Pin It

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blast from the barbecue past

Posted By on Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Charcoal-smoked beef ribs from Bar-B-Q Kings.
  • Ian McNulty
  • Charcoal-smoked beef ribs from Bar-B-Q Kings.

Good barbecue turns out to be something of a moving target in New Orleans.

The short-lived but very-promising Smokin’ Buddha BBQieux in Metairie has reconstituted itself as a catering operation called NOLA Smokehouse that now does a twice-weekly pop-up at the Avenue Pub (Sundays and Tuesdays 11 a.m.-5 p.m.). Meanwhile, McClure’s Barbecue, which had been operating five days a week inside Dante’s Kitchen, is on hiatus for now but in July proprietor Neil McClure intends to do a pop-up gig inside the Company Burger on Tuesday nights, when that Freret Street standout is normally closed. McClure says he’s also looking for a permanent location to open his own restaurant.

This ever-shuffling deck should not phase local barbecue aficionados, who after all are long-accustomed to logging a few miles in pursuit of a proper rack or brisket. There were fewer barbecue options in the years before Hurricane Katrina, but back then the search for smoke often led barbecue hounds to the door – and bullet-proof serving window – of H&P Bar B-Q Masters.

Found in a narrow building along Elysian Fields Avenue in the St. Roch neighborhood, it was a bare-bones, take-out only hole-in-the-wall that had a history going back to 1972 and a regular following. H&P didn’t reopen after Katrina, but something like its reincarnation has quietly emerged in Gentilly.

That's where brothers Oronde and Sekou Robertson opened Bar-B-Q Kings (2164 Milton St., 949-2210) on a side street not far from Dillard University. Their uncle, Hugh Robertson, had operated H&P Bar B-Q Masters, and while he moved to Washington, D.C. after Katrina, the family recipes and approach to barbecue live on at Bar-B-Q Kings, right down to the mammoth beef ribs for which H&P was known.

Bar-B-Q Kings in Gentilly.

I wrote about this back in March in a longer feature on New Orleans barbecue, but it’s worth breaking out here, if only for the sake of those ribs, a specialty few other barbecue purveyors offer. The size of tomahawks, the protruding bones the color of burnished brass, their meat gives a little fight before coming off the bone. The crust of the exterior, combined with the thick, slightly sweet sauce, gives it almost a candied texture.

Like H&P before it, Bar-B-Q Kings does charcoal-smoked barbecue, which carries some smoky flavor but doesn’t have that deep, redolent wood-smoke aroma of the Southern pit-style barbecue making inroads around town. It’s much more about old-school neighborhood New Orleans barbecue, with an emphasis on the sauce, and it’s a nice blast from the barbecue past for people who remember when finding H&P was such a pleasant surprise.

Ten dollars buys you three beef ribs and sides, including a very good, creamy, jalapeno-spiced mac and cheese. Bar-B-Q Kings also serves pork ribs, chicken, pulled pork and links, a few salads and half-pound smoked burgers with the house barbecue sauce, which start at just $4.

Bar-B-Q Kings
2164 Milton St., 949-2210

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Submit an event Jump to date

Latest in The Latest

More by Ian McNulty

  • Gambit’s 2015 Big Bar Guide

    From craft cocktail emporiums to dive bars, places to get your drink on
    • Nov 23, 2015
  • Review: Basin Seafood & Spirits

    Ian McNulty on a shakeup at a classic New Orleans seafood house
    • Aug 25, 2013
  • Gyro meets muffuletta at revamped Vida’s Bistro

    The former Courtyard Grill branches out from traditional Turkish and Persian food with gyro cross-over dishes.
    • Aug 21, 2013
  • More »

© 2017 Gambit
Powered by Foundation