Monday, July 9, 2012

Still Smokin'

The W - a little pork, a little brisket, and 2 ribs.
The celebration of Independence Day calls for all Americans to embrace our nation's most cherished pastimes - a trip to the beach, the explosion of illegal fireworks, and consumption of copious amounts of barbecue. In recent weeks I have fulfilled my patriotic duty by revisiting a local barbecue favorite which had fallen off my radar quite some time ago. The Joint holds a special place at Blackened Out, as it was the subject of one of our first restaurant reviews for OffBeat back in November 2008. I'm sad to say that it's been almost that long since I have ventured to the Bywater for barbecue. But like the say - there's no better time than the present.

As much as I love the charm of the original location, the Joint has successfully transported the ramshackle feel to a larger and (most importantly) more air conditioned building at the corner of Mazant and Royal, just a few blocks away from its birthplace on Poland Avenue. The crowd at lunch is an eclectic mix of blue collar laborers and female trend chasers in office garb. You still order at the register, but now there is a stand alone bar and total seating for about 40 inside. Follow the sign pointing you to the restroom, and you enter a narrow courtyard with patio seating shaded by umbrellas, where you can get a firsthand look at the enormous and impressive smoking rig.

Smoke chicken, ribs, and green salad.
The menu at Joint still runs the gamut, opting to cover the full range of regional barbecue instead of focusing on one specialty. While New Orleans cannot claim a particular category as its own, the spicy, rich links of chaurice that emerge from the smoker make a convincing argument that the question of who makes the best sausage is still up for debate. A 1/4 dark meat chicken had taut peppery skin which protected moist flesh that had plenty of smoke and a mild flavor. Traditionalists need look no further than the W, which features a sampling of the three most iconic cuts of barbecue. Moist shreds of chopped pork get a spritz of the Caroline style vinegar sauce before being scooped onto lightly toasted white bread for ease of transportation. Slices of brisket alternated between good and great, depending on how fatty the particular slice. Sadly, the ribs were disappointing on consecutive visits. The bones slipped right out from underneath a tough exterior bark and terribly dry flesh, a far cry from the fatty, al dente cuts that I remember.

Sides include the standard cole slaw, baked beans, and potato salad, which I never seem to order. Instead I usually go with the green salad with smoked onion and tomato dressing, which is a perfect way to appease your guilty conscience without sacrificing flavor or (in my case) to justify ordering the mac and cheese, a rich, creamy, cheesy concoction which acts like the call of the sirens for those of us who see no reason in restraining ourselves when it comes to indulgence. Rolls of paper towels are bottles of sauce are the only table decorations to be found, a sign that even though the Joint has moved to a bigger and better location, thankfully not everything has changed.

The Joint - Par/Birdie
701 Mazant
(504) 949-3232
Mon-Sat 11:30am - 10pm


Anonymous said...

And I hear the Cochon wine rocks with the BBQ!

Anonymous said...

theyre great.

but try the potato salad, its special. made w/ gritty creole mustard.