Some poetic license shall be taken with the background of this establishment, as I didn’t ask, and picked up snippets during the experience. Seems there are these two pals from Uptown New Orleans, making a living by taking tourists and assorted hangers-on deep into the Gulf on fishing expeditions. Tiring a bit at the sight of fish and seafood, they tried trolling the warm waters off Louisiana for bbq, but their nets came up empty. To add insult to injury, one of the jumping off spots to roll down the Mississippi to the Gulf, Belle Chase, Louisiana, was seemingly bereft of protein-laden meals that featured anything but fish, seafood, or the culinary heritages of Al Copeland and Ray Kroc.
Thus the boys, heretoafter known as Aaron and Bobby, created LA 23 BBQ, named after its highway location, and nothing more mysterious, feature a short menu, long on flavor, of ribs, brisket, pork, and chicken, accompanied by traditional sides. They begin selling Monday through Friday at 11 AM, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Period.
My pal Randy, acclaimed author of the just released “A Taste for Chaos: The Art of Literary Improvisation,” and the best seller “The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak: A New Orleans Family Memoir,” knew enough to call Aaron and Bobby ahead of time to hold some food, lest we be shut out upon arrival.
We dined on brisket and pulled pork sandwiches, with slaw and pickles on the side. The pit masters shop carefully for their meat on a weekly basis, and change it up with suppliers to make sure they get the best.
In the world of BBQ, it’s damned tough to keep a brisket moist and flavorful, and LA 23 succeeds. The pulled pork was superb, as well, and I’m a pulled pork snob.
The key to fine BBQ, as with many things in life, is low and slow. Ask any experienced woman, and she’ll tell you the best man is one who knows the difference between a “slow simmer” and a “rolling boil.” BBQ is much the same. Find a pit master who has the energy and passion to stand in front of a fire for 6-18 hours at a stretch, and you’ll find some mighty tasty ‘cue. Just like the meats at LA 23. Worth a hike from New Orleans, go early, or call first.
Serious ‘cue has been a scarcity in New Orleans in the past; no more.
LA 23 BBQ’s menu is right here (and below)