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BBQ competitors turn pit passion into restaurant experience

NEW ORLEANS -- If you've had the opportunity to attend Hogs for the Cause, you might think that BBQ has always been a big deal here in the Crescent City. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Frey Smoked Meat Company's Boe Reboul tells us that because of our Cajun and Creole cuisine, folks from southeastern Louisiana have been reluctant to embrace BBQ. He also believes that Hogs for the Cause has helped bring folks around to the awesome flavors that have become legendary in neighboring Mississippi and Texas.

After a few years of competing and succeeding in "Hogs," the guys from Frey decided to take those BBQ classics and churn them out in a restaurant. Frey Smoked Meat Company was born and has been serving up a steady dose of brisket, pulled pork and their specialty ribs ever since.

Frey is much more than a BBQ joint, though. They have a great bar stocked with serious bourbons and craft beers. They serve up great sandwiches and sides and they also have milkshakes that are half beverage and half dessert.

We got to sample a little of everything. It was a mouth-watering experience. The first thing we sampled was some of Frey's brisket. The brisket was great. It was just the right combination of tender and meaty. It pulled apart with a touch of elasticity, and the flavor and texture was great.

While we were at it, we checked out Frey's best-selling appetizer the Pork Belly Poppers. Let me say that these tender chunks of pork belly tossed in pepper jelly were outrageously good. I know that I have said this in past segments, but I seriously could have eaten a bucket of those things. They were so tender and succulent and the pepper jelly glaze put their flavor over the top. Wow!

Reboul said sandwiches and burgers are also big sellers at Frey. So, when he offered up Frey's Classic Cheeseburger (which is actually a double cheeseburger) and their Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich (which is currently a specialty sandwich on their menu) we were more than willing to dig into both.

The cheeseburger was outstanding. The patties were cooked up on a really hot flat top grill and topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and Frey's house-made burger sauce. It was exactly what you would expect a classic cheeseburger to taste like. Textbook has never tasted so good!

The Hot Chicken sandwich was also very good. Reboul says it's his favorite sandwich on the menu right now. It is a chicken thigh breaded and fried and then tossed in an authentic Nashville hot sauce. Add lettuce, onion, pickles to cut the heat and you have a real southern-fried flavor experience. So whether it's classic BBQ favorites or great sandwiches and burgers or awesome apps and beverages, it's all for the offering at Frey Smoked Meat Company.