Smoke on the Water: Butler’s Smokehouse on Cross Lake

Featured photo: A two meat plate ($10) from Butler’s Smokehouse.

We all have our ultimate comfort food – the thing that we eat when we need to feed the spirit as well as the body. For me, that comfort food has always been barbecue, the smokier the better. I love the kind of barbecue joint where the smoke is laid on so thick that you smell like your lunch for the rest of the day. Butler’s Smokehouse, a relatively new barbecue spot opened by Gloria and Pastor Johnny Butler at 5769 South Lakeshore Drive in Shreveport, is my kind of place. On the day of my recent visit, the ribs were smoky and tender but not falling-apart-tender (“falling off of the bone,” despite having a ring to it, means “overcooked”) and the brisket was moist, smokey and practically melted on the tongue. Gloria and Johnny were friendly and happy to talk about their product.

A photo of banana pudding
The outstanding banana pudding ($2.99) at Butler’s Smokehouse in Shreveport.

The sides at Butler’s Smokehouse were also interesting. The potato salad, for example, takes all of the flavors that you’d typically find in a smokehouse potato salad and blends them into creamy whipped potatoes. Dessert options include one of the best banana puddings in the city. The Butler’s Smokehouse version of banana pudding is different in texture from the celebrated banana pudding at Sherry’s Diner (which is in the process of relocating to Lakeshore Drive, putting these two formidable banana puddings in the same neighborhood), but similar in lots of ways: both have loads of overripe banana and layers of crispy vanilla wafers.

Lunchtime traffic was light during my recent visit to Butler’s Smokehouse, a fact that I hope will change. There are lots of local places to get barbecue, but few where I don’t find myself wondering if my lunch was prepared in an oven instead of a smoker. And there’s only one other place in the city with a banana pudding this serious. Butler’s is absolutely in the top tier of local barbecue joints – if you love places that put the smoke on the meat and not on the street, give ’em a shot.

You remember how I said that barbecue has always had a healing effect on my spirit? Check out the incredible folks at Operation BBQ Relief, who are serving hot, free barbecue meals to those impacted by the disastrous flooding in South Louisiana. In just the three days preceding this blog post, they have served nearly 50,000 free meals. Visit their website to learn how you can support their current efforts in Hammond, LA.

A photo of Butler's Smokehouse
The exterior of Butler’s Smokehouse, featuring their completely accurate and charmingly humble slogan: “The best barbecue on this side of town.”



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