Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue

201 N. Polk
Jefferson, TX 75657

Phone: 903-665-2341
Hours: Tue-€“Sat 11-€“7, Sun 11-€“2

Opened 1993
Pitmaster Stephen Joseph
Method Post oak; indirect-heat pit
Pro Tip The Swamp Fries best all other cheese fries.

TMBBQ Rating: 4.5

Texas Monthly BBQ Top 50

TMBBQ Buzz

Comments from our joint finder app.
Yesterday was one of those rare days when both my wife and I were off work. We had planned on some type of outdoor family adventure, but the rainy weather made us modify our plans. Plan B was to make a short trek to Texas for some delectable barbecue. I brought, Alli, my oldest daughter here last year when I started my journey to visit the TM Top 50 joints, so I already knew that we were going to get a respectable meal. Alli and I asked for untrimmed fatty brisket--sliced. I'll have to admit that there wasn't much of a crust, but the perfectly rendered fat made up for it. The meat was a bit blandish, but it did have a nice flavor and was deliciously tender. Any joker can chop shoe leather and slather it in sauce, but it takes a certain level of expertise to smoke up a slab of fork tender meat. My wife, Heather, and I had a second dose of brisket in our swamp fries--a devilish concoction of hand cut fries smothered in brisket, jalapeños, onions, and cheese. Hand cut fries are the best and when they are paired with BBQ, they are phenomenal. The spare ribs had a nice smoke ring. There wasn't much rub induced flavor, but they were nice. They gave the perfect resistance when bitten. No mushy meat and it came clean from the bone. The smoked sausage was forgettable. It gave a nice hint of fire as if they were hot links, but I should have passed on it to make room for some smoked turkey. The barbecue beans were punched up baked beans from a can, but man, they were punched up. I really enjoyed them. I also asked the pit master what he puts in the sauce that gives it its sweetness. He immediately responded with brown sugar. When I pressed him, he gave a bit of a sly smile but wouldn't give it up. I detected a fruity note, perhaps cherry. Whatever he sneaks into his sauce works. Aside from the lack of bark on these delectable morsels and the tired sausage, everything was perfect. I'm a bit surprised because my favorite from our smorgasbord was the swamp fries. Incredible.
Theodore Luoma @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue, 2015-05-31 14:43:17
Brisket was very good, ribs were average.
kyle craven @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue, 2015-05-13 16:35:12
Decent brisket and ribs. The sausage needed a sauce. Overall good experience.
Gene White @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue, 2015-03-21 19:09:45
Cool little place, quintessential small town joint. Ribs - tremendous flavor of smoke with a touch of sweetness. Terrifically done as they were tender but clung nicely to the bone. Brisket - outstanding. Great smoke with just enough salt for flavor. Nothing overpowering, just tender, smokey goodness throughout. I now see why this gets dubbed best in easy Texas. Nothing keeping it from being an A in my book!
Scott Jarvis @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbeque, 2014-08-20 18:47:26
Cool little place, quintessential small town joint. Ribs - tremendous flavor of smoke with a touch of sweetness. Terrifically done as they were tender but clung nicely to the bone. Brisket - outstanding. Great smoke with just enough salt for flavor. Nothing overpowering, just tender, smokey goodness throughout. I now see why this gets dubbed best in easy Texas. Nothing keeping it from being an A in my book!
Scott Jarvis @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbeque, 2014-08-20 18:47:26
Perfect brisket. Moist, tender, melt in your mouth. Smoke, meat, salt and pepper. Get there early if you want something other than brisket. They were sold out of ribs, turkey and sausage by 1:30. They were slammed the day we were here so we had to bus our own tables to have a seat...the only blemish on an otherwise perfect meal.
Marcy Newman @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbeque, 2014-05-18 15:22:43
Good brisket--thick moist slices. Crust was thin and not crunchy with less smoke layers than you see in central Texas BBQ. Sausage had a great taste/consistency even without the snap of skin. Potato salad--good, homemade. BBQ beans...ho-hum, canned maybe? 2 meat plate is a lot to eat. 1/2 swamp fries will be a to-go! Overall a good stop!
bbqueen @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbeque, 2013-11-14 16:24:26
One of best in all of Texas. Stands out even more in East Texas.
Robert Lerma @ Joseph’s Riverport Barbeque, 2013-06-28 18:55:50
More Buzz →

Review

TM_JRiverpointSign

May 15, 2013

A devastating fire in 2012 destroyed all but the thin brick facade of this joint, which faces Polk Street in downtown Jefferson. But once the flames were extinguished, owner and pitmaster Stephen Joseph started rebuilding, and seven months later he was christening the new Bewley smoker. The refurbished interior is now decorated with all manner of farm implements and just enough but not too many mounted animal heads. Place your order at the far end of a long dining room, which is filled with large communal tables and folding chairs.

Meats are sliced in the kitchen, but the meat cutters are within shouting distance if you have special requests. A generous three-meat plate should be more than enough, but they sell by the pound here, so it just seemed more proper to get a sampling of the entire menu of meats. Joseph’s offers a welcome respite from the unfortunate regional practice of trimming away all the fat and crust from a brisket and serving it gray and sauce-drenched—all the goodness is left on here, and sauce is unnecessary. A stout black crust held just the right amount of seasoning, and a layer of buttery fat added silkiness to the already moist slices. Pork ribs occupy the sweeter end of the spectrum, with a vinegar-and-mustard-based finishing glaze that gets its sweetness from brown sugar. They’re cooked well, with juicy meat that comes easily away from the bone. The sausage from Kountry Boys had a solid kick of spices and a good snap. The skin on the chicken lacked crunch, while the turkey had formed an odd thin “skin” of its own (Joseph said he struggled with getting the breasts done before the unfortunate surface texture developed). In both cases the meat beneath was delectable, with the right level of salt. This is barbecue that’s on another level from most of what can be found in this part of the state. 

Comments

1 Comment

  • Charles & Barbara Webb says:

    We have been driving an hour from Shreveport to Jefferson to eat at Josephs Riverport since 1994. Undoubtedly the best ribs anywhere. But do t forget the chopped beef sandwiches that are freshly chopped for each order, or the outstanding hamburgers, sweet potato fries & fried okra ! Add the great sauce as needed !
    Truly World Class service tucked away in an awesome town off the beaten path.

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