New Orleans has never been known as a barbecue town, at least not like some other parts of the South. But lately there has been more and more great barbecue coming along from new specialists. Even if you already have your own favorite, like the Joint in Bywater, Hillbilly Barbecue in Harahan or Walker's out in New Orleans East, it's fun to sample what some of the newcomers are cooking up. Here are four recommendations to get you started:

McClure's Barbecue
4800 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504-301-2367

Once a pop-up, this slow-and-low specialist covers all the standards well. The chicken is especially moist and delicious, and the range of sauces available helps set McClure's apart. Those cover the regional classics, from a vinegar-sharp Carolinas blend to a creamy Alabama style, and also some house creations, like 'NOLA East,' with elements of Vietnamese flavor. Check out the sandwiches, like the smoky, gooey brisket cheesesteak, and the barbecue taco bar.

Ted's Smokehouse BBQ
3809 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 504-305-4393

Sitting along the main drag in Kenner, Ted's hasn't gotten as much attention as some of the other new barbecue shops. But for those with a taste for Texas-style barbecue in particular it should be on the short list. The ribs and the brisket in particular are strong points. This is a no-frills spot that gets the job done.

Blue Oak BBQ at Chickie Wah Wah
2828 Canal St., New Orleans, 504-822-2583

The latest culinary venture to take over the small kitchen at this Mid-City music hall, Blue Oak seems to be firing on all cylinders. The barbecue is smoky, the sauces are classic and the sides and sandwiches are always worth close consideration. The smoked wings are especially good. While it's not really a restaurant setting, this is a good place to get barbecue while catching a local band, or you can get a take-out order from the walk-up window.

NOLA Smokehouse
739 Jackson Ave., New Orleans, 504-418-2591

This restaurant is a little short on creature comforts, but that's fine. All the energy seems to go toward making consistently excellent barbecue. In addition to the first-rate ribs, pulled pork and brisket, there is red-hot smoked sausage, smoky pork belly chunks and burnt ends, the black, almost-rendered nubs of brisket that seem to radiate barbecue flavor. The list of sides is short, but there's always something of interest on it, like sweet corn spoon bread or fresh slaw dressed with buttermilk. Look for offbeat specials like yaka mein with smoked brisket or chocolate brownies studded with bacon.

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