Cons: This sandwich is the size of a small dinner plate, and after consuming half of it, you’re exhausted. Meanwhile, the expected acidity of vinegary Carolina-style barbecue sauce never materializes, and each bite tastes the same as the last.

Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 3. The soft roll doesn’t support the entire weight of the meat and a few bites fall by the wayside. Fortunately, the massive size of the roll allows the majority of the contents to remain intact.

Overall score (1 to 5): 3.5. Although the texture and flavor of the meat are spot on, this concoction gets weighed down by its fluffy roll and enormous size. Take away some pork, add a few more condiments, and shrink this hefty haul down by half for a more manageable meal.

Photo by Caroline Jones