Looking for some distinctive barbecue in a setting with enough local character to stand up to the dry rub on its ribs? If so, check out The Joint, a shaggy dog ‘cue shack nestled deep in the Bywater where Poland Avenue snugs up against Dauphine Street.
If the Saturn Bar opened up a barbecue destination, I imagine that it would look like this: a kitschy indoor/outdoor locale seemingly furnished with found furniture and a soundtrack courtesy of a great jukebox, all pulled together by the heady scent of wood smoke in the air. As a plus, the clientele is diverse enough to match the offbeat décor. On a recent Friday at high noon, the line was composed of neighborhood folk, service industry types, professionals and an Army colonel with several privates in tow.
The baby back ribs here are some of the best in the city. My one quibble would be that the silver skin wasn’t removed prior to smoking, something I’d have to assume they do when competing in Memphis in May. The beef brisket is über-tasty as well, rendered fork-tender and sliced into long strips that can be cut easily with the heel of a white plastic fork. The pulled pork sandwich is a classic. For sides, the lightly dressed coleslaw is decent, but if you must have something green, opt for the salad, which features a smoked-tomato-and-onion dressing. For the more substantial sides, the mac and cheese is good, as are the baked beans. Round it out with a sweet tea or an Abita beer, and you’ll have as good a barbecue experience as can be had in Orleans Parish, with soulful character enough to match the food. A catering menu is offered as well, making it a good option for upcoming football parties going into fall. The price points are low, and the vibe is laidback, making this a true neighborhood gem.
801 Poland Ave.