Barbecue is a controversial topic in Shreveport-Bossier. Locals have their favorite places, ranging from sprawling, well-known restaurants to tiny rib shacks behind service stations. And I’ve enjoyed meals at many of our local barbecue joints. But it’s an undeniable fact that many of the folks who pour into Shreveport-Bossier each weekend, residents of the Republic of Texas, know a thing or two about ‘cue and, as long as we’re being honest, they can be pretty exacting about the stuff. Many are the Texans who have given me stern, doubtful looks and peppered me with questions along the lines of: “Y’all got any real brisket around here?”
Some of the best brisket in northern Louisiana can be had at the new location of Real BBQ Place, located at 7828 Line Avenue. It’s a combination barbecue joint and drive-through snow cone stand.
Real BBQ pitmaster Harvey Clay – who stands about 7’1″, so tall that he’s built special doors to his smokehouse to accommodate his height – hails from Midland, TX. It’s safe to say that he feels pretty strongly about barbecue.
“I’m sort of obsessive about it,” he told me, after inviting me to take a look at his behemoth of a pit – which was custom-fabricated for a restaurant in Waskom, TX before being sold to Mr. Clay. This enormous contraption is like something Willie Wonka would own if he’d had a barbecue factory.
Real BBQ Place’s brisket is fork-tender, with a strong, smoky flavor. There’s a thin crust of black bark on each slice and a bright pink smoke ring penetrates about a half-inch into the meat. “Our brisket smokes 12-14 hours,” Mr. Clay told me. “The rub goes on twice: once before cooking, and once prior to being served. I’ve been making the sauce that goes on it for 14 years.” A brisket plate is $9.75. My plate came with ranch style beans (okay, nothing special) and Mimi’s potato salad (excellent, chunky and tangy).
Mr. Clay also makes his own sausage out of his brisket. I can’t wait to go back and try it. Maybe I’ll have a snow cone for dessert.
Real BBQ is open, Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The Line Avenue location can be reached by calling (318) 670-3730. They have a drive-through window and a dining room.