Carolyn Huggins Simmons, the proprietor of Flying Pig BBQ (1173 Louisiana Ave., Shreveport), understands how contemporary barbecue should look. Scroll through Texas Monthly‘s list of the Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas and you’ll see a lot of beautiful, top-down photos of sampler platters featuring several varieties of smoked meat. The meats themselves will be colorful – the red rub on the ribs, the brisket’s black bark – and they’ll be surrounded by bright little mounds of condiments and sides. Flying Pig BBQ is the first barbecue joint in Shreveport-Bossier, to my knowledge, to offer such photogenic barbecue platters. This is barbecue that begs to be Instagrammed.
It doesn’t hurt that the barbecue, and the condiments that accompany it, are also incredibly tasty. The pork ribs are fine, and the brisket is very good – but the chicken. The smoked chicken at Flying Pig BBQ ($8.50 for a quarter chicken, $11.50 for a half), served with Simmons’s take on Alabama-style white sauce, is among the best things that I have eaten in 2017.
“I’m trying to represent the South with my barbecue,” Simmons told me. “I thought: ‘What can I do to make my smoked chicken more representative of the South?’ And I’ve always brined all of my poultry. So I made tea, sweetened with brown sugar with lots of lemon juice, with salt added in. And we brine our chickens in that mixture for 48 hours.”
The salt in the brine breaks down the proteins in the meat, tenderizing it, while the mixture of tea, lemon juice and brown sugar gives the bird a delicate flavor before it’s ever seen the inside of a smoker. Though the restaurant had only been open for a few days at the time of my visit, the smoked chicken had already emerged as a favorite among diners. I suspect that it will become even more in-demand as the word spreads.
Whatever you order at Flying Pig BBQ, do not pass up the condiments. Stop by the self-service fixins bar and grab some candied jalapeño slices, pickled onions and homemade pickles. Experiment with the three sauces, which incorporate local Hummer & Son Honey and Great Raft Brewing beer. Half of the fun of eating at Flying Pig BBQ comes from combining the delicious smoked meats with all sorts of pickles and onions and other little goodies.
Flying Pig BBQ adds new and unexpected flavors and techniques to Shreveport-Bossier’s barbecue offerings. If you love barbecue, it’s a must-try.
Flying Pig BBQ is currently open, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday. Breakfast – including breakfast tacos! – is served 7 a.m. til 9 a.m. Alcohol is not currently served.