Long hailed for a mastery of ham far beyond the skills of mere mortal meat cookers, the meat mavens at HoneyBaked Ham have discovered the secret to cooking succulent, flavorful breasts of turkey (2.5 lbs. each). This juicy bird-based breakthrough is 90% fat-free and serves six to eight ravenous guests, making it a scrumptious centerpiece for family gatherings and game day parties. HoneyBaked Ham's suggested recipes increase turkey cooker IQs, helping stymied chefs explore new dishes such as smoked-turkey pizza and turkey tetrazzini, and saying sayonara to default entrees such as squashing the turkey meat into the shape of a racecar.
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.
A homegrown success story with a slew of awards and nearly 40 years of history, Popeyes has introduced its menu of Louisiana eats to taste seekers around the globe. Rather than downloading low-quality, unsatisfying meals through the Internet, packs can pick up Popeyes’ family-style meals, pairing eight pieces of Cajun fried chicken with four buttermilk biscuits and a side of award-winning rice and beans ($16.99). A po boy stuffed with crunchy shrimp ($3.49) makes a splash in lunchboxes, and chicken nuggets ($2.49 for six pieces) surf into mouths on waves of refreshing sweet tea ($2.99/gal.).
If the wooden tables that stretch across Country Kitchen’s dining room were any less sturdy, they would buckle under the weight of the sizzling platters of Southern fare that chefs trot out for unlimited buffets. Old-time recipes of fried and baked chicken vie for attention alongside a menu of specialties that rotate daily; the weekend’s seafood gumbo and fried catfish give way to succulent barbecued sausages that can spice up any Monday. Southern cuisine is known for its show-stealing sides and desserts, and Country Kitchen delivers in spades on both counts. Fried hush puppies and vegetable dishes refuse to take a backseat to their main-course counterparts, and a dessert bar exudes nostalgia with heaping servings of bread pudding, peach cobbler, and ice cream. Between bites, guests seated under cheerful framed artworks or beside a colorful rooster statue can reminisce about childhoods spent wrestling catfish or plucking ripe morsels of corn bread fresh from the vine.
Since 2003, Charlie Brown's Family Sports Grill & Bar has paired an extensive menu of grilled sandwiches, steaks, and seafood with a feast for the eyes made up of 25 large flatscreen televisions. The restaurant's buffalo chicken wings come with or without bones, just like the majestic buffalo chickens of yesteryear, and its charbroiled and grilled burgers are piled with enough delicious bacon, cheese, and sautéed mushrooms to distract children from the kids' arcade for a while. Dishes such as fried soft-shell crab and shrimp alfredo offer a seafood angle to the entree list, which also documents chicken-fried steak and 14-ounce rib eyes served, and 8-ounce filets served with with veggies and mashed potatoes. To help guests to wash down hearty meals and salute the local sports memorabilia draped on the walls, the bartenders have composed a long list of beers, specialty drinks, and wines.