Are You Hog Wild Enough To Devour Divine Swine’s Pulled Pork Sandwich?
The pig-shaped food truck uses a custom-made Mancini's roll for The Porky.
When John Cornelius retired from teaching, he threw caution to the wind and bought a hog.
But instead of donning black leather and a motorcycle helmet, he wears an apron and drives Divine Swine, a 27-foot, bright pink, sow-shaped barbeque food truck.
When you see this “Piggy” flying down the road, follow it to its destination for pulled pork, bacon, sausage and other meaty menu items that’ll make you squeal. (Note the curly tail on the back of the vehicle. It wags!)
In June 2020, after 30 years as a high school math and music teacher in the Monaca and Central Valley school districts, Cornelius fulfilled his dream of owning a mobile kitchen. He bought the truck, had a metal fabricator friend retrofit it with ears, a snout and those hilarious hindquarters and gave the whole thing a Pepto-Bismol-hued makeover, which is appropriate considering the cuisine.
“It was an instant icon,” says Cornelius, who lives with his wife Elaine in Ohioville, Pa. “But, the best part is, people come back!”
The couple, who got hitched this year in a surprise ceremony on April Fool’s Day, kicked off Divine Swine’s 2023 season last Sunday outside of Ambridge’s Do It Best Hardware.
People mindlessly shuffling out of the store with plumbing fixtures and garden supplies (the place truly has everything!) were greeted by the sounds of a horn honking and John screaming, “Somebody likes my butt!”
John and Elaine are cheeky.
In addition to selling grub out of an enormous oinker, they pass out squeaky pig toys to kids and enjoy joking around with customers, including my pig-obsessed child.
Divine Swine, which makes limited appearances in the area, should park outside of hardware stores on the regular because the size of The Porky sandwich requires a forklift or, at the very least, a wheelbarrow to carry it.
A Boss Hogg-sized version of their signature, more manageable sandwich, The Petunia, is slow-roasted pork topped with red onion, sliced dill pickles and John’s signature barbeque sauce on a Mancini’s roll. And this is no average Manicini’s roll — it’s a custom-made monster that has its own orbit. Please stick some candles on the top of this sandwich and let it serve as my birthday “cake” from here on out.
Divine Swine’s best-seller is the Divine Nacho platter: homemade tortilla chips piled high with pulled pork, cheddar, lettuce, red onion, fresh jalapenos, barbeque sauce and secret ingredients. John has been perfecting his recipes for more than a decade
“I love to cook, and I love to feed people,” he says. “If it’s coming out of the truck, I produce it.”
When he’s not tooling around in Piggy or playing pranks on his family, John is busy making hot, sweet and breakfast sausages, beer brats, kielbasa, candied bacon and even filet mignon beef jerky out of the Firehouse Lounge’s kitchen in Ambridge. There at 1301 Merchant St., he stocks the truck food for its weekly outings, fills catering orders and creates a line of wing sauces. He recommends pairing the spicy condiments with the bar’s tater tots.
John’s first job was at Joe’s Butcher Shop in Pitcairn when he was 15. Despite going the education route, he never forgot the lessons he learned about the culinary craft.
Pulled pork is his passion — he can pack Piggy with at least 10 8-pound trays at a time. There’s pulled pork mac and cheese and, for folks on a health kick, pulled pork on a bed of spring mix of lettuce, red cabbage and red, yellow and orange sweet peppers. If you’re into personal wellness and finding nirvana, go hog wild with that.
But, The Porky will get you closer to hog heaven a lot faster.