UPDATE TO AN UPDATE: Just heard some great news from owner/pitmaster Stephen Joseph about the reopening of Joseph’s Riverport BBQ in Jefferson. The restaurant was totally destroyed by a fire in January.
Here’s Stephen’s note: “It’s probably about 6 to 8 weeks away from being ready. The exterior is about complete but the interior is unbelievably tedious and complicated. The new pit from Bewley should be ready in about 2 weeks and I’ll be doing a lot of test cooking.”
We can’t wait to head east to Jefferson and check out Stephen’s new joint. I’m sure they will reclaim their spot as one of the best BBQ joints in east Texas.
Here’s the original blog post from Fall 2010:
Born on the Bayou – Joseph’s Riverport BBQ in Jefferson
A couple of blocks off the Big Cypress Bayou in Jefferson, Texas, you’ll find one of the best barbeque joints east of Tyler.
I visited Joseph’s on a recent Friday afternoon after a full morning of antique shopping with my wife Michele in historic Jefferson. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do! In return for a loyal day of antiquing on my part, Michele agreed to share a three-meat platter with two sides for lunch.
We ordered and I started taking photos, as usual when visiting a new joint. Before I knew it, I was meeting pitmaster and owner Stephen Joseph, who suspected I might be with the Texas BBQ Posse when he saw the camera, he had been following our BBQ adventures online.
Stephen invited me to visit the smokers after lunch and Michele and I dug in. We ordered sliced brisket, ribs and turkey along with potato salad and cold slaw. Despite eating after the lunch rush hour, everything was perfectly cooked, moist and smokey. They provided a phenomenal and award-winning homemade sauce, warmed up and ready for action. The sides were great as well.
After lunch, Michele headed back out into antique land and I headed back to the smokers with Stephen. We talked meat smoking techniques, he cooks fully unwrapped around 220 degrees using oak wood. I had to sample some sausage, my fourth meat there. It was made locally and very good as well.
He explained how he opened the joint in 1993 and it took four or five years to really figure out the business. “The cooking part was a lot easier than the business part,” Stephen shared. He thanks his parents, both successful business people, for helping him put all the pieces together.
So, if you find yourself on a romantic bed & breakfast getaway in Jefferson with your significant other, I have a plan of action to pass on. Drag yourself from antique store to antique store with a smile on your face. Then, when the subject of lunch comes up, say “I know just the place!” Then head to Joseph’s Riverport BBQ and tell ’em the posse sent you!
Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue, 201 N Polk St, Jefferson, TX, 903-665-2341. Open Tues-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-2pm.
(Photos ©Chris Wilkins)