THEY’RE BURNING IN THE BIG EASY!
It’s early morning and a blue-sky day begins with 70° temps, and a slow rising southern sun. I’m visiting New Orleans, the birthplace of Jazz, and a city renowned for its colorful parades and exuberant celebrations. Today’s adventure within this Mississippi River town lures me past venues streaming Dixieland-style melodies, acoustic blues and a touch of just about every other musical genre. There’s culture too, with French and Spanish influence boasting its architecture up and down the sidewalks, firmly planted in this historic town.
There’s no doubt that music and excitement are a draw for this touristy mecca but there’s more. When you’re hungry, and the delectable aromas from some of the south’s most treasured recipes tempt your appetite, it’s time to eat! And as usual, when I’m craving food, I turn to Janet, my fiancée and trusted travel planner. She’s great for making sure our trips are the best they can be, especially when it comes to our dinners. She’s either cooking a tasty plate herself, or tracking down the hot spots where the locals hang out. This time around she’s discovered a “best kept secret” located in the Bywater neighborhood, on the corner of Marantz and Royal.
BURNING WOOD SMELLS SO GOOD
We decided to walk to this restaurant, taking in the various neighborhoods and offbeat places that tour guides don’t have the time to show. It wasn’t long before an unmistakable aroma swirled our way while we passed through this unfamiliar neighborhood. I could taste this flavored smell through my nose and instantly I knew that somewhere close, there was food being prepared over a fire.
We followed that delicious smoky flavor and we arrived at our destination…The Joint. Of course it’s overcrowded with hungry customers, and that’s a good sign. I start eyeing their plates, piled high with ribs, pulled pork, beef briskets, Mac n Cheese, Cole slaw and more. We find a table, place our order, and soon a taste of heaven is served in front of us. We say nothing for 10 minutes, only “humming” sounds can be heard as we indulge in scrumptious euphoria.
After congratulating Janet on yet another job well done on finding such a great place for dinner, naturally, I’m curious on how our mouthwatering meal was cooked and prepared. I sneak back past the kitchen and I am confronted by a young gentleman bearing the traditional black and white chef colors on his knee-length apron and over-sized floppy hat. Thank goodness he was friendly, and eager to “show and tell” the secret to his melt-in-your-mouth meats and their delicious flavors.
Just as I thought…they’re using firewood! He proceeded to show me the large smokers and the wood they used for the heat. I asked if he had any tips to offer those who burn wood to cook their food. “If there is any secret at all, it’s keeping the fire at a constant temperature, be consistent with the flavor, and know exactly how long to keep each food item on the grill”. “And that’s it!”, he offered with a smile and the wink of an eye. He also added that he uses hardwood (Live Oak) for slow, hot burns, and wood chips for more flavor.
Below are 2 pics showing The Joint’s hardwood supply and their transportable smoker.
Some of the tastiest recipes in all the south…cooked to perfection…using wood.
They burn in The Big Easy!
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