OK, French Quarters BBQ isn't a hot dog stand, as they serve full-service barbecue on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from the friendly confines of Joseph's Aubtion Yard, in stark contrast to their well-known and unfriendly neighbor, Denio's, across the street. But Greg Bumpers, who is the chief cook and bottle washer at French Quarters BBQ and Soul Food does grill Lousiana-style hot links, so what the heck? Soul food... hot dogs... whatever you want to call it, it all makes for good eatin'...
Photo: If you like smoke, just look for the smoker, as French Quarters BBQ and Soul Food uses an old-fashioned smoker to cook their food - the way it should be.
Greg and his business partner Shawn operate their barbecue joint three days a week, and do everything by hand, the old fashioned way. Don't even look for a computerized cash register, as even the money is handled the way it used to be, back in the heyday of Route 66. The hot links are cooked on a charcoal-fired grill/smoker, and the sides are made inside, by hand. No, the Sysco truck doesn't make a stop at French Quarters BBQ, as everything is done by hand, made from fresh ingredients that are on hand, in-house. Greg and Shawn are local folks, and French Quarters BBQ is not a chain; it's a Roseville original.
Late Saturday morning, October 9, 2010, I found myself at French Quarters BBQ and Soul Food, and decided to order a hot link sandwich, with a side of potato salad, which is the closest thing to a hot dog that they have on their menu. Greg Bumpers, the friendly owner of the business, cooked the hot link before my eyes, and actually called me by name, as he remembered my from my previous visit, nearly six weeks ago. Like usual, we talked about football, particularly the New Orleans Saints, as Greg is a Louisiana guy, and my oldest daughter, Jackie, is a HUGE Saints fan, so Greg and I had a lot to talk about while my hot link was grilling.
Photo: Greg cleans the gril on his Weber kettle grill, before placing tri-tip on it, for another order.
Photo: Greg Bumpers maniupulates my quarter pound hot link on the grill. Greg is a firm believer in charcoal as he claims wood does not add flavor. What can I add, except his barbecue is delicious!!!
For only $4.00 you get a quarter pound hot link, cooked before your eyes over a charcoal grill, placed on a large, fresh bun, and one side dish of your choice. Choices include potato salad, jambalaya or barbecue beans, but for me the selection is easy, as I go for the potato salad, as French Quarters BBQ makes some of the best potato salad that I've ever tasted. Editor's Note: I'd walk many miles to enjoy their potato salad, as it's that good...
Greg cooked my hot link before my eyes, and when it was finished, brought it inside the kitchen, and just as I was enjoying me second beer, Stacy placed it on the table before me, complete with a delicious side of potato salad.
I can't and won't spend lots of time describing my hot link, but I will make a few comments: Good. Juicy. Filling. Fresh. Good value. French Quarters BBQ and Soul Food makes good barbecue and a great hot link sandwich!
Photo: My lunch of a quarter pound hot link, and a side of some of the best potato salad that I've ever had the pleasure of eating for lunch.
Photo: The "weed gal," Angela, with her dog, "Trouble," who proved to be an interesting early lunch companion. She claimed that she was attracted to me because I was drinking from a tall can or Coors beer. Hmmmmm......
An interesting note is as I was sitting on one of the picnic tables, in front of French Quarters, enjoying my hot link sandwich, I was approached by a hippie gal, by the name of Angela, along with her small rat-dog, "Trouble," who was walking beside her, on a leash. Angela noticed the tall beer that I was drinking and we got into a conversation about marijuana, a.k.a., "weed." Yes, I've been a registered Republican for 40 years, and I'm very conservative in my voting, as I'm a supporter of the "Tea Party Movement," in order to limit government intrusion, and to reduce the excessive taxes imposed on my by the State and Federal government of the United States. Angela approached me in the trade of weed, and I declined, not because I'm a red neck, but because currently, weed is illegal in California, There is a process on the November ballot that would make possession of a small amount of weed legal, for personal use, which I support. I break away from the Tea Party Guys, the Republican Party, and the N.R.A. all of which I've supported for many years and have contributed many dollars to support the cause.
Photo: Angela snapped my phot as I was ready to enjoy my quarter pound French Quarter dog. Yep, that's a ham radio transcever strapped to me, check out ericrench.com for information on my ham radio activities.
Politics aside, French Quarters BBQ and Soul Food makes a "mean" hot link. If you're in the mood for a great hot link and you're in Roseville during the weekend, stop by French Quarters BBQ, and say hello to Greg or Shawn.
Now, let's go back to earlier visits...
For me, the summer of 2010 hasn't been "the summer of love," as in my case, it's been the "summer of work," with many 88 and 96 hour work weeks since gigantic changes were implemented at work in early June. All those hours translate into not too much free time, and I fine myself working every other weekend. On the weekends that I don't have to work, I like to enjoy myself, and catch up on my ham radio hobby, work in the yard, get a little exercise, drink a little beer, and hopefully, fire up the grill or the smoker to enjoy a week of barbecue.
Photo: Greg puts more meat on the smoker. French Quarters BBQ features covered fine dining, on very plain picnic benches, but that's what real barbecue is all about: Simplicity.
On Sunday, August 15, 2010, I combined many of my interests, when I took a hike over to Jim's Auction Town, to pay another visit to French Quarters BBQ. Today's mission was a bit different, in that I wanted to purchase enough barbecue to last me the week, and to provide meat for my lunch and dinner at work, as when you're working 16-hour shifts 10 days in a row, you don't have a lot of time to cook, or for that matter, do anything else.
Photo: Greg cleans the grill, as three racks of ribs smoke. Check out the fact the he holds tongs and a grill tool in his left hand -- I wonder if he can use them at the same time, using only his left hand?
Photo: Three racks of ribs cook on the smoker. French Quarters BBQ doesn't use wood for added flavor, as Greg told me that he doesn't think it's necessary. Whatever the case, French Quarters BBQ produces delicious barbecue.
Photo: Today, the kettle grill is being used as a heat source to heat a pan of beans to a boil. Greg says he likes to keep everything simple and low-tech.
If you're looking to purchase a lot of barbecue at a fair price, look no further than French Quarters BBQ, open every Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine, at Jim's Auction Town in Roseville, Ca. Greg Bumpers is the pit boss, and Shawn is his business partner, who keeps the kitchen going. I'm not going to go into great detail about their operation, as that was pretty well covered during my visit on August 1, 2010. Hint: Click on the hyperlink to check out that visit to barbecue heaven.
Photo: Greg stirs a pot of beans cooking over charcoal on the grill. I've never seen this method used in the U.S. before, but it's very common in Mexico.
Photo: Greg discusses pre-season football with a couple of very interested clients. Note the guy wearing the Washington Redskins tee shirt is carrying a bag full of barbecue that he's just purchased.
Photo: Shawn snaps my photo as I sit at the table with my lunch. No, I didn't eat all of that, as today's mission was to take it home and eat it during the upcoming week.
Today I ordered a three meat combination plate, which includes your choice of three of the four varieties of meat they sell, plus two sides. For meat, I chose Louisiana hot links, tri tip and ribs, and I chose potato salad and jambalaya for my side dishes. I was torn between choosing beans over jambalaya, but I hadn't had jambalaya in a couple of weeks, so jambalaya it was. Next time I'll choose beans... As I mentioned in the article that I published a couple of weeks ago, French Quarters BBQ makes some of the best potato salad that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy, so I always choose potato salad. Heck, it's worth a visit to French Quarters for their potato salad alone! So placed my order with friendly Shawn, went next door and grabbed a tall Coors, and by the time I was back, my order was ready, and I sat down at the picnic table and proceeded to enjoy delicious, authentic, Southern style barbecue.
Photo: Jambalaya, Placer County's best potato salad, tri tip, ribs, Louisiana hot links, and a can of Coors make for a delicious lunch. I ate the sides, drank the beer, and just ate a small sample of the meat and packed the rest home.
I couldn't even think of eating it all - that wasn't the plan - so I ate my sides, drank my beer, and ate just a small sample of each variety of meat. Shawn was kind enough to fix me up with a "to-go" box, so I asked her for a couple of plastic bags to allow me to carry it home, and began the three mile hike back to home.
I enjoyed barbecue in my lunch at work for a little over a week from the food that I brought home from French Quarters BBQ. Now that's good value!
My last report was published a scant week ago, but I couldn't wait to make another trip to French Quarter BBQ, located within the friendly confines of Jim's Auction Town, in Roseville, CA. My report of July 25, 2010 pretty well covered the operation, so I'll dispense with most of the commentary, and show you a few photos that I took with my camera phone, as I forgot to bring my camera on this balmy Sunday, August 1, 2010.
Photo: French Quarters BBQ is located within the friendly grounds of Jim's Auction Town, in Roseville, CA, conveniently next to a liquor store that sells beer at bargain prices.
Photo: Unfortunately, neither the smoker or the kettle grill were in operation during this visit, as I caught them between batches of meat.
Photo: Greg Bumpers begins to get meat ready, as co-owner Shawn prepares additional potato salad.
Photo: What a lunch! A double-meat order (for a scant $2.00 extra) of Louisiana hot links, jambalaya, and some of the best potato salad on the planet, and a Coors beer to round it off.
Southen style barbecue in Roseville, CA? Authentic Menphis-style barbecue, lovingly prepared by a couple of local, entrepeneurs? Did I mention it's reasonably priced and delicious? It happens and it all comes together at French Quarters BBQ every weekend.
Photo: Today, the smoker wasn't doing smoking duty, but it was doing advertising duty along busy Vineyard Road. New Orleans and Dixieland jazz was playing to set the mood.
French Quarters BBQ is truly a welcome addition to the Roseville dining scene, as it's a unique operation and serves barbecue like no other BBQ joint in Placer County serves: Authentic Memphis-style, down-home, southern-style barbecue. Editor's note: If Elvis Presley was alive today, and visiting Roseville, he'd love the place, and probably say, "Yes ma'am... thank you very much." If you're an affectionado of American barbecue, you'll recall there are four main genres, Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, and Carolina, with many sub-genres, such as California style, a.k.a. Santa Maria tri-tip beef. But we're getting away from the subject. French Quarters BBQ is owned by friendly Greg Bumpers, along with his business associate Shawn, and French Quarters a one-of-a-kind, locally owned and operated restaurant, which is the kind of barbecue place that I love to patronize, as I'm all for the little guy.
Barbecue is meant to be informal, up-close-and-personal, and that's what you get at French Quarters. The restaurant is located within the friendly acres of Joseph's Auction Town, across the street from it's better known competitor, Denio's Farmer's Market. French Quarters keeps the same hours that Joseph's does, basically from 0800 to 1600 on Saturday and Sunday, but like Joseph's, their hours seem to vary with the weather and the season. French Quarters is tucked away in a little booth near the entrance to the food court, and you can't miss 'em, as they have signs posted all over the place. As an attention getter, they sometimes have a Texas-style smoker set up on Vineyard Road, with lots of signs directing diners to the restaurant within; the smoker is a real attention-getter. However, it's just not all show, as the smoker is used to smoke ribs, so Greg has to commute the 50 yards between the restaurant and the smoker. The smoker serves as a lighthouse to lovers of barbecue, driving down Vineyard Road, as it directs them to the only real Memphis-style barbecue offered in Placer County.
Photo: Greg Bumpers, principal owner and pitmaster, talks football with a passerby. Besides talking barbecue, Greg loves to talk football, as she especially likes the New Orleans Saints.
Photo: Greg proudly shows off the chicken and tri tip that he's cooking on the kettle grill. He doesn't use wood chips for flavoring, as he simply cooks the meat over charcoal.
Greg Bumpers wears many hats, and he wears the hat of the principal owner of the business, go-fer guy, advertising agent, chief cook and bottle washer, and all-around nice guy. His business associate Shawn handles most of the inside duties, including filling orders, making change, answering numerous questions, and making side dishes. Greg is a very friendly guy, and loves to chat with his customers, and truly adds the personal touch to a local restaurant. You get to chat with him, and watch him barbecue your meat perfectly, then he takes it inside and slices the meat into bite-size pieces, as Shawn adds barbecue sauce, and adds your side dish(s) to your plate. Greg is a great guy to talk to, but he's not pushy or intrusive... just a great guy to talk to.
Of course I had to ask Greg a few questions, so I could get a bit of background information for this article. Greg grew up in a small town in Louisiana, where Southern Cooking and Memphis-style barbecue rein supreme. He comes from a long line of family cooking tradition, and he learned his trade from his mom and his grandparents. Greg and I reminisced about the dog days of August during our childhoods, before air conditioning was widespread, and where friends, family and neighbors congregated outside on the front porch, or on the lawn during warm summer evenings, and the biggest from of entertainment was watching a group of neighborhood kids play a spirited game of kick the can, or hide and go seek. Oh sure, on Saturday nights, we'd all cluster in front of the 16" black and white TV to watch the Lawrence Welk Show, and marvel at JoAnn Castle play the accordion... But that's not barbecue, but French Quarters BBQ is barbecue, as they serve delicious, authentic Southern-style barbecue!
As I mentioned before, they have what I call a "Texas Smoker Pit" which is one of those horizontal smoker pits on wheels that slightly resemble a miniature steam locomotive. It's parked along Vineyard Road, underneath a canopy festooned with signs, advertising the business, and is basically only used for bulk smoking. Greg's work horse barbecue equipment is very simple: A 22" Weber kettle grill, fired by charcoal briquettes. Delicious barbecue is not necessarily dictated by the equipment; it's in the skill of the pitmaster. And Greg has the barbecue skills, along with Shawn to back him up on the pit, and to prepare the delicious side dishes.
Photo: Check out the grill marks on the tri tip and chicken!
Photo: Inside the kitchen, Greg cuts up tri tip for sandwiches, as Shawn prepares another side dish.
The menu is simple and to the point, and is divided into three main categories: bbq plates, bbq sandwiches, and combo plates. They offer four varieties of meat, including tri tip, ribs, chicken and hot links, which pretty well covers the barbecue spectrum. Of note are the side dishes; potato salad, jambalaya, and bbq baked beans. If you're choosing a bbq plate, you can double your helping of meat for a nominal extra fee, but keep in mind that any item on the menu won't hurt your wallet. French Quarters BBQ offers hand-out menus, and offers take-out orders as well, with a very modest delivery fee. As of this writing, dated July 25, 2010, the prices range from $3.00 for a 1/4 pound hamburger to $21.00 for a full slab of pork spareribs. BBQ plates are in the $7.00 range, with combo plates prices around $15.00. Whatever option you choose, you get a lot of food for your dollar.
I might add that French Quarters BBQ is a huge believer in barbecue sauce, but since most bbq sauce is sugar based, it burns, so French Quarters doesn't add the barbecue sauce to the meat until after it's removed from the grill. The meat and the sauce is never burned, and you still get the delicious enhancement of the barbecue sauce. Oh yes, the barbecue sauce, the potato salad, the beans, the jambalaya and everything else is lovingly made in-house - I know, as I watched Shawn prepare the side dishes from scratch. The side dishes are prepared in the kitchen, and stored in stainless steel containers until ready to serve. The barbecue sauce and the side dishes are fresh, and delicious.
So late Sunday morning, July 25, 2010, I sat down on one of the picnic tables under the shaded canopy, in front of the restaurant, and chatted with Greg as he barbecued tri-tip, ribs and chicken, and managed to snap a couple of photos of him in action. After seeing the ribs cooking on the Weber kettle grill, my lunch choice was easy: A BBQ Plate of ribs, with side dishes of potato salad and BBQ baked beans. So I bellied up to the window and placed my order with Shawn, paid for it, and while my order was being prepared, I went to the liquor store next door and purchased a tall can or Coors beer, which is the perfect drink to accompany a delicious lunch of barbecue.
Photo: Close-up of the pitmaster at work, as he cuts up a tri tip.
Photo: I pose for the camera as Shawn snaps the shot, and I'm ready to dig into that delicious plate of ribs.
Alright, it's time for a few comments about the barbecue that French Quarters BBQ serves. In a few words and phrases: Delicious. Mouth-watering. Authentic Memphis-style. Finger lickin' good! Awesome. The ribs and side dishes arrived on throw-away styrafoam container, with the "main" plate, if you want to call it that, lined with white butcher paper. You use one-use, throwaway plastic utensils for your sides, but the ribs deserve to be eaten, cave man style, up-close-and-personal; they're that good. Styrafoam containers, butcher paper, and plastic utensils only make good barbecue taste even better, as the whole idea of barbecue is to be informal in every way. I also might add that barbecue tastes better eaten outside, while sitting at a picnic table.
My generous portion of ribs were coated with tangy Memphis-style barbecue sauce, and the only way to enjoy them was to pick them up with your hands, and dig in and enjoy, and lick your fingers afterwards. Whatever you can't lick off can be taken care of by the ample supply of napkins that are a necessity with good barbecue. The bbq beans were delicious, and not spicy at all, but the potato salad really stole the show. I have to confess that I've never met a potato salad that I didn't love, but the potato salad served at French Quarters BBQ is some of the best potato salad that I've ever eaten. It was fresh, creamy, tangy, and garnished with paprika, and just plain drop-dead delicious. Even if you don't love barbecue - who doesn't? - the potato salad served at French Quarters is worth the visit. As a bonus, if you're interested, you get to watch Greg and Shawn prepare your meal.
Photo: Lunch doesn't get any better than this: Ribs, beans, some of the best potato salad that I've ever eaten, and a tall can of Coors to wash it down.
French Quarters BBQ is a very welcome to the Roseville, CA dining scene, especially the barbecue scene. As far as I know, there is only one other barbecue restaurant in the greater Sacramento area that serves authentic Memphis-style barbecue, and there is no other restaurant in Roseville, or Placer County that serves this genre of barbecue. Combine delicious, authentic Memphis-style barbecue, ample helpings, fair prices, and the personal service that you'll receive from Dave and Shawn, and you just can beat French Quarters BBQ. Stop by and enjoy their fine food, you'll be glad you did!
Copyright(c) 2010 eRench Productions. All rights reserved. This site has been on the web since December 22, 2002.