The aroma hits you first. It could be the brisket fresh off the smoker, or the candied yams carmelizing similar to how grandma use to make them. No matter the dish, D's Original Take Out Grill makes sure it's menu carries the soulful essence of owners Damon and Wendy Stalworth's southern roots. He whips up Louisiana-style chicken sausages, and coats St. Louis-style ribs in a sauce inspired by his grandmother's recipe, which is now sold at Whole Foods. Diners can also enjoy the signature sauce on wings or take bottles of the sauce home to paint edible murals on open walls.
Huston's Texas Pit Bar-B-Cue’s cooks slow-roast meats over real wood, continuing barbecue traditions that date from the restaurant’s opening in 1944. Diners lounge at small wooden tables near large windows, chewing through barbecue sandwiches full of sliced beef, pulled pork, chopped chicken, or other barbecued specialties from an extensive menu. Sliced or chopped meats can also be purchased by the pound, then hauled home to feed a ravenous crowd of dinner guests or flock of waist-high baby birds.
At Smoke Star BBQ, every cut of meat is slow-smoked and slathered with house-made barbecue sauce. Smoked pulled pork, baby-back ribs, chicken, and beef brisket come à la carte, accompanied by two sides and bread, or layered between buns. Sides such as potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw accent meaty entrees, creating full meals for dining in, delivery, or catered events such as birthday parties or anti-Arbor Day demonstrations.:m]]
JNJ Burger Shack’s four-finger burger may leave you with one digit free, but it’d be wise to wait until you’re finished to flash the thumbs-up sign. With two patties, two hot dogs, three slices of bacon, and an egg, you’re going to want to clamp that thing tight. Have no doubt, though—the food here, from the scrumptious burgers to the Louisiana-style barbecue, definitely deserves some gesture of approval. Jay Nelson Jr. worked in the lumber business in Louisiana, and he brought together elements of his old occupation and his native state when he built JNJ. Louisiana flavors inform the succulent brisket, smoked pork, and blackened spare ribs. Jay’s lumber experiences, meanwhile, helped him nail down the perfect combination of hickory, oak, and pecan to fuel his smoker. At this family restaurant, Jay tends to the barbecue, his wife works the burger stand, and his mother makes sweet potato pies. Every dish here is crafted with an attention to detail and flavor, but Jonathan Gold of LA Weekly zeroed in on the pork spareribs, citing their “jerkylike chaw” and describing them as “charred at the tips, saturated with smoke, and profoundly spicy.”
Ono Hawaiian BBQ brings the island to the mainland with tender meats soaked in made-from-scratch marinades. Chefs hand roll chicken katsu in panko bread crumbs to give it a fresh, crispy texture, and assemble generous portions of crispy shrimp, island whitefish, and barbecue chicken in the seafood mix.
A lot of Korean barbecue restaurants employ tabletop grills, but the most inventive use of the grill-your-own tool may be in the preparation of Honey Pig's pork belly dinner. According to LA Weekly, these dome-shaped surfaces cook tender slices of meat in the center, allowing the juices to funnel down the sides onto handfuls of kimchi and bean sprouts gathered about the sizzling perimeter. They absorb the savory pork fat in preparation for the meal's finale, when servers toss them with all of the leftover meat and rice. The resulting fried rice is a hodgepodge of crispy scraps, pork fat, and marinated veggies. Honey Pig's menu features other cuts of meat, as well as a mushroom platter, but every outing still ends with a pig—as a parting present, guests receive a pig-shaped lighter that shoots flames from its snout when lit or whenever someone condescendingly calls it "cute." The tiny favor even earned the Weekly's recognition as the Best Flaming Dinner Gift.