Sur le Menu: ’Cued Up

Cooler temperatures will be upon us soon – and that means tailgating and good Acadian barbecue. We’ve wrangled some of the best in these parts in our barbecue roundup.

The Shed
Barbeque & Blues Joint
308 Highway 93 N., Scott

With the combination of impressive barbecue and an impressive lineup of live music with no cover on Friday and Saturday nights, it’s easy to see why The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint is quickly becoming a great place to hang out.

Located about 100 yards off of Interstate 10 in Scott at Exit 97, The Shed has found a niche in the crowded Acadiana restaurant market. The original location of The Shed was in Ocean Springs, Miss. – the Orrison family started serving barbecue and great music in what could only be described as “a shed,” and the rest is history. Now there are six restaurants strung along I-10 (or not too far off I-10) between Scott and Destin, Fla.

The combination of friendly service, great music and an array of fantastic meats and sauces is hard to beat.

2Paul’s Radically Urban Barbeque
2668 Johnston St., Suite C-4, Lafayette

In the middle of a strip mall off Johnston Street in Lafayette is not a place many would expect to find good barbecue, but 2Pauls Radically Urban Barbeque is good – and, as its name suggests, it’s different.

Pepper jelly ribs, cherry-glazed pork tenderloin, certified Angus tenderloin and shrimp are just a few of the differences 2Paul’s diners can find on the menu.  Oh, and they serve this wild item called the Cajun Cuban, described on the menu as follows: “OMG – it’s not a sandwich! It’s way radical! Four cheeses layered between baked beans, pulled pork, and Asian Cole Slaw. Topped off with a 2Paul’s Handmade Onion Ring.” 2Paul’s isn’t joking about being different, but it’s tasty, too.

Unlike a lot of other barbecue places, 2Paul’s also serves its smoked meats in salads. The Angus Beef Brisket Salad and Smoked Shrimp Salad are local favorites.

Johnson’s Boucaniére
1111 St. John St., Lafayette

Johnson’s Boucaniére is the rare kind of place that just makes people feel good – really good, in fact. For one thing, the owners and staff at Johnson’s Boucaniére are so nice that lots of people would go back even if the food weren’t delicious, but it is. And the smoked meat, the variety of sauces and the flavorful sides would keep people going back to Johnson’s again and again – regardless of how nice the people are.

The quirky but wonderful little building is in downtown Lafayette, and the smell of smoked meat calls like a siren when you’re in the vicinity. The specialty meats store and restaurant are take-out or outdoor dining only. The atmosphere is down-home. Behind the counter are CDs produced by local Cajun musicians and hand-painted works of art with the price tags placed prominently. You feel like Anthony Bourdain could show up any minute to do a segment on what real Cajuns eat and where they get their smoked meats.

The owners, the Walls family, use recipes from the old Johnson’s Grocery in Eunice.  The barbecue is Johnson’s Boucaniére’s calling card, but the smoked sausage, tasso and beef jerky are capable of putting smiles on faces, too.

Big Mike’s BBQ Smokehouse
9301 E. Park Ave., Houma

Talk about a business determined to endure and beat the odds! Yep, that’s Big Mike’s. Serving what many consider to be the best barbecue anywhere around combined with an unwavering spirit to survive, Big Mike’s has made a real name for itself. In May, the Louisiana Economic Development and U.S. Small Business Administration awarded Mike Lewis, the owner of Big Mike’s, special recognition for his dedication as an emerging business developer.

Big Mike’s tale of perseverance is inspiring. He decided to open his Houma restaurant just as the economy took a nose dive in 2008. Then Hurricane Gustav did a number on the region and business in September 2008. By November 2009, the business was going strong when something went very wrong one evening – and the building burned to the ground. He reopened for business 29 days later in a small building on Park Avenue.

He’s building a new location in downtown scheduled to open this fall. In the meantime, people can’t get enough of Big Mike’s, especially the brisket, the most popular item. The full rack of spare ribs is a winner, too. Big Mike’s offers smoked sausage, chopped pork, chicken, turkey, brisket and ribs. Sides include jambalaya, cole slaw, corn on the cob, baked beans, potato salad and green beans. Big Mike’s offers a variety of tailgate packages that serve anywhere from 14 to 50 people.

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