That BBQ Joint is located at 1511 Williamson St., on Madison's east side.
With a sign at the front door bearing its helpfully descriptive name and a menu taped to the window, That BBQ Joint has no pretense of secrecy. Starting Tuesday, Oct. 1, the small building at 1511 Williamson St. (the original home of Batch Bakehouse, at the corner of Cantwell) will offer a basic, specific menu: five different slow-smoked barbecue options, along with cornbread, coleslaw, baked beans, and fries (sweet potato and standard).
"Growing up in Milwaukee, there really weren't many authentic barbecue options -- and because we had a smoker, we just started experimenting with our own," says co-owner and general manager Clement Henriques, who is opening the business with his mother, Maureen White. "My mom's a really great cook, and she started experimenting with different rubs and seasonings. The five rubs we serve now are her creations."
Those house rubs will grace beef brisket, chicken, pulled pork, and ribs, and Henriques says he's experimenting with a barbecued tofu. That BBQ Joint will also offer beef, pork, and chicken tacos. Judging from some samples that Henriques offered as he was testing the smoker, the pulled pork sandwiches, served with pickles for an unexpected tang, are enormous servings of fluffy bread and tender meat. The St. Louis ribs, which are thick, hearty, and phenomenally seasoned, take three hours in the smoker; he uses hickory chips for an added rich, sweet smoking flavor.
Of the three sauce offerings -- regular, spicy, and mustard -- the spicy is this writer's favorite, but all three are tasty enough that diners may want to combine.
The dining area at That BBQ Joint will be minimal; with initial hours set to be 11 a.m.-7 p.m., the place has a carry-out or short-order vibe. Henriques and White, who have lived in several states but originally considered opening up shop in their hometown of Milwaukee, learned that the building had become available and decided it was time for Willy Street to have an authentic barbecue option. With its specific focus and the knowledge and experience to back it up, That BBQ Joint will be a good addition to the neighborhood's culinary mix.