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Pitmaster with a Purpose: Rib Tip Express’ Robert Hutson is Throwing a Party
A relative newcomer to Shreveport-Bossier’s food scene, Rib Tip Express (2112 S. Market St., Shreveport) is a no-frills, drive-through ‘cue joint serving rib tips, brisket, Maxwell Street-style Polish sausages and more. If you manage to miss the phrase “Chicago Style BBQ,” which is written all over the small, colorful building, the menu’s emphasis on rib tips and Maxwell Street Polishes – foods that Wikipedia calls “classic foods synonymous with Chicago” – should tip you off that this is not your average BBQ spot. I’m no expert on regional barbecue menu variations, but I haven’t seen any other barbecue joints locally advertising rib tips and Maxwell Street Polishes.
The pork rib tips are flavorful chunks of tender meat, gristle and cartilage that require some technique to eat, but really are delicious. A local obsession on Chicago’s South Side, they are seen there as a blue collar food that’s gaining a cult following among food lovers in the manner of grits or mac and cheese. Guy Fieri is probably driving his
Mustang Camaro towards Chicago to tape an episode about them as I write this blog post. At Rib Tip Express, rib tips will run you from $5-$10, depending on the quantity. They are tender, flavorful and fun to eat. If you’re going to give Rib Tip Express just one shot to impress you, get a platter of rib tips. And possibly a bib.
The Maxwell Street Polish is a hotdog made with a particular kind of Polish sausage popular in Chicago. Rib Tip Express’ owner and pitmaster, Robert Hutson, serves the Maxwell Street Polish on a bun topped with grilled peppers and onions, mustard and ketchup. There are many less-fulfilling things you could do with $4 than buy one of these delicious hot dogs.
In addition to his love for barbecue, Hutson is something of a community activist. On the day I visited him, he was watching the documentary film Wattstax on a small TV inside of the shop, getting excited about an upcoming community event that he’s organizing. The inaugural Rib Tip Express BBQ Cook-Out at Columbia Park will be held on Saturday, May 31, 2014 at Columbia Park in Highland. Hutson is seeking “musicians, performers, vendors and foodies” to be a part of his day out in the park. In describing the day’s activities, he mentioned playing croquet and eating ribs, which pretty much sounds like my ideal day. To find out how you can take part in the event, contact Hutson at (702) 810-0757.
Rib Tip Express can be reached for call-in orders at (318) 820-5179. Hutson loves catering events and will also deliver orders for larger groups. The restaurant is open lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday. They accept cash and credit cards.