Benton is a small, conservative town on the outskirts of Bossier City, but still thriving prominently within their own city limits while also delivering that tranquil outdoor experience on the back roads. As I was following the Byway in Benton, I stumbled across Uncle Henry’s Smokehouse BBQ, located at 4717 Palmetto Road. The restaurant is sitting at the corner of a miniature shopping hub just before you really enter the rural area of the Boom or Bust Byway route, and you can smell seared meat from the parking lot. That’s always a good sign.
The décor inside of the restaurant gave me a blend of rustic farm vibes with subtle perks of humor. There was a tip jar with a cow tipping reference taped to it at the register, and a joyous, porcelain pig that oddly stares at you as it sits on the condiments station. It’s a nice spin on a light-hearted, comfortable, Southern feng shui. The welcoming atmosphere prepares you to eat a hearty barbecue meal that makes you loathe that top button of your jeans.
The menu consists of an assortment of perfectly smoked meats in all of your favorite barbecue dishes, including chopped beef sandwiches, burgers, and hoagies, as well as meat plates and platters of ribs, sausage, chicken, and turkey. Unlike many barbecue joints, Uncle Henry’s smokes all meats on the menu. In addition to smoked meats, they also offer the traditional barbecue sides, such as baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, corn on the cob, and more.
I was enticed by the Henry Burger, which consists of a half-pound smoked beef patty, cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion all sitting between a jalapeno cheddar bun. However, my favorite type of barbecue is ribs. I didn’t want to suffer with the tough decision, so I just ordered both. No worries, it was quite a shameless decision.
The Henry Burger was thick and definitely served its authentic purpose in the world of barbecue. The beef patty was seasoned to perfection and juicy, while the exterior had a crispy surface coated with that smoked flavor we all crave from the pit. The vegetables were fresh, and they blended well with the overall taste of the Henry Burger.
As for the ribs, the taste developed a savor that lingered long after your first mouthful. The meat was definitely cooked long and slow because it tenderly fell from the bone with each bite. I cannot put my finger on the exact seasoning used, but it’s well-worth another visit. Uncle Henry’s Smokehouse BBQ is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Saturday. Call 318-965-5025 for more information.
Uncle Henry’s is just one stop along the Boom or Bust Byway that offers local, family-owned barbecue recipes to visitors on the route. Barbecue lovers can indulge in more back road barbecue spots, such as Outlaw BBQ Food Truck, Southern Smoke, Caddo Outdoors Bait & Tackle and A Taste of Blanchard.
There’s something to be said about back-road barbecue joints on the byway. Jump on the route and experience it for yourself. The Boom or Bust Byway follows Hwy. 2 and is defined by the Louisiana/Texas border and Hwy. 3049 pm the west and Lake Claiborne on the east. This barbecue is worth the drive.