Tuesday, July 20, 2010

BBQ Tuesdays: Bywater BBQ

When you hear the words "Bywater" and "barbeque," most people immediately think of Thursday nights at Vaughn's or pulled pork at The Joint on Poland Avenue. But those two words grace the signage of a third purveyor, Bywater Deli & BBQ, whose most popular menu option is probably... pizza? That's what I've been told.

Patrons at Bywater BBQ tend toward residents of the neighborhood and the adjoining Marigny, but the relaxed, bohemian atmosphere makes everyone feel at home. Tables are crammed close together inside, but the outdoor patio is where you want to dine as long as you can brave the heat. A trip to the unisex bathroom includes a chronological exhibit of former display signs. I just thought that was a clever and functional way to recycle.

While the menu runs the gamut from pizza to fried seafood and everything in between, this particular trip was official Blackened Out BBQ Business. So we ordered the 4 meat platter, which for $18.95 allowed us to sample each carnivorous choice on the menu, along with our choice of 2 sides and a couple of pieces of jalapeno cornbread. Plenty enough to split between 2 people.

The brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and chicken may all have been cooked “low and slow,” but the meats had no discernible smoke flavor. I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that the kitchen uses an oven-to-grill method. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s just not “real” barbeque. Ribs, pulled pork, and brisket were all tender, but the chicken was a little dry. All were served blanketed with the house special BBQ sauce, which is an almost identical replication of Bud’s Broiler’s hickory smoked sauce. I love it on my #4, and it did a nice job on the meats here. Sides are average: baked macaroni is a cheesy blend; potato salad has a nice chunky/creamy texture but not much flavor; and cole slaw has a sweet, mayo-based dressing. Best part of the meal: jalapeno cornbread with its light, crumby texture and vinegar-laced heat.

True BBQ? No. Terrible meal? Not exactly. Still craving top notch smoked meats? Absolutely.


Jonathan said...

You just can't beat the Joint for the price and great food...

Anonymous said...

The Joint gets my vote as well, I consider it better than the texas bbq chain Rudy's if that means anything.

Peter said...


I am a fan of The Joint as well. We will get there in the coming weeks.


Rudy's does mean something to me, as I lived in Austin for 4 years. Huge fan of the chopped beef mixed with their spicy sauce and the "moist" (i.e., fatty) brisket.

Anonymous said...

I think you also have to give them a point for longevity. They have been there forever. And from your analysis, things have not changed a bit. Cheers CharlieH

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more having eaten at Bywater twice in recent times. Once I tried the BBQ, the other time I had a seafood special. Neither time was particularly memorable other than the patio dining as you mentioned and the great characters that you will see in the neighborhood. I had a real dilemma this past Sunday when I needed some BBQ and it seems that no solid places (i.e. The Joint/Hillbilly BBQ) are open on Sundays.

Anonymous said...

Don't ever go to this place. The management is rude, the service is slow and you are lucky if you get what you ordered. I have been to this place 4 times and each time was worse than the previous.

Yesterday I was in there and as usual my food was awful but what they did to my co-worker was inexcusable. They brought him the wrong food and when he complained the manager came out and berated him for complaining because his waitress was pregnant. Then he threatened to call the cops because my coworker said that she brought him the wrong thing and was charging him more than what it said on the menu.

I am surprised that this company is still in business. Go somewhere else. Trust me, any place is better than Bywater Bar-B-Que.