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Mitchell has since to open his own place in nearby Durham, but The Pit remains a great Raleigh favorite for its signature eastern North Carolina-style chopped whole-hog barbecue. The hogs are raised free-range in North Carolina farms which meet the standards of the Animal Welfare Institute, and theyâre cooked the way itâs been done for nearly 150 years in the region, for about 12 hours, with plenty of smoke from hickory and oak. The meat is removed from the carcasses, and everything is blended together â shoulders, legs, ribs, and belly meat with a bit of cracklins added. Then the pork is seasoned with The Pitâs special vinegar-based sauce, which gives it a hot, tangy flavor thatâs just a little bit sweet. "When theyâre done,â said Samantha Hatem, who handles media relations for her husbandâs Empire Eats restaurant group, "the meat is so tender, you can cut it with a butter knife. It tastes great with a nice smoky flavor even without the sauce, but when you add the sauce? Thatâs perfect barbecue,"