Barbecue is certainly a strong Southern food tradition, but it's not a type of food typically associated with the New Orleans area. Fine French and Creole dishes, hot-boiled seafood, and Afro-Caribbean fare dominate the menus around here. However, barbecue has become more popular than it ever has, with slow-cooked, sauced-up meats popping up on menus, BBQ joints opening up, and even barbecue festivals like Hogs For A Cause and The Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival being increasingly well liked.
The Bywater boasts one of the best-known barbecue restaurants that's opened in recent years. The Joint at 701 Mazant Street is "always smokin'," according to their tagline. They're so famous for their burnt ends that there's a chance they may sell out at any time. If they don't, you can get those ends on a plate or in a sandwich.
Open since 2012 at 900 N. Carrollton Ave., Blue Oak BBQ serves excellent platters, such as the St. Louis Spare Rib and House Spicy Green Onion Sausage. You have to check out the incredible sandwiches, including The Doobin Lubin, with pulled pork, smoked sausage, slaw, onions, pickles, and BBQ sauce, and the Pit Viper, with jerk pulled pork and spicy jalapenos.
At Central City BBQ at 1201 S. Rampart St., you can get a full rack of ribs or meat by the pound. Pitmaster James Cruse knows his meat; he won Grand Champion & Best Ribs at Hogs For The Cause 2019 and was in the Top 3 for Best Ribs in the World in Memphis in May 2019. "Cowboy Candy" pork belly and USDA prime brisket platters are always a popular choice, and they have meat-topped salads for lighter fare.
VooDoo BBQ started serving up their uniquely seasoned BBQ on Mardi Gras in 2002 at 1501 St. Charles Ave. Their many meats are dry-rubbed with Caribbean, Cajun, and Creole spices before being smoked over oak and pecan woods. Being truly New Orleanian, VooDoo also serves burgers, gumbo, barbecue shrimp, and po-boys, including The Carnival Po-Boy: BBQ pork, chicken, and brisket with Cajun sausage, dripping in a blend of sauces. VooDoo BBQ has expanded to several states, but it all started on that Lower Garden District corner.
Frey Smoked Meats at 4141 Bienville St. is bringing BBQ to a new level. You should start off with a Bucket O' Biscuits drizzled in bacon honey butter, then continue to a piled-high meat platter. You may have to get the multi-meat option so that you don't have to choose between the pork belly St. Louis ribs, pulled pork, and brisket. Those who like their meat between bread can get one of many Fatties or Flatties burgers. They also serve BBQ brunch, with BBQ grits, BBQ Benedict, and The Cure (Texas toast topped with home fries, brisket chili, white gravy, cheese, and two fried eggs).
Farther up the river, Tres Bon Cajun Meats at 10316 Jefferson Hwy. in Harahan is known for cracklins and boudin. However, barbecued delicacies are peppered throughout the menu, which often includes innovative specials. The Artery Clogger sandwich comes with brisket, pork, bacon, garlic mayo, and pickles, while the Pork & Provolone has brisket, caramelized onions, and pimento cheese. For those wanting something more traditional, you can get The Divorce (half portions of all the meats) and the My Girlfriend's Not Hungry with fries and a boudin ball.
The Ugly Dog Saloon & BBQ at 401 Andrew Higgins Blvd. in the Warehouse District has been serving their ugly yet tasty meats since 1998. Try the Ugly Fries smothered in pork green chili and queso, the Asian BBQ chicken quesadilla, or brisket panini. The platters are served Ugly, Uglier, and Ugliest, with a massive amount of meats, including smoked chicken, ribs, pulled pork, and sausage.
Bourbon & Bailey's BBQ at 1015 N. Claiborne Ave. has smoked meats, including slow-smoked baby-back ribs and pulled pork and a full menu of oysters for surf-and-turf lovers.
The Lakeview BBQ eatery The Backyard, at 244 West Harrison Ave., has all the foods you'd find at a typical backyard party, including BBQ, burgers, and hot dogs. Even their sloppy joe includes some smoked brisket with the ground beef. The house-smoked pork sandwich comes piled with chimmi-slaw and "Not Sweet" BBQ sauce.
Sometimes, barbecue can be on the fancy side. Cochon Butcher at 930 Tchoupitoulas St. is known for more upscale and exotic meat dishes, but the BBQ Pork Carolina Style, with sauce and slaw, can settle your need for smokey goodness. Piece of Meat Butcher at 3301 Bienville St. has a wide variety of food, like salads, charcuterie, and deli meats. They also have a couple of BBQ options, such as the St. Louis-style rib plate and BBQ plate with smoked brisket, ribs, boudin, slaw, and pickled onions.