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Four go-to spots for BBQ

<p>The Joint - The pulled pork is Carolina style, the brisket is Texas, the ribs are St. Louis style and the spicy sausage is Louisiana’s own. </p>

NEW ORLEANS -- Not so long ago, barbecue was one of the cravings that can be hard to satisfy in New Orleans. As close as we are to the great barbecue regions of the South, our own city just did not have much of a tradition to call its own. Now, however, there are many new barbecue joints spots around New Orleans and they're working in their own distinctive styles. Here are four great ones to try around town.

LA Smokehouse

8300 Earhart Blvd., 504-265-8905

LA Smokehouse takes a different approach to the barbecue menu. The meats are familiar enough and plenty good, but here you can get them in a pot luck gumbo, built into a po-boy or a deli sandwich, and even over a green leafy salad. One distinctive house specialty is the grits bowls, which repurposes grillades and grits for barbecue. It's a creative approach to a classic craving and fits the bill when you want barbecue done a little differently. Of course you can still get a straight up plate besides here too.

McClure’s BBQ

3001 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-301-0117

McClure’s home base now is inside the NOLA Brewing Tap Room, and it feels like a match made in beer-and-meat lover’s heaven. Beyond the straightforward platters of ribs or pork or chicken, the menu has burgers and tacos and a number of dishes made for barbecue bar snacks, like the pulled pork poutine. The smoked wings are not to be missed.

The Joint

701 Mazant St., 504-949-3232

The oldest entry on this list also remains the most traditional, with a straightforward, immensely satisfying roster of meats served by the platter or sandwich. The pulled pork is Carolina style, the brisket is Texas, the ribs are St. Louis style and the spicy sausage is Louisiana’s own. The setting is counter-service causal, with a few tables and a side patio where the aroma of the big smoker in back is omnipresent. A full bar and great sides make it all worth a trip down to the Bywater.

Blue Oak BBQ

900 N. Carrollton Ave., 504-822-2583

Blue Oak BBQ started as a pop up in a bar but has quickly gained its own following with a highly traditional slow and low technique at the smoker. Earlier this year, they finally opened their own restaurant, taking over the old Fellini’s pizzeria in Mid-City. It's a casual spot with a great bar and the patio for when the weather cools off. They makes sandwiches and nachos and other snacks, but the meats are so consistently smoky the best approach here is a plate with sides (especially the Brussels sprouts).