Open now for 11 years, Port Allen’s Cou-Yon’s has emerged as a regional barbecue powerhouse. It landed top honors in Money.com’s Best BBQ in Louisiana, placed in Yelp’s Top 50 BBQ Spots in America and came in at No. 1 in Trip Advisor’s Best BBQ in Baton Rouge.
An original team of 15 employees has grown to 60, thanks to the restaurant’s bustling catering business along the industrial corridor.
And more diners in the Capital City are discovering the across-the-river eatery through its food trucks, including one now stationed regularly on the LSU campus near the Dairy Store. Another soon will return to a recurring spot in the Garden District area.
“To say that we’ve grown exponentially is an understatement,” says Cou-Yon’s owner and managing member Paul Mladenka.
Cou-Yon’s launched in a former gas station at Gardere Lane and Burbank Drive in Baton Rouge, relocating in 2009 to a former Sonic restaurant on North Alexander Avenue in Port Allen.
“We felt like Port Allen and West Baton Rouge Parish was an untapped market for barbecue,” Mladenka says. “Being in the middle of the industrial corridor seemed like a great opportunity.”
He was right. Patrons in the immediate vicinity were eager for something new, finding a large menu replete with slow-smoked brisket, pulled pork, spare and baby back ribs and specialty items that reflect a certain indulgent creativity. Brisket tacos and pulled pork-topped tater tots give diners an option beyond combo plates, and the signature smoked loaded potato—a self-contained meal in itself—can be topped with anything from fried shrimp to smoked meatloaf.
Mladenka describes Cou-Yon’s style of barbecue as “south Texas with a Louisiana flair.” It’s rubbed with an in-house dry rub, then slow-smoked over pecan wood sourced from Pointe Coupee Parish. Sauce is applied at the table and comes in three options: sweet, smoky or spicy. And diners can take Cou-Yon’s popular sweet sauce home: It’s commercially available in regional supermarkets and soon to be online.
Where to find it: 470 N. Alexander Ave., Port Allen couyons.com
This article was originally published as part of our Baton Rouge BBQ cover story in the March 2020 issue of 225 Magazine. Click here to read more.