The Red Beans and Rice Are Smoking Good At Blue Oak BBQ
Founded in 2012 in the back of Grits bar, the BBQ dream of friends Ronnie Evans and Philip Moseley then took up residency at the Chickie Wah Wah music club. At the end of 2016, Evans and Moseley launched Blue Oak BBQ at its current, stand-alone location in Mid-City on North Carrollton.
The Missing Dish
Their menu featured pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked turkey, rack of ribs, cracklings, bbq (baked) beans, and other barbecue favorites.
But something was missing.
“Red beans and rice,” said Evans, co-owner and chief barbecue tech.
The dish wasn’t on the menu because Blue Oak BBQ wasn’t open on Mondays, the traditional day to serve and eat red beans and rice.
So in 2020, when Evans and Moseley decided to open on Mondays, adding red beans and rice as a special was an easy decision.
“I’ve always loved red beans. I grew up eating them,” said Evans, a native New Orleanian.
Red Beans with a Barbecue Flair
Once they made the decision, the next question was how to make their dish stand out from others.
Instead of serving their red beans and rice with a traditional link of sausage or fried chicken or pork chop, the restaurant introduced smoked meats made in-house.
“We felt it was only natural to hold true to the tradition and put a little barbecue flair on the plate by adding some brisket and ribs,” said Moseley.
There is still sausage that comes with the dish, and it’s spicy green onion – the restaurant’s version of a “Texas hot link,” said Evans.
The temptation to add one — or all — of the three smoked meats to the red beans is often irresistible.
The red beans recipe was created by Evans, and his mother was the inspiration. “Red beans were in my mom’s repertoire. She also made black bean soup with Camellia black beans. It was always Camellia beans, all the time,” he said.
Surprise Ingredients: Pulled Pork & Pickle Juice
Evans’ red beans and rice recipe starts with the trinity (celery, bell pepper, onions) cooked down in pork fat. Then chicken stock is added. “We add more sausage and cook it down, then fold in the pulled pork, which gives it a nice texture,” said Evans.
That mixture is then poured into the red beans, which have soaked overnight, and it all cooks together into a creamy blend.
There are a few surprise ingredients. Cumin, chopped green onions, and pickle juice, the latter of which “just kind of gives it a little brightness and acidity,” said Evans.
The red beans and rice combo, which is only available on Mondays, took off, said Evans.
How red beans and rice ended up on the menu may seem like an evolution; now Evans claims, “It’s probably my favorite dish on the planet!”
Blue Oak BBQ, 900 N. Carrollton Ave., blueoakbbq.com, open 7 days, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.