Neil McClure’s pop up barbecue restaurant has gone brick and mortar. McClure, the long time manager of Dante’s Kitchen (home of the best brunch in New Orleans) swung the doors open on his McClure’s Barbecue last night on Magazine Street in a former tattoo parlor.
Pit boss McClure is running a 7′ Lang smoker out of Georgia to cook the meats for his operation. Hickory is his wood of choice.
Can McClure put New Orleans on the barbecue map? That remains to be seen. In my rambles across the city, I’ve only had one truly memorable barbecue meal, and that was at Podner’s (RIP) over a decade ago.
In addition to the traditional barbecue offerings of brisket, sausage, pork and spare ribs, McClure is turning out handmade sides of porky pork and beans, mac and cheese, cole slaw and potato salad. Maybe this is where the new restaurant can gain footing? Paying attention to the non-meat part of the menu.
Out here in Austin we could give a fuck about sides, instead opting for raw onions and pickles, and maybe the occasional saltine, but New Orleans is not part of the barbecue belt. You have to travel north out of the city to get to the Deep South where dozens of smoke shacks are part of the daily fabric of people’s lives.
McClure comes by his career choice naturally. The man grew up in Florida where cooking whole hogs over hardwood fires was part of family celebrations from an early age. In a recent article he mentioned that the first job he ever had was tending an overnight barbecue fire at a family party.
One imagines those fetes were all you can eat, which is exactly what McClure intends to do on Tuesday nights as the business swings into gear. Normal business hours will be Wednesday through Sunday 11:30-9pm, or til the meat runs out.
address: 4800 Magazine Street New Orleans Lousiana 70115