For restaurateur Herb Fong, barbecue had long been an engaging family pastime.
“I loved to barbecue growing up,” he says. “It was always something we did while watching football.”
A couple years ago, Fong—owner of the Cajun eatery Jasmines on the Bayou on Jones Creek Road—wanted to try his hand at selling his own barbecue. Jasmines provided an easy opportunity.
“We decided to set up a tent outside and sell it there, and it really took off,” says Fong, who subsequently visited barbecue restaurants and smokehouses in Austin and Memphis to gather ideas and talk to pitmasters.
“I wanted to open a spot that had a little bit of everything my family enjoys,” he says. “I didn’t want it to be high class. I wanted to offer an affordable, but great product.”
Hannah Q, named for Fong’s barbecue-loving, 5-year-old daughter, first opened as a quick service format in Prairieville in 2016. Last year, he opened a second, full-service location at Government and Hebert streets in Mid City. Reception has been so strong that Fong hopes to open another location in south Baton Rouge soon. He’s on the hunt for the right spot.
Fong’s team smokes a variety of meats onsite over pecan and hickory, including baby back ribs, pork butt, brisket, wings and more. Hannah Q’s four different homemade sauces—an ode to Southern barbecue diversity—include a ketchup-based sweet sauce (the most popular), a South Carolina/Georgia-style mustard sauce, a North Carolina vinegar sauce and a spicy sauce.
Fong’s spice rub, in the making for five years, is a warm and earthy mixture of smoked paprika, cumin and other spices. Order your favorite meat in a sandwich, or on a platter with belt-loosening sides like smoked Gouda mac-and-cheese, braised mustard greens and sweet corn pudding. The menu also features barbecue spaghetti, inspired by Fong’s Memphis visits. He’s created a barbecue jambalaya, too.
Along with barbecue in every shape and form, Hannah Q’s ample menu hooks diners with other options, among them fried seafood, Southern classics like chicken fried chicken and grits and grillades, and burger combos. If by some miracle you have room for dessert, try the impossibly creamy banana pudding.
Where to find it: 17097 Airline Highway, Ste. 201, Prairieville
4808 Government St., Baton Rouge hannahqsmokehouse.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.