We’ll get back to that question later.
Our three-and-a-half (actually almost four) years of travel have taken us to three of the four acknowledged citadels of barbeque--Memphis, TN; Kansas City, MO; and various cities in Texas. But our favorite barbeque can be found in San Diego (Phil’s) and here in Lafayette (LA) at 2Paul’s Radically Urban Barbecue.
Last spring (April 29th to be precise), I quoted from the restaurant’s web site: “The two Paul's, Gary PAUL Roy from Oklahoma City, and Marilynn PAULE Fournet Adams from Lafayette, share a middle name. (That's right, her middle name is PAULE.) They also share a restaurant. Together they saw that BBQ was missing in Lafayette and pulled together a bright new concept that blended traditional Texas-Oklahoma-style smoke with authentic, homemade Cajun sides and seasonings.”
Meg Jernigan of Demand Media wrote: “A trip to the south isn't complete without a stop at a barbecue stand. 2Paul's Radically Urban Barbecue…promises a combination of ‘big time city bull from Oklahoma with a little bit of country sass from Louisiana’” (traveltips.usatoday.com).
“…no electric smokers or pressure smokers are used whatsoever…. (D)rive around to the back of the building; there you will find a state of the art smoking machine/complex fueled by local pecan wood. No, not a drop of liquid smoke is used with this BBQ. The meat is seasoned well and then smoked for long periods of time, all with a temperature regulated unit that will not dry out the finished product” (Primo Santeria at urbanspoon.com).
And our visit to Lafayette wouldn’t be complete without a visit—or two—for some really good barbecue. Good barbeque like ribs, pulled pork, brisket, sausage, chicken, turkey, or shrimp. The menu includes single or combo meat plates, sandwiches, and salads topped with the pulled pork, brisket, chicken, turkey, or shrimp. And then there is the Cajun Cuban served in a bowl with four cheeses layered between baked beans, pulled pork, and Asian cole slaw then topped off with an onion ring.
You start by placing your order at the counter where we had the chance to talk with Marilynn and tell her how much we had enjoyed her and Gary’s food last spring and how much we had been looking forward to returning. After ordering, you find a table and ponder their three choices of homemade sauce. After tasting each of the three, Kitty Humbug declared “The pepper jelly sauce is a little too sweet, the hot barbecue sauce is a little too spicy, but the regular sauce is just right.”
Soon after this taste test, our food arrived. Chuck stuck with his barbecue favorite—pulled pork—with sides of potato salad and beans. The beans were not your sweet molasses/ brown sugar southern beans but were more reminiscent of Texas-style. This is not surprising given that Gary lived in Oklahoma for many years. The skin-on red potato salad was flavored with just a bit of pickle.
The pulled pork at 2Paul’s is one of my favorites. It isn’t overly smoky so you taste pork and not smoke and the plate contained enough char bits to keep me happy as I snatched them from Chuck’s plate. He poured a small amount of the regular sauce on one portion, but then elected to forgo the sauce for the remaining pork. He is right. This pulled pork is good enough to stand on its own.
I chose the smoked sausage with a side of sweet potato fries. There is something about sweet potato fries that just seems to go with barbecue and these had been seasoned with ground pepper. The sausage—a beef and pork mix—is made for 2Paul’s by Richard’s Cajun Foods of Church Point, LA, according to 2Paul’s recipe. Richard’s products are sold in almost every supermarket in this area. The sausage had a fine texture and was liberally seasoned with pepper.
And, of course, to round out our meal, we were eager to share an order of 2Paul’s amazing onion rings considered by many to be among the best in Lafayette. The rings are thin the way we like them and the light beer batter lets the naturally sweet flavor of the onion come through.
On a second visit, we shared the sampler platter of ribs, sausage, pulled pork, and brisket with potato salad and 2Paul’s mac and cheese. This latter was—to use a Guy Fieri-ism—“off the hook.” I think it was made with sharp white cheddar and was rather peppery. The person taking orders at the counter does warn you in advance about the pepper, since it may not be everyone’s thing.
The brisket was good—for brisket. I just don’t like brisket and should stop trying to. But the meaty ribs were excellent. They are served dry as I prefer and, as was the case with Chuck’s pulled pork, needed no sauce for additional flavor or moisture. Mack at urbanspoon.com says about the ribs: “The ribs were the biggest, meatiest, fall off the bone slabs of meat I have ever seen. I made myself take the smallest bites possible because I didn't want this heavenly experience to end. But as always, all good things must come to an end. I will be coming here every chance I get in the future!!!! To all of you at 2pauls, ‘Keep doing what your doing and don't change a thing.’”
2Paul’s offers an “all you can eat” rib special on Tuesday nights and I hope time permits for a third visit.
And, of course, we ordered the onion rings.
As we were leaving following our first visit, Marilynn comes up to Chuck and asks: “Are you Chuck and Kate? I just put it together. We have your review from last year linked to our web site.” So of course we had to hurry home and look for it. And there it is. You click on “Pull my Pork” and the link pops up.
Barbecue is perhaps one of the most difficult items to rate. Some like it wet with lots of sauce. Some like it smoky. Some love brisket. Some, like me, don’t. But I would rate 2Paul’s above many Memphis BBQ joints and ahead of all Kansas City and Texas places and give it an enthusiastic 5.0 Addies.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.