WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
New Orleans only recently can claim that it is the home of a decent barbecue restaurant community. Before the coming of all the hip new Q-joints of the past five years, you didn’t need all the fingers on one hand to count the places that would be accepted as the real thing in serious barbecue places like Memphis or Kansas City.
One of those fingers, however, was claimed by Hillbilly Barbecue. In first one then another hidden spot in River Ridge, they purveyed what they called Kentucky-style barbecue. Whatever gives it that distinction, there is no question that this is serious, consistent barbecue, particularly on the pork side of the menu.
The essence of good barbecue–as we all have learned by now–is wood smoke and slow cooking. That, plus the use of well-butchered meats of good quality, explains everything here. The bark on the outside of the meats, the moistness of the interior, and the seasoning are right on target. The sauce–the least complicated part of good barbecue, no matter what anyone says–is delicious too.
Larry Wyatt moved to New Orleans over twenty years ago from Paducah, Kentucky, a place where barbecue is endemic. He made his own at home for years, always complaining that there were no good barbecue places in the area. He finally was persuaded to open this shop in 2001. It survived Katrina, then after a few years moved to a spot next to a part-time biker bar on the old, dead-end stretch of Hickory Avenue, just over the Harahan line.
Like all good barbecue places, Hillbilly is less amenable for dining in than for taking out. It’s a joint, with minimal amenities.
Pulled pork shoulder
Cole slaw (vinegar-based dressing)
FOR BEST RESULTS
Hillbilly makes a daily special every day, the best of which is the pork chop with mac ‘n’ cheese on Fridays. Order twice as much as you think you’ll need and take it home. Make sure you get enough sauce.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The staff here has lately warmed its attitude, but you don’t come here to feel great warmth. Again I tell you, it’s a barbecue joint.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment -1
- Consistency +2
- Value +2
- Attitude -1
- Wine & Bar
- Local Color +1
- Open all afternoon
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking