It's hard to find good barbecue in Lafayette. I've probably gotten more e-mails about where to find succulent ribs than any other food question. Normally, my primary barbecue locator is twofold. 1. Follow your nose, if there's smoke, there's smoked meat. 2. If you see a stack of wood piled up behind a cinderblock shack, take note. If you see smoke, hit the brakes. It's hard to find good barbecue in Lafayette. I've probably gotten more e-mails about where to find succulent ribs than any other food question. Normally, my primary barbecue locator is twofold. 1. Follow your nose, if there's smoke, there's smoked meat. 2. If you see a stack of wood piled up behind a cinderblock shack, take note. If you see smoke, hit the brakes.
My two favorite joints are pretty far flung. My No. 1 rib destination is in Tuscaloosa, Ala., across the river in the part of town called Northport. I've made many a pilgrimage to Archibald's, where the menu consists of a slab of ribs on a piece of wax paper, a slice of white bread, and a Dr. Pepper. It's elemental. It's only six hours each way. I have a jug of Archibald's vinegary sauce in my fridge, hoarded, for special backyard events.
Destination No. 2 is a lot closer, Allison's in Eunice. Located on Hwy. 190 in the middle of town, it fits the stack of wood-screen door bill. Stellar ribs. The pork chop sandwich comes with a pickle, and Allison's actually has some sides.
I'm also willing to stand in line, a long slow line, to get my Sunday barbecue at a Lafayette institution, Country Cuisine, where Roy Williams has been smoking every pork product he can get his hands on, and some chicken for fans of fowl. And Williams' sides are stupendous, all kinds of smothered vegetables, creamy mac and cheese and for dessert, sweet sweet sweet potatoes.
But day in, day out, there are a mere handful of barbecue places in the Hub City, and while I like the spike in the sauces at 2Paul's (and the margaritas) and crave the pulled pork sandwiches at Johnson's Boucaniere , it's hard to find the kind of junked up atmosphere that spells out barbeque.
The Shed, in Scott, is tricked out in rusty tin. There are Christmas lights all year round. Old signs on the walls, hammered together picnic tables, lame platitudes staple-gunned to the walls in the bathrooms. And best of all, what could keep me chowing down for hours, Delta blues jukeboxing all day long.
I like a barbecue place that sells meat by the pound. Gets down to basics that way. For instance, the Jumbo Sampler is four pounds of meat. You get to try out The Shed's brisket, chicken, sausage, and pulled pork and ribs, along with three of their sides; choose beans, cole slaw, macaroni salad or potato salad, and a cup of its signature sauce. Take that baby out on the back deck overlooking a pond, ducks included, with a long neck of Dixie, or whatever you're drinking; it's got a wide selection of beer and rootbeer if you're so inclined.
That's about it - meat, sides, sauce. Lots of napkins. Live music Saturday nights. Dance floor. So take a little road trip; it's a nice place to wile away a Saturday afternoon, just junky enough to make you feel like you're somewhere deep in smoked meat country. And you are. The Best Stop is just a hop down the highway. You can kill two kinds of pork cravings with one stone.
The Shed is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays at 308 Hwy. 93 North in Scott. Call 706-7079 is any of this info is not clear. I'm still in a smoked meat stupor.