Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Quest for the Best!" New Orleans, Last Day

This is my last day in New Orleans I would like to thank Squeal Bar-B-Q, McClure's Barbecue, Cochon Butcher, Toups' Meatery, The Joint, Felix's Oyster Bar, and Two Run Farms. Look for the rest of these fine restaurants here at http://www.meatmeblog.blogspot.com Look for the following restaurant's this week and next week.

Toups' Meatery

The Joint

Felix's Oyster Bar

Two Run Farms: Butcher and Meat Supplier

I have had a blast and I look forward to my next adventure.

Look for more updates at http://www.facebook.com/meatmeblog
Follow me on my way back on Twitter: @meatmeblog

Peace Love and BBQ,
Sean Rice
aka MEAT ME! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quest for the Best! Cochon Butcher, New Orleans

Finally I had gotten a hold of the publicist to meet up with The Butcher. Everywhere I have been has been talk about this place. Have you tired The Butcher yet? Nope. I felt so left out like the kid who had to ride out the basket ball game on the bench. Not anymore! Now it is my turn. I was set for a 2 o’clock because they are always so busy and on a Saturday I could understand that.

I headed out to the CBD to check them out parking was tight but I found something I got out and saw the big sign “Cochon” didn’t look busy at all I had no idea what they were talking about. Finally felt like I got lucky. I walked inside asked for Karen. She tells me your looking for the Butcher they are around the corner. I turned around the corner and my shoulders dropped this there was a line of people out in to the street. This place was packed.

I strolled on down and got in line and said to the nearest employee. “I am Sean Rice, I’m with MEAT ME!” she lit up and dragged me to the front of the line and set me up with Karen. The manager. I had no idea when things where gonna slow down so I said I would start with the photos and she said she would order me up some food.

This place is shoulder to shoulder it is packed, everyone looked really happy too and not minding the wait or the crowd at all. Now you all know my theory if people are waiting for food then the food must be worth waiting for.  I felt like I was finally apart of the club and no longer one of those boys sitting on the bench.

Finally Karen was able to break free and tell me a little about Cochon Butcher:

MEAT ME: So your Karen?

Karen: Yep, I am the General Manager.

MEAT ME: How long has The Butcher been here?

Karen: The Butcher has been here for about 3 years, the restaurant has been here for about 6 years. We opened about 6 months after Katrina and then we opened the Butcher Shop about 3 years ago.

MEAT ME: (I point at the giant crowd of people) Has it always been like this?

Karen: (laughs) Well… It stays pretty busy. Yea. Saturdays are definitely busiest.  We are a busy little shop.

MEAT ME: It has been like this since the beginning?

Karen: It has built but it has been pretty steady. We are defiantly busier then anyone expected we would be.

MEAT ME: Yeah! I mean… How do you even plan for this? So what are these 3 things here?

Karen: The pancetta mac-n-cheese. There is diced up mushrooms, onions, cheese, herbed breadcrumbs.

MEAT ME: What is this delightful piece of loveliness?

Karen: Boudin is a special Cajun Sausage. It is pork, liver, and rice with seasoning. We make our here and it is just so awesome. I just think it is mean that they don’t tell the rest of the country about it. I could eat it everyday.

MEAT ME: It is really good and you can really taste the liver in it.

Karen: Isn’t it? And the rice makes it a little bit lighter.

MEAT ME: What is this next one?

Karen: Duck Pastrami Sliders.

MEAT ME: It’s amazing and you really get that gamy taste.

Karen: Yep.

MEAT ME: So what was the idea behind the butcher shop?

Karen: Our 2 owners Donald Link (Finalist for the 2012 National Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation) and Stephen Stryjewski wanted to do an old world deli where you can come in and get small plates, wine, deli or something from the case. I think they definitely wanted more of a relaxed atmosphere. Which it is.

MEAT ME: So where do you guys source your meats from?

Karen: Well we do everything here. We try and use as many local people as possible. We get whole pigs in and butcher them down. We get a lot of whole animals and butcher them here as much as we can and as local as we can.

MEAT ME: What do you guys source? Pork? Beef?

Karen: Yea. Steven even likes to do goats sometimes. We kind of keep our options open. We get quail in there… Lamb.

MEAT ME: With your business what is your ratio of butcher shop to food services? Is one more dominating than the other?

Karen: We are definitely both. We do more of our sales for food than out of the case. I would say may be 80% but it changes.

MEAT ME: On top of this do you guys also source for the Cochon Restaurant?

Karen: We have a forager, Ashley is her name, and we represent her restaurant also. Which is Donald’s first restaurant. Then Stephen and Donald opened up Cochon and then Calcasieu, which is private dining; and Butcher at the same time. We also opened a second Cochon at the Lafayette. We have a forager who gets local produce and distributes them throughout all the restaurants. She helps us get our pigs.

Actually Donald and Stephen are having a farmer raise their own pigs. They actually just had a cook out I drove up to Lafayette on Tuesday and they had a cookout up there with the very first pig that they raised the whole way though. It was amazing.

They went to Uruguay recently and the metal crucifix looking rack that they place at a 45ยบ angle with a pig on it they put tiles and coals down and cook it for a really long time over slow heat. They had it out there that way and they started at midnight the night before and had a dinner that was open to the public at 8 o’clock at night. It cooked the whole time. The skin, because it cooked so slowly was so evenly crackled it was amazing it was this dark brown color. It was so good.

MEAT ME: So they didn’t rotate it? It was all cooked on one side?

Karen: No. Yeah it was amazing! (laughing) They do really cool things with pigs.

MEAT ME: I get jealous that I have to go back to Los Angeles you have really wonderful things out here.

Karen: Yea. We do.

MEAT ME: So what is the deal with the really cool meat case?

Karen: We cure everything here not everything is there we have meat in other places as well. We actually use all that stuff it is humidified in their and some age for a shot period of time and some age for 18 months or even longer.

MEAT ME: Really.

Karen: It’s amazing it is like a party in there when we bring the stuff down.

MEAT ME: Do you do dry aged beef?

Karen: No. We have some beef in there but we pretty much focus on the pork. We do the curing.

MEAT ME: And finally what is in this Sandwich?

Karen: Cochon Muffaletta. It is Italian meats with an olive salad with cheese. It is a classic New Orleans sandwich they have it all over the French quarter and different places. Since we cure the meats here it is way better.

It certainly is I can not complain about that. After a few more shots around the shop I noticed their T-Shirt section. One of the shirts had this hot warrior chic on it riding a bucking pig over the top it read “Pig Slayer”. Of course I didn’t just buy one I bought 4. Probably the coolest thing I have ever seen.

If anyone has time to check out any of Donald or Stephen’s restaurants I highly recommend it. Besides who wants to be that guy benched for the basketball game. Not me.

You can check out Cochon Butcher at: http://www.cochonbutcher.com/
Cochon Butcher on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CochonButcherDining
An Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/cochonbutcher

Pig Slayer!
Sean Rice

Friday, April 20, 2012

Quest for the Best! McClure's Barbecue, New Orleans

You can’t win friends with salad but you might just have a chance with BBQ. Stop #2 pop up BBQ shop McClure’s Barbecue located at Dante’s Kitchen located just of Saint Charles Street. Yup that’s just 4 blocks from Squeal Bar-B-Q.

Not it’s not everyday that you see a pop up Barbecue shop but if you do stop and eat at it. Chances are it is not going to be there for very long. I got lucky McClure’s operation will only be there till the end of next week and then he’s moving on to another spot.

There is a lot that goes in to running your own shop you have to make all the bbq sauces over night you gotta smoke the BBQ for hour on end and then show up somewhere the next day and make sure it is perfect for the people who came from all over just to eat it. It almost makes me think that me driving here all the way from Los Angeles was less work then all the work that went into prepping the food for me to eat. That’s right! It takes that much work to make 15 minutes of you tasty pleasure worth it.

I hit up McClure’s Barbecue on twitter and they told me the would love to have me and your damn right I am heading right over anybody you gets that excited to see me. I walked right in and started mixing it up with Mr. McClure right off the bat!

MEAT ME: So have you always been in New Orleans?

McClure’s Barbecue: I am originally from Pensacola, Florida. I have been in New Orleans longer. I lived here for a little bit as a kid and then came back for college and never really left. I did a little time on the west coast but not very much just 5 years in Oregon.

MEAT ME: So how long have you been doing BBQ?

McClure’s Barbecue: Professionally I made the jump in November. I decided the night before I turned 40 to quit my job here as the general manager of Dante’s which is a casual fine dining bistro of which I have been a part of for 10 years since I have moved back from Oregon. I did a few pop ups in November and it was pretty overwhelming with people liking my barbecue. I needed them to give me money and tell me it was good rather than free and in my back yard. Which was great cause it got me rolling the ball a little quicker.  I was going to quit in a year. The ended up being in December from mid October to December and then January I started doing lunch here. So I have been doing that week days ever since.

MEAT ME: So what is the concept of a pop up shop?

McClure’s Barbecue: Just to occupy another space to get your product out there before you are on your own. To decide if your gonna get your own.

MEAT ME: Is it usually spread by word of mouth?

McClure’s Barbecue: It is. Facebook. Twitter.

MEAT ME: Have you done this “Pop Up Shop” anywhere else?

McClure’s Barbecue: No not yet. I just had my first adventure outside of my little nest here last Friday I did a bar down here in the CBD (Central Business District) called the Rusty Nail and had a great response down there. It’s really a different part of town. Every part of town here has got a different type of feel to it. That whole area is completely foreign to me because I have spent all my time up here for the last ten years and I really don’t go out much anymore. I got 2 kids and a wife of a long time ya know. From there I am gonna try a couple of other restaurants and have a fluid schedule while I am having my space built out. I can’t do $75 a week for ten hours of service and get my thing open.

MEAT ME: So is the eventual goal to have your own restaurant?

McClure’s Barbecue: Yes! In the mean time I have got friends in the industry; just in this city alone. I have got friends in restaurants everywhere and I’ll just kind of meander around waiting; do some catering, that sort of thing.

Yeah so I am zeroing in on a space and we are gonna start the build in a month or two and be open by the end of the year. It would be nice to be open by the Super Dome when the super bowl happens. It’s a block off the bridge and where Mardi Gras happens as well.

MEAT ME: So what do we have here? This is the pulled pork?

McClure’s Barbecue: Yes in deed.

MEAT ME: What can you tell me about the pulled pork?

McClure’s Barbecue: Its pretty simple I grew up just doing salt and pepper on pulled pork I didn’t think it needed much of a rub and it really doesn’t because it is about the meat and tenderness inside and cooking it slow till it gets to the right internal temperature which thankfully I don’t fret about anymore I know when it is ready just by the feel of it. I do a little finishing sauce on there, a little East North Carolina sauce essentially. Vinegar based, a lot of people inject their pork’s but I am not into all that it is a diminishing return after a while.

MEAT ME: Which sauce do you recommend with the pork?

McClure’s Barbecue: Oh Boy! Play with them. This is classic Carolina Style. I really like the Alabama Sauce this is a play on Bob Gibson’s Indicator he is one of the more well know Alabama Barbecue’s. It is a white sauce when I first tried it I thought this is an abomination, but it is really good on chicken and pulled pork. It is different at least.

MEAT ME: It gives you that salty/sweet thing at the same time?

McClure’s Barbecue: Yup. I really don’t use a lot of sauce unless I am doing it on a sandwich. My favorite sauce is the empty bottle and not using any. Although I will play; I gotta say I do like it on my brisket the red sauce.

MEAT ME: How do you do the brisket?

McClure’s Barbecue: Salt, pepper, and dry rub. My rub is the same and different for all of the meats. I dropped off when talking about the pulled pork I do put seasoning on there all of them are basically based on the same kind of Creole seasoning that we use in all of the kitchens here. Half of the chefs in town trained at Commanders Palace including Emerald using that Emerald Spice.

MEAT ME: How you would explain Creole to come one from California?

McClure’s Barbecue: Wow! Ahh, Creole is more city cooking it was more indigenes to New Orleans than say Cajun. Cajun was more down in the swamp. Creole was the influence of the French, the islands, and the Native American culture down here. It has a little bit of everything in it. It tends to be a little bit more sophisticated just in its over all process. The flavors did wonders for non refrigerated meat back in the day.

MEAT ME: The chicken I brine. It’s got a simple salt and sugar brine with a little orange juice and soy. I brine that over night and then I slow cook it about 4 or 5 hours. All of them go in the same cooker I don’t do separate temperatures for everything I have got a hotter part of my grill; but my thing  is an awesome machine so its not to big a difference throughout the whole thing. I bought it because of it’s ratings. I wanna build my own rig I am not going to kid anybody I am now a welder.

McClure’s Barbecue: By trade I have been a front of the house guy for most of my career. I have been a general manager. I have done a little cooking on the side but tickets have always driven me crazy. Cooking different stuff for different tables all at the same time would make me wanna… Now I know why chefs wanna stab people! It makes you insane. I am a great prep cook. Give me a knife, give me a stuff to chop and I’m down. Give me 20 things to cook on the stove at the same time to be ready in 6 hours that’s how I grew up cooking, but needing an escargot for table 20 and red fish on the half shell for table 30 and still trying to cut the greens for tomorrows salad… No it wasn’t my cup of tea.

MEAT ME: So what do we have over here?

McClure’s Barbecue: That is my 4 cheese macaroni. Mom’s potatoe salad, it is a German Potatoe salad but I do it cold. There is some egg in there and some bacon. Most of it has bacon. The mac and cheese has bacon. The beans have bacon. The pulled pork, rib meat… It’s called pork and pork and beans. The original name was pork explosion beans but that didn’t test well. It conveyed to many bad images for people I guess. (laugh)

The beans were a big project. In my back yard I have always done canned beans made better. Everybody in my family swore that I could not even think about changing them because they were so good. I have done gourmet food all my life. I have done casual fine dining. This is one of the best restaurants in the city by the way. I couldn’t see beans out of a can to people. I had to come up with my own version. I didn’t have any background in it so I played and played and played. Basically I just cook them the way I cook red beans and rice and added traditional flavors. Then I could kind of pinpoint and then I threw a bunch of meat in them. It has got a ton of meat and bacon in it. How bad can it be?

MEAT ME: The corn bread?

McClure’s Barbecue: Roasted jalapeno and corn with a molasses base.

MEAT ME: That’s good, and the coleslaw?

McClure’s Barbecue: Spicy sweet salt because I am not a huge mayonnaise fan and you need this to cut the fat in all of this food.

MEAT ME: So you have been doing this for?

McClure’s Barbecue: 4 months now. Fulltime but this is my last 2 weeks in this location. Then I will be more part time and bouncing around some bars and other restaurants. Doing this all summer while I am getting my space built out. I can’t cook all night and server lunch, squeeze sleep in there and see my kids and try and build a space at the same time it is impossible so as much of a following as I have found here for lunch. It has been great but I have to cut it off. It is going to make some people mad at me, but it will make them happy when I pop back up in the neighborhood at some point this summer.

MEAT ME: So how did you get into BBQ?

McClure’s Barbecue: I grew up just doing pig stuff. Pig cooks at home. We had a axel from a Carmagia that was rigged to a washing machine motor and fencing and we’d splay the pig out and roast it over an open flame and smoke it Carolina style pig roast. That is what I grew up doing. I didn’t know it was Carolina style but it was and we’d lean a 10 foot tin roof over it to keep the heat in. It was very Red Neck. (we laugh) We were sophisticated Pensacola types it is called the Red Neck Rivera for a reason. I don’t deny my roots.

MEAT ME: So what is your favorite out of everything you do?

McClure’s Barbecue: Brisket. I have had to play with it so much cause it was foreign to me. I really didn’t know brisket as good barbecue. My friends out at The Joint (famous place I am trying to cover on my trip) his brisket really started my motivation for all of this so I bought a better smoker than the little crappy charcoal thing I had in the back yard. It took a couple years till I was happy with my brisket. With lots of trips out there he started to notice you really drive a long way for a $10 lunch. They paid me the return favor a couple of weeks ago and when he came in here and cleaned his plate of ribs I was happy.

MEAT ME: So your favorite meat is brisket?

McClure’s Barbecue: Yea but there is room on my plate for all of God’s wonderful animals. I too am a MEAT lover if there is a big ole thing of meat on the menu I am getting’ it! I can’t help myself it is what I cook at home. I like my vegetables I like my seafood, but I love my MEAT!

Well… I can’t wait till McClure’s Barbecue has his own shop and ya won’t have to chase him around anymore. Good barbecue is hard to find and when I meet someone that has basically given everything up to do it you know it is going to taste amazing. It shows. I could tell by his hands that they barely get any rest. The entire time I was there no one customer came or left without him saying “Welcome”, “Goodbye” and Thank you”. I guess there is something to be said about southern hospitality you never get used to it and the food might even taste a little better because of it.

You can check out McClure’s Barbecue at: http://www.mccluresbarbecue.com/
On Twitter at: https://twitter.com/#!/McClureBarbecue
On Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mccluresbarbecue

Go out and make some friends,
Sean Rice

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quest for the Best! Squeal Bar-B-Q, New Orleans

Finally all the stars aligned and I decided to go for it New Orleans, Louisiana. I made it my second quest to go where BBQ originated, the south. Born and bread for Barbeque. Some think of New Orleans as Cajun style food influenced by the migration of the French but in the backyards barbecue was born. Days that where to hot to cook in the house evolved into food being brought outside to be smoked by the fire.

It has been one of my dreams to come taste the flavor of jazz for myself. With all the BBQ competitions and stuffing MEAT down my throat my stomach needs a vacation. I hoped in my car with my MEAT ME gear and drove the 1,900 miles to New Orleans, Louisiana.

It was dessert from Palm Springs all the way to the eastern tip of Texas; and like a switch it turns full swamp. Things my eyes have never seen. A good 36 miles of the freeway is built over a river is like something out of Jurassic Park. When I rolled in at night the fog and humidity was so thick my tired brain started tricking me into thinking I couldn’t breath so on that note time for a 2-hour nap.

I arrived at my friend Christine’s place and then headed out to meet her at her place of business Felix’s Oyster Bar and man was that food good. Damn. I mean heaven really is an oyster, especially if it is deep-fried. From shrimp to seafood gumbo it was a party in my mouth. Wait a few days and I’ll have that food for you in full detail. Today it was time to get focused.

I got on my twitter machine now that I have my bearings and put the word out MEAT ME is in New Orleans I am looking for the best BBQ/Food New Orleans has to offer. I heard right back from miss Lorin Gaudin @NolaFoodGoddess herself with tons of places to hit up. The first one to hit me up was Squeal BBQ. So Brendan the owner along with his two brothers it was.

I headed down the famous Saint Charles street where the homes are so beautiful they are build facing the street at a 45 degree angle just so they can brag about how pretty they are. The second I turned on Oak street I could smell the BBQ from about 300 yards away. I pulled up to this beautiful place and started taking pictures of this hidden gem inside New Orleans. I had the awesome chance to sit down with Brandon when he stuffed my belly and I mean stuffed, (seriously almost ate everything) while we talked about his BBQ and the south.

MEAT ME: The Boudin Ball has pulled pork?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Pulled pork, duck liver, chicken liver, and duck hearts; celery, bell pepper, onions all that good stuff. I put them in semolina flower and a creole mustard sauce.

MEAT ME: Yeah and the spice creeps up on you really slowly..

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah the black pepper actually sits on the outside we don’t cook it with it. We ball it up at the last minute and yeah it definitely gets you at the end.

MEAT ME: So what do you smoke the pork with?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Hickory. Every once in a while it’s Pecan. Sometimes we mix’em but we try to get it all hickory. Tomorrow we are back to Pecan because I can’t get Hickory in the City I am in. I can’t find any more Hickory. Pecan is really good but I have a server that is really allergic to it. It is kind of light and it doesn’t put out a whole lot of smoke but Pecan makes is so she can’t breath.

MEAT ME: I guess it would be horrible to have to work with a gas mask. (we laugh) Do you marinade your meat before?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: No we just dry rub it, it’s a pretty simple rub.

MEAT ME: Are you aloud to tell me what is in the rub?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Its salt, garlic and black pepper.

MEAT ME: Damn, I love it I am have always been about “less is more” when I BBQ.

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yea we have tried so many different things, you know we have gotten crazy it just tasted better.

MEAT ME: You know I have seen people smoke with tons of stuff and it just pulls all of the juices out of the meat. For me with just he smoke and the natural just that’s the best to me.

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah! Exactly and we have a pretty acidic barbeque sauce too.

MEAT ME: So what is your name?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Brendan

MEAT ME:  So what is this called?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Those are our Black-Eyed Pea Egg Rolls. They have black eyed peas with sausage and bacon. It’s not all meat but it is quite a bit.

MEAT ME: (laugh) It’s really really good.

As I am sitting there shooting and tasting the food he brings out 3 more plats of food.

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Sorry about food stacking up.

MEAT ME: No problem its nice to have different types of food so it doesn’t all start to taste the same. What is this dish called?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: This is our Smoked Pork Cakes it is BBQ pork with cream cheese with different chilies, onions, and peppers, bread crumbs pico de gallo and sour cream. What do you think?

MEAT ME: The pico de gallo goes really well with the meat I would have never of thought of that especially with how it goes together with the smoked pork. (I peak under the salsa on top and I see white) Is there some type of white sauce in there?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yea it’s cream cheese.

MEAT ME: That’s what fucking did it! I might put more on there… It is really. It’s very serious and then I hit the cream cheese and a party broke out.

Squeal Bar-B-Q: laughs) Yeah its really rich. That’s a good way to put it.

MEAT ME: Man that is good. Do you guys do BBQ competitions at all?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: We have only done one in the past couple of years. Its local they had 60 teams this year and they had 40 teams last year. We came in second last year and third this year. For us your kind of baby sitting a lot of different things. It’s a very cranky day I am not sure how many more I am going to do. You get there the day before you stay up all night till the next day… Its just a… Yeah.

Just 8 months ago I went to one in Cidel it was a Kansas City sanctioned. All the pits are like rocket ships there with 20 to 30 thousand dollar barbeques. It’s crazy.

MEAT ME: What is this?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: These are our signature right here. Every event we do, every off site this is our go to. These Pork Tacos and our Duck BLT Tacos are my favorite thing on the menu.

MEAT ME: Not a lot of people are doing pork and duck.

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah we use a lot of duck.

MEAT ME: This is really good it’s like spicy, sweet, spicy, sweet. Wait look… Drip test. (as the juices from the meat drip on to the plate) Is there a sweet something in there?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Barbeque sauce. Its pretty sweet,

MEAT ME: Is there a dressing you put the cabbage in?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yes it is a horse dressing with radish mayonnaise sauce.

MEAT ME: There you go. Do you use any sugar in your rubs?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: I do. We use it in every thing but the pulled pork. We cook the pork a lot longer.

MEAT ME: How long do you usually smoke for?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: For pork about 12 to 15 usually and then ribs we do 8 and then the brisket we usually cut in half and split it in 3’s. Its harder to get the right seasoning and flavor around the whole thing so we cut it up so each piece comes out just like an end.

MEAT ME: That’s really smart.

Squeal Bar-B-Q: For years I was asking why isn’t there any more flavor in this and then I started doing that cause the burnt ends are always the best part.

MEAT ME: So what are these made with?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: These are BBQ Pork Tacos its pretty simple it BBQ pork, horse radish coleslaw, chipotle, and cilantro on grilled tortilla shells.

MEAT ME: How many pigs to do you guys go through?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: We go through a lot of meat about 10 pigs a week here. These are my personal favorite just as far as taste not a whole lot of BBQ but it’s MEAT with MEAT.

(we laugh)

MEAT ME: My Favorite. This is really good I have never been into coleslaw but this is good.

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yea I am not a coleslaw fan. I like it if it is balanced.

MEAT ME: Yea some times the texture is too much and it takes away from the pork and its awkward sometimes.

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah I like our balance. Sometime I even get it with the coleslaw on the side.

MEAT ME: You and me… We are on the same page. Where are you from originally?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: New Orleans.

MEAT ME: How long have you guys had the restaurant?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Since November 2008.

MEAT ME: How do you like it?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: I like it. You know it’s a restaurant business. You get satisfaction when people come in and praise you and tell you its good and in the same sense it is a restaurant business. Sometimes it is so busy and it can get hectic sometimes.

MEAT ME: Where did you learn BBQ? Did you grow up with it?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Kind of. I lived in Florida for 2 years and every weekend we would all go to one person’s house and BBQ. There where only 3 of us but every single week we would start making different stuff. It is basically a BBQ club.

MEAT ME: So what did you do before this?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Mainly worked in restaurants, mostly the front of the house.

MEAT ME: When did you decide that this is what you wanted to do?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Well I have always loved BBQ. Its one of those things where are ya gonna pull the trigger or not. It is a pretty big risk. The actual recipes are easy it’s the getting it done in the kitchen that is the hard part.

Also with our ribs we try to do a fall of the bone style.

(As he is saying this I go to take a bite of the ribs and the meat falls right off)

MEAT ME: You mean like how the meat just fell off the bone. (I laughed out loud)

Squeal Bar-B-Q: (Acts as if that happens all the time with a strait face) Yeah that is pretty much what we go for every time. (This man means business)

MEAT ME: So you cook them dry?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah and then we give them a slight base and hit the grill before we server them.

MEAT ME: Yea they are pretty good. Spare ribs?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah with a St. Louis so we get the ends cut off. Those are Collard Greens with bacon. There’s not too much vegetable in there I know you don’t like it. The grits we actually cook in half-in-half and butter so they are very rich and not so much gritty as they are creamy.
(He brings out his brisket and at this point I have eaten 65% to 75% of the food he has brought out, but note I barely ate on the 31-hour drive up here)

Squeal Bar-B-Q: You can definitely eat you ought to go into a contest. (laughs) You wanna try one of these? (Points to his DBLT Tacos)

MEAT ME: Yeah. So what is this called?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: This is our Duck BLT. It’s a grilled tortilla with duck breast, bacon, lettuce with wasabi mayo and tomatoes.

MEAT ME: So how did this become your favorite?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Taste It!!! (laughs) I am big BLT fan and with the duck and the bacon it is just kind of my favorite.

MEAT ME: It is so good I feel like I am having a conversation with myself while I eat it going through the different flavors. It is pretty fun you get the gamey duck taste and then the bacon brings you back its pretty fatty too.

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yea we keep all of the fat on our ducks. I just noticed you got a pretty big piece there.

MEAT ME: Oh don’t worry I am not going to complain about fat!

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yea we sear it so you get the fattiness plus the bacon, with a little roughage in there.

MEAT ME: (I finish my DBLT Taco and push it aside for the pile of brisket) Excuse me I have some business to attend to.

So what is this?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: This is our brisket with our BBQ sauce.

MEAT ME: So is there anything special/different about your BBQ sauce?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: It is kind of different it’s sweet, it’s thick and there is quiet a bit of vinegar in it. You’ll see when you taste it. It is a ginger and garlic base.

MEAT ME: Your RIGHT! I can taste the vinegar. That is a trip. It’s a lot more exciting then I thought it was going to be. (we laugh) There is a certain type of twang that comes with vinegar that I didn’t expect.

Squeal Bar-B-Q: You wanna piece of bread with that? Is everything ok?

(We laugh hysterically as if I may explode if I eat any more food.)

MEAT ME: So you guys grow your own vegetables? Is that’s what going on?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Well we just planted all the gardens. Our tomatoes should be ready this week; plus collar greens; a bunch of peppers, jalapeno peppers. Our tomatoes should be ready this week.

MEAT ME: What are your hours?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: 9 pm on weekdays and 10 pm on weekends.

MEAT ME: Well then I should probably get out of here so you can get home. Really quick… What is your favorite MEAT?

Squeal Bar-B-Q: Pork and pork ribs!

This place truly is amazing not to mention the uniqueness of the flavor that I have never tasted anywhere else. If you are looking to take your mouth on an adventurous vacation no doubt your first stop should be Squeal Bar-B-Q. No matter if you’re a local or driving 1,900 miles from Los Angeles don’t deny yourself what your body wants.

Squeal Bar-B-Q had me at Pulled Pork, Chicken Hearts and Duck Hearts all in one bite.

You can check out Squeal Bar-B-Que online at: http://www.squeal-nola.com/
You can LIKE them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Squeal-Barbeque/61022723761?ref=ts
You can Follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/squealnola

Get Squealin’
Sean Rice

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