Specializing in competition barbeque and Gulf seafood, BRQ turns out about 2,000 pounds each of brisket and pork from its onsite smokers every week. It opened on Jefferson Highway in June 2017 and expanded to Denham Springs last October. The concept taps into Baton Rouge’s reliable interest in tailgate fare and its receptiveness to an easy, casual vibe.
At the helm is Justin Ferguson, a Baton Rouge native who spent most of his career working in high-end restaurants in New Orleans and Chicago. But as high stakes as upscale eateries can be, Ferguson says a competition barbeque restaurant is more challenging “because it’s something everyone relates to, and it takes a really long time to do it. Twenty minutes in the wrong direction, and you’ve messed it up.”
Beyond heaping barbeque platters, the menu includes grilled, sautéed or fried seafood, sandwiches and salads. The brisket and pork get a healthy dose of housemade beef rub or “Pig Powder.” Pulled chicken starts with whole chickens split and brined for two days, then rubbed, smoked and mopped halfway through with a housemade sauce. The pit beans are a jumble of dried pinto, kidney and Great Northern simmered and finished with smoked chicken stock, a housemade spice blend and meat trimmings from the cutting board.