Bayou’s best gumbo? From a BBQ place?
Yes, you read that correctly. Since 2011, Capt Frank’s Smoke Shack has placed in the top 3 at every gumbo cook-off held at the Blessing of the Fleet, taking home 1st place three times. Placing 3rd this year in the eleven entry cook-off, Capt Frank (Frank Morse) seeming slightly disappointed said, “ You can’t win them all.” An impressive feat on its own, it’s easy to forget that this is a BBQ establishment.
Since 2005 Capt Frank’s Smoke Shack has been offering real pecan smoked BBQ that he smokes in house every day. My first job out of high school was for LeBlanc and Associates in Bayou La Batre; most of us knew Frank’s lunch specials each day by heart. At least the crew I worked with did because I would request to eat lunch there at least twice a week. I’ve been asked before, and it’s a tough choice, but BBQ is my favorite type of food. Almost everything is better on a grill or smoker, and the sides that go along with BBQ is second to none.
I’ve read before where some of the best BBQ comes from the smallest, hole in the wall buildings, and this place is exactly that. If you’ve never been there, you will probably pass it your first time, but that is what makes the place so great. You pull up, and there are two tables outside, you can smell the pit smoking out of the back of the building, which is the most pleasant advertisement. Once you walk in, you will see Capt Frank himself preparing orders and his wife working right there with him. There are also two small tables inside, and the place is decorated with all the awards he has accumulated since being in business. Like I’ve mentioned, I’ve eaten from here plenty of times so to bring a good review of the place I “had” to get the sampler, stuffed potato, and the gumbo. But, I will get to the gumbo later, for now, let’s talk about this BBQ.
Looking over the menu, you will see that they offer it all, everything you would expect and want from a BBQ place. The sampler includes pulled smoked chicken, ribs, nearly half a chicken, and brisket with two sides. The Cajun-inspired rub blends perfectly with the smoke flavor from the pecan in each portion. The pulled chicken and half smoked chicken are great all on its own but paired with his habanero BBQ sauce; it takes them both up a notch. The ribs give you that slight resistance before pulling right off the bone when you bite into them. Which is another reason why I love BBQ, get your hands in there and don’t worry about that sauce on your face. Brisket is a meat that I’m fairly new to, although I’ve had my fair share; I’ve never taken the time to experiment with it. I do know that it is typically a more difficult meat to get just right, but Capt Frank has it down to an art. My wife isn’t a huge BBQ fan, and she has to be “in the mood for BBQ,” whatever that means. But she is a big fan of BBQ potatoes, and we both approved of Frank’s generously stuffed BBQ potato.
Now, on to this famous gumbo. As I’ve mentioned before, coming from a seafood family, I hold a high standard for anything seafood related. Anyone who has a family like mine and has made rue with them around knows the threats you’ll get if they think you’re about to burn it. Gumbo has been a staple at any family event I’ve been to. This isn’t your typical “seafood” gumbo, and this gumbo has pulled chicken, sausage, and shrimp. It was worth the special trip I made back down there to try out this gumbo. I’ve seen numerous comments on different Facebook post praising Capt Frank for his gumbo, and he deserves every one of them and more. Regardless if it’s from a BBQ place or a seafood restaurant, the gumbo is one you need to try out although I do regret not ordering a side of potato salad to go along with it.
Capt Frank’s Inc Smoke Shack
13876 S Wintzell Ave, Bayou La Batre, AL 36509
11:30am-5: 30 pm Monday to Saturday