Finally all the stars aligned and I decided to go for it New Orleans, Louisiana. I made it my second quest to go where BBQ originated, the south. Born and bread for Barbeque. Some think of New Orleans as Cajun style food influenced by the migration of the French but in the backyards barbecue was born. Days that where to hot to cook in the house evolved into food being brought outside to be smoked by the fire.
It has been one of my dreams to come taste the flavor of jazz for myself. With all the BBQ competitions and stuffing MEAT down my throat my stomach needs a vacation. I hoped in my car with my MEAT ME gear and drove the 1,900 miles to New Orleans, Louisiana.
It was dessert from Palm Springs all the way to the eastern tip of Texas; and like a switch it turns full swamp. Things my eyes have never seen. A good 36 miles of the freeway is built over a river is like something out of Jurassic Park. When I rolled in at night the fog and humidity was so thick my tired brain started tricking me into thinking I couldn’t breath so on that note time for a 2-hour nap.
I arrived at my friend Christine’s place and then headed out to meet her at her place of business Felix’s Oyster Bar and man was that food good. Damn. I mean heaven really is an oyster, especially if it is deep-fried. From shrimp to seafood gumbo it was a party in my mouth. Wait a few days and I’ll have that food for you in full detail. Today it was time to get focused.
I got on my twitter machine now that I have my bearings and put the word out MEAT ME is in New Orleans I am looking for the best BBQ/Food New Orleans has to offer. I heard right back from miss Lorin Gaudin @NolaFoodGoddess herself with tons of places to hit up. The first one to hit me up was Squeal BBQ. So Brendan the owner along with his two brothers it was.
I headed down the famous Saint Charles street where the homes are so beautiful they are build facing the street at a 45 degree angle just so they can brag about how pretty they are. The second I turned on Oak street I could smell the BBQ from about 300 yards away. I pulled up to this beautiful place and started taking pictures of this hidden gem inside New Orleans. I had the awesome chance to sit down with Brandon when he stuffed my belly and I mean stuffed, (seriously almost ate everything) while we talked about his BBQ and the south.
MEAT ME: The Boudin Ball has pulled pork?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Pulled pork, duck liver, chicken liver, and duck hearts; celery, bell pepper, onions all that good stuff. I put them in semolina flower and a creole mustard sauce.
MEAT ME: Yeah and the spice creeps up on you really slowly..
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah the black pepper actually sits on the outside we don’t cook it with it. We ball it up at the last minute and yeah it definitely gets you at the end.
MEAT ME: So what do you smoke the pork with?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Hickory. Every once in a while it’s Pecan. Sometimes we mix’em but we try to get it all hickory. Tomorrow we are back to Pecan because I can’t get Hickory in the City I am in. I can’t find any more Hickory. Pecan is really good but I have a server that is really allergic to it. It is kind of light and it doesn’t put out a whole lot of smoke but Pecan makes is so she can’t breath.
MEAT ME: I guess it would be horrible to have to work with a gas mask. (we laugh) Do you marinade your meat before?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: No we just dry rub it, it’s a pretty simple rub.
MEAT ME: Are you aloud to tell me what is in the rub?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Its salt, garlic and black pepper.
MEAT ME: Damn, I love it I am have always been about “less is more” when I BBQ.
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yea we have tried so many different things, you know we have gotten crazy it just tasted better.
MEAT ME: You know I have seen people smoke with tons of stuff and it just pulls all of the juices out of the meat. For me with just he smoke and the natural just that’s the best to me.
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah! Exactly and we have a pretty acidic barbeque sauce too.
MEAT ME: So what is your name?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Brendan
MEAT ME: So what is this called?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Those are our Black-Eyed Pea Egg Rolls. They have black eyed peas with sausage and bacon. It’s not all meat but it is quite a bit.
MEAT ME: (laugh) It’s really really good.
As I am sitting there shooting and tasting the food he brings out 3 more plats of food.
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Sorry about food stacking up.
MEAT ME: No problem its nice to have different types of food so it doesn’t all start to taste the same. What is this dish called?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: This is our Smoked Pork Cakes it is BBQ pork with cream cheese with different chilies, onions, and peppers, bread crumbs pico de gallo and sour cream. What do you think?
MEAT ME: The pico de gallo goes really well with the meat I would have never of thought of that especially with how it goes together with the smoked pork. (I peak under the salsa on top and I see white) Is there some type of white sauce in there?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yea it’s cream cheese.
MEAT ME: That’s what fucking did it! I might put more on there… It is really. It’s very serious and then I hit the cream cheese and a party broke out.
Squeal Bar-B-Q: laughs) Yeah its really rich. That’s a good way to put it.
MEAT ME: Man that is good. Do you guys do BBQ competitions at all?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: We have only done one in the past couple of years. Its local they had 60 teams this year and they had 40 teams last year. We came in second last year and third this year. For us your kind of baby sitting a lot of different things. It’s a very cranky day I am not sure how many more I am going to do. You get there the day before you stay up all night till the next day… Its just a… Yeah.
Just 8 months ago I went to one in Cidel it was a Kansas City sanctioned. All the pits are like rocket ships there with 20 to 30 thousand dollar barbeques. It’s crazy.
MEAT ME: What is this?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: These are our signature right here. Every event we do, every off site this is our go to. These Pork Tacos and our Duck BLT Tacos are my favorite thing on the menu.
MEAT ME: Not a lot of people are doing pork and duck.
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah we use a lot of duck.
MEAT ME: This is really good it’s like spicy, sweet, spicy, sweet. Wait look… Drip test. (as the juices from the meat drip on to the plate) Is there a sweet something in there?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Barbeque sauce. Its pretty sweet,
MEAT ME: Is there a dressing you put the cabbage in?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yes it is a horse dressing with radish mayonnaise sauce.
MEAT ME: There you go. Do you use any sugar in your rubs?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: I do. We use it in every thing but the pulled pork. We cook the pork a lot longer.
MEAT ME: How long do you usually smoke for?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: For pork about 12 to 15 usually and then ribs we do 8 and then the brisket we usually cut in half and split it in 3’s. Its harder to get the right seasoning and flavor around the whole thing so we cut it up so each piece comes out just like an end.
MEAT ME: That’s really smart.
Squeal Bar-B-Q: For years I was asking why isn’t there any more flavor in this and then I started doing that cause the burnt ends are always the best part.
MEAT ME: So what are these made with?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: These are BBQ Pork Tacos its pretty simple it BBQ pork, horse radish coleslaw, chipotle, and cilantro on grilled tortilla shells.
MEAT ME: How many pigs to do you guys go through?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: We go through a lot of meat about 10 pigs a week here. These are my personal favorite just as far as taste not a whole lot of BBQ but it’s MEAT with MEAT.
MEAT ME: My Favorite. This is really good I have never been into coleslaw but this is good.
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yea I am not a coleslaw fan. I like it if it is balanced.
MEAT ME: Yea some times the texture is too much and it takes away from the pork and its awkward sometimes.
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah I like our balance. Sometime I even get it with the coleslaw on the side.
MEAT ME: You and me… We are on the same page. Where are you from originally?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: New Orleans.
MEAT ME: How long have you guys had the restaurant?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Since November 2008.
MEAT ME: How do you like it?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: I like it. You know it’s a restaurant business. You get satisfaction when people come in and praise you and tell you its good and in the same sense it is a restaurant business. Sometimes it is so busy and it can get hectic sometimes.
MEAT ME: Where did you learn BBQ? Did you grow up with it?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Kind of. I lived in Florida for 2 years and every weekend we would all go to one person’s house and BBQ. There where only 3 of us but every single week we would start making different stuff. It is basically a BBQ club.
MEAT ME: So what did you do before this?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Mainly worked in restaurants, mostly the front of the house.
MEAT ME: When did you decide that this is what you wanted to do?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Well I have always loved BBQ. Its one of those things where are ya gonna pull the trigger or not. It is a pretty big risk. The actual recipes are easy it’s the getting it done in the kitchen that is the hard part.
Also with our ribs we try to do a fall of the bone style.
(As he is saying this I go to take a bite of the ribs and the meat falls right off)
MEAT ME: You mean like how the meat just fell off the bone. (I laughed out loud)
Squeal Bar-B-Q: (Acts as if that happens all the time with a strait face) Yeah that is pretty much what we go for every time. (This man means business)
MEAT ME: So you cook them dry?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah and then we give them a slight base and hit the grill before we server them.
MEAT ME: Yea they are pretty good. Spare ribs?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yeah with a St. Louis so we get the ends cut off. Those are Collard Greens with bacon. There’s not too much vegetable in there I know you don’t like it. The grits we actually cook in half-in-half and butter so they are very rich and not so much gritty as they are creamy.
(He brings out his brisket and at this point I have eaten 65% to 75% of the food he has brought out, but note I barely ate on the 31-hour drive up here)
Squeal Bar-B-Q: You can definitely eat you ought to go into a contest. (laughs) You wanna try one of these? (Points to his DBLT Tacos)
MEAT ME: Yeah. So what is this called?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: This is our Duck BLT. It’s a grilled tortilla with duck breast, bacon, lettuce with wasabi mayo and tomatoes.
MEAT ME: So how did this become your favorite?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Taste It!!! (laughs) I am big BLT fan and with the duck and the bacon it is just kind of my favorite.
MEAT ME: It is so good I feel like I am having a conversation with myself while I eat it going through the different flavors. It is pretty fun you get the gamey duck taste and then the bacon brings you back its pretty fatty too.
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yea we keep all of the fat on our ducks. I just noticed you got a pretty big piece there.
MEAT ME: Oh don’t worry I am not going to complain about fat!
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Yea we sear it so you get the fattiness plus the bacon, with a little roughage in there.
MEAT ME: (I finish my DBLT Taco and push it aside for the pile of brisket) Excuse me I have some business to attend to.
So what is this?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: This is our brisket with our BBQ sauce.
MEAT ME: So is there anything special/different about your BBQ sauce?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: It is kind of different it’s sweet, it’s thick and there is quiet a bit of vinegar in it. You’ll see when you taste it. It is a ginger and garlic base.
MEAT ME: Your RIGHT! I can taste the vinegar. That is a trip. It’s a lot more exciting then I thought it was going to be. (we laugh) There is a certain type of twang that comes with vinegar that I didn’t expect.
Squeal Bar-B-Q: You wanna piece of bread with that? Is everything ok?
(We laugh hysterically as if I may explode if I eat any more food.)
MEAT ME: So you guys grow your own vegetables? Is that’s what going on?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Well we just planted all the gardens. Our tomatoes should be ready this week; plus collar greens; a bunch of peppers, jalapeno peppers. Our tomatoes should be ready this week.
MEAT ME: What are your hours?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: 9 pm on weekdays and 10 pm on weekends.
MEAT ME: Well then I should probably get out of here so you can get home. Really quick… What is your favorite MEAT?
Squeal Bar-B-Q: Pork and pork ribs!
This place truly is amazing not to mention the uniqueness of the flavor that I have never tasted anywhere else. If you are looking to take your mouth on an adventurous vacation no doubt your first stop should be Squeal Bar-B-Q. No matter if you’re a local or driving 1,900 miles from Los Angeles don’t deny yourself what your body wants.
Squeal Bar-B-Q had me at Pulled Pork, Chicken Hearts and Duck Hearts all in one bite.
You can check out Squeal Bar-B-Que online at: http://www.squeal-nola.com/
You can LIKE them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Squeal-Barbeque/61022723761?ref=ts
You can Follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/squealnola
aka MEAT ME