It’s pathetic that what excites me today is a BBQ Restaurant in New Orleans that actually has a smoker. Shamefully, smoking meat is a very rare occurrence in the New Orleans BBQ world. Fortunately, I stumbled into Squeal BBQ that carried the smell of hickory smoke half a block away. To quote the Prophet Ice Cube "...today I didn't even have to use my A.K., I got to say it was a good day".
As I walk to the front door, I see the charcoal smoker out front, I lean in to see that the thermostat is riding an even 200…not bad. With ample outdoor seating I choose to sit inside and look at the paintings of Coco Robicheaux and Dr. John…sure not Texas style decor but I won't hold that against them. Let me cut to the chase with the food. The St. Louis Style Ribs were great, perfect texture with an ok rub. The meat has flavor therefore they don't give you a lot of sauce to hide behind. My only criticism is that they weren’t smoky enough. The Chicken was also smoked with the white meat being a little dry. In their defense, chicken is an easy meat to over cook in a smoker. I was underwhelmed with the dry rub they used for the chicken and ribs. The homemade French fries were tolerable, potato salad was above par, and the Corn Maque Choux came across as canned corn with too much cummin and no diced tomato to accompany.
After saying all that, you might want to grab your diaper, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I don’t think I can do a better pulled pork than Squeal BBQ. I’m also going to go out on another limb and say that Squeal's pulled pork might be in the Top 5 all time pulled pork! It had just enough hickory flavor to it, it was moist, great seasoning, and not drowned in sauce. When you can eat pulled pork dry and it not be overrun with fatty pieces, you’ve hit gold…and I did! They also had a corn/cheese grits side item that was incredible. What also made this place so great is that they don’t serve any vegetables. That’s right, the kitchen has no salad in the back…it’s a nice way of telling the vegans to go back to California.
The sight of a smoker at this BBQ place, though it should be a given, has put me in a generous mood. It’s nice to find a BBQ place that doesn’t have to hide behind BBQ sauce to create good food. Due to the smoker, the incredible corn/cheese grits, the reasonable price, and awesome pulled pork, Squeal BBQ on Oak St. will be receiving a 3.5 out of 5 stars.