Texas-style barbecue is churned out every day at Ted's Smokehouse BBQ (3809 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 504-305-4393). Owner Ted Williams earned his barbecue chops more than 20 years ago while managing a Luther's BBQ in the greater New Orleans area. He then moved to Minnesota to open a similar restaurant in Minneapolis.
"I decided it was too cold so I came back down here," Williams says. "I always enjoyed cooking, and barbecue is kind of my specialty, so I decided to go that route." His diminutive restaurant once was a residence in the '50s, but now serves meat smoked all day long on a large rotisserie.
"I smoke mine at a real low temperature, 225 degrees," he says. "My brisket and my pulled pork butts, I smoke those overnight for 12 hours. Now the ribs and the chicken, stuff like that takes around six and a half hours."
Williams uses a dry rub seasoning technique instead of saturating the meat with sauce while it's cooking, and he uses pecan logs in the process for their sweetness.
Ted's Smokehouse BBQ is open seven days a week, and the rotisserie has not stopped turning in the five years since the restaurant opened. Williams knows he can trust the flavor that has been built up in his smoker. For sauce, he trusts in Texas.
"My sauce is more of a Texas-style sauce," he says. "[If you] go up to places like Alabama or Tennessee, they use more of a vinegar-based sauce, but I don't. I use my one sauce and people are liking it." His top two sellers are beef brisket and ribs, and Williams says the quality of his food is why customers come back.
"It costs more, but let me tell you what, it's worth it," he says. "I spend the extra dollar a pound, and I've tried the cheaper ribs but there's just no meat on them. If I can't put out a quality product, I don't even want to do it. I'm proud of my food."
Quality is a main factor in the success of his barbecue business, and Williams says constantly monitoring temperature is imperative, even if "you have to be a baby- sitter sometimes."
"This is my first home, to be honest," he says. "I spend more time here than I do in my house."
The winter months are the busiest at Ted's Smokehouse, with seasonal offerings of smoked turkeys and catered platters for parties. Williams updates the menu frequently with different takes on side dishes.
"Sometimes I'm watching the food channel on TV, and all of a sudden, bam! 'Hey! That's a good idea!'' he says. "Then I get back in the kitchen and try it out."
Although he isn't afraid to test different recipes, Williams only experiments with the menu's side dishes, such as baked beans and potato salad. "Not the meats," he says. "The meat is going to be there forever."