By Jennifer Biggs
A LITTLE REDECORATING makes all the difference in a restaurant. It’s hard to imagine that just several months ago, the honky tonk-ish Double J Smokehouse & Saloon was home to Beignet Café, which was reminiscent of a French Quarter eatery.
Of course, it was home to the Tri-state Defender newspaper before that, and it started life as a bank. But with Double J, it’s solidly a roadhouse, from decor to menu. Burgers. Steaks. And, of course, barbecue.
Double J serves baby back ribs, which are certainly popular in recent years. They do a very good job with them, too.
Experts will tell you ribs shouldn’t be fall- off-the-bone tender, that you need a little bit of resistance for, oh, maybe character building or something like that — I’ve got no beef with a super-tender rib.
At Double J, the ribs are delicious, with a wonderful crust that bursts with smoke and spice and an interior thoroughly infused with smoke. They’re meaty, and plenty tender while still having a bit of tug.
They’re intensely flavored (though not hot), and the barbecue sauce that comes with them is sweet. They are truly made for each other. The ribs are elevated by the tangy sweet sauce, providing a stellar example of balance in barbecue.
Unfortunately, there’s only one sauce served at Double J, and it just doesn’t work as well with the pulled pork, which doesn’t hold up to the ribs.
I hope I haven’t stumbled upon a trend of restaurants delivering ribs several levels above the pulled or chopped pork, but I’ve encountered this at several places lately.
The pork is OK here — at least it has