Summertime is here. But of course, we don’t have to tell you that. You can simply step outside and the heat and humidity will quickly tell you that yes, summer is here. This summer is certainly different than “normal,” as we can’t have the large cookouts and pool parties we’re accustomed to. But, that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped firing up the grill! So open your notes app and get your tongs ready. We visited one of our favorite local BBQ joints (pun intended) to talk with a pitmaster about New Orleans BBQ in the time of the coronavirus.
Meet the Local
Matthew Bordelon is the General Manager of The Joint in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood. Their slogan is “always smokin’” and it only takes passing by and taking in the alluring smell to know, they’re not lying. This BBQ paradise located at 701 Mazant St has been a Nola staple since it opened in 2004. They got a boost when they were featured on Guy Fieri’s Food Network program “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” but the local and national acclaim doesn’t stop there:
We visited The Joint this week to chat with Matt about all things BBQ and Bywater.
How has your business been affected by COVID-19?
“It has certainly flipped our normal way of operating and lives. We have changed the way we interact with our customers and regulars for their safety and ours. We used to be able to have lengthy conversations, give hugs, shake hands, etc… and now we are to the point of quick interactions just to keep everyone socially distant.”
“Also, we only have a little better than half of our pre-pandemic amount of employees at the moment. The people that aren’t working are getting assistance through unemployment (although the future of that remaining is uncertain). We wish we could be bring more employees back, but the business and sales just aren’t there to sustain it.”
“During April and May, the meat processing plants shut down because of the COVID outbreaks. Because of that, meat prices doubled from $3.98/lb to $7.50/lb and stayed that way for a couple of months. Fortunately today, price-wise, things are close to normal. Although baby back ribs are still high.”
What’s your favorite meat to cook?
“Brisket for sure. Here at The Joint, our brisket is still prime (graded prime) throughout it all.”
How should we cook a brisket at home?
“I recommend cooking your brisket to slice instead of shred. And, the simpler the better, just make sure you season generously with pure salt and pepper. Then, you just let the flavor of the meat shine. Cook it low and slow anywhere from 10-14 hours depending on the size of your brisket.”
What’s your favorite way to cook?
“That’s easy: wood fire. Cooking over a wood fire is primal. It imparts so much flavor. It’s…just GOOD!”
What do you love about having a neighborhood business in the Bywater?
“The Joint’s been around for 16 years in this area and 9 years in our current building. The neighborhood has drastically changed over that time. There are just so many unique things here. It’s a historical district, and I love how all the colors of the homes are original.”
“All the people down here are happy to help out, and they get along with everyone. It’s just good old fashioned New Orleans people. Even the newcomers adapt to that way, and everybody is into inclusivity. I’m proud to work here.”
“The business is surviving, but it’s not the same without everyone here and not being as social as we are accustomed to being.”
Call 504-949-3232 to find out the hours and safety operations for The Joint during the coronavirus.
If you’re like us, you love New Orleans BBQ, and you love supporting local businesses. If you need help creating the life you love, reach out to your trusted local real estate advisor at GARDNER, REALTORS today!