A hunk of brisket at VooDoo BBQ & Grill begins its journey suspended over a bed of pecan and oak logs. Coated in a dry rub of local spices, the meat slowly turns on a rotisserie rod for up to 16 hours, its skin crisping while the inside stays a warm pink. The chefs smoke all their beef brisket and pulled pork over logs from Louisiana-based trees to lend them the region's unique smoked flavor, even at the risk of confusing passing botanists. They lightly coat grilled sausages, chicken, and burgers in three signature sauces inspired by the state's Cajun recipes. To complement their menagerie of smoked and grilled meats, they sling a variety of southern sides such as corn pudding, greens, and potato salads. At each of the 13 locations, the aroma of roasting meat fills a space of dark-stained wood and wrought iron; dining rooms awash in a palette of reds, greens, and oranges buzz with the sounds of jazz and blues.
If you love football. If you love Louisiana. Or, if you are simply curious and want to brave the experience, then TJ’s Ribs is the place to go. Louisiana State University is the purple and gold life blood of these people. It is the center of a community. Yes, the food is great. Yes. Southern barbecue is out of this world. But, the real reason to head here? The family, the experience, and the LSU Tigers. This is down-home Louisiana cooking at its finest: slow cooked, dry-rubbed, marinated baby back ribs are tender as can be. Traditional Cajun flavors are a fantastic accent to this menu. Head to either of their two locations, or have them cater your next tailgate! (And, God forbid if you’re not shouting “GEAUX!”).
Instead of playing favorites, the grill masters at Cou-yons Fa Tru Texas BBQ acquaint diners with virtually every barbecue tradition—from Carolina to Memphis and Texas to Louisiana, the menu stands as a flavor tour of American barbecue. Sliced brisket fresh from the smoker represents the Texan side of things, while tender, pulled pork shoulder bears the telltale tang of Carolina barbecue. The eight styles of meat pile onto sandwiches or tower on platters alongside Texas toast and classic sides such as corn on the cob or sweet coleslaw. To deck out special events, the staff can put together feasts for up to 500 people, ensuring party guests leave satisfied and tailgaters don’t try to eat the football.
At Fat Hen Grill, seasoned pit master chef Shane Pritchett entices epicureans with slow-smoked meats, sandwiches, and down-home sides. The eclectic menu lets diners commence consumption with a fried mac 'n' cheese ($7.99), fried chicken livers ($6.99), or mango-crabmeat guacamole ($10.99). After revving stomach engines, patrons can dive into hickory- and oak-smoked pit eats, such as half a chicken ($13.99), sliced beef brisket ($15.99), or a pulled pork shoulder ($10.99), with forks, sporks, or makeshift toothpick chopsticks to savor the feast as long as possible. Each barbecue plate comes with a side-salad and the choice of one classic side, such as potato salad or thai sweet-and-sour cucumbers. A variety of burgers made from 100% black-angus beef ground in-house daily ($7.99–$10.99) and fresh salads ($10.99–$14.99) tickle all types of taste buds and olfactory follicles. Fat Hen also sates seafarers with selections such as Alfie's Seafood Special, a composite of pan-seared gulf fish with sautéed crabmeat, stuffed crab, eggplant, and shrimp dressing ($22.99).
With 15 finger-devouring flavors of Buffalo wings and a menu offering meaty burgers and fresh salads, Wing Zone has become a national go-to for delivery and takeout. Nosh on wings in their boneless or original style, with orders ranging from 7 ($5.99) to 50 wings ($31.99), and use the flavor's heat index (1 for mild, 4 for hottest) to determine the sauce's spiciness and ability to provide warmth when coating a body. The garlic-parmesan sauce artfully blends garlic with cracked pepper, and the hot honey-teriyaki mixes honey with ginger and soy. Wing Zone also serves a variety of side dishes, such as wedge fries ($1.99–$3.49) and beer-battered onion rings ($2.99–$4.99), which offer the occasional respite from wing munching. Savory half-pound burgers and chicken sandwiches ($7.99+) make for an adequate post-wing dessert.
When preparing their signature Memphis-style ribs, the staff at Corky's BBQ abides by this old adage: slow and steady wins the flavor. Whether they're destined to be served wet or dry, each slab begins by smoking for 18 hours over hickory wood and charcoal. Wet ribs come slathered in barbecue sauce, whereas chefs rub house seasonings into the dry ribs by hand. That sort of down-home treatment is no anomaly for the franchise?all of its pork shoulder is also pulled by hand, rather than by an impersonal machine or dog wearing golf cleats.
Along with the ribs, barbecue chicken, beef brisket, and classic sides make up the bulk of the menu at Corky's locations in Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas.