WISCONSIN MAY BE KNOWN for its cheese. But one small Wisconsin town is noted for both its cheese and BBQ. That would be Nelson, Wisconsin, across the Mississippi River from Wabasha, Minnesota.
Nelson Cheese Factory serves as a destination for Wisconsin and imported cheeses.
And just down the street at 208 N. Main, you’ll find J & J Barbecue, a mom-and-pop restaurant serving Southern style BBQ that’s mouth-watering delicious.
Owners Jim and Laura Grandy, Minnesota natives who once lived in South Carolina, have perfected their smoked meats and their specialty mustard-based BBQ sauce.
The tantalizing smokey aroma will draw you off the highway into this one-of-a-kind joint as much as the BBQ and mustard hue exterior and signage promising the best ribs on the river.
While my husband and I didn’t try the ribs on a recent lunch stop, I ordered the Southern BBQ pork sandwich and found it simply superb. Randy chose a wrap—Carolina pulled pork with blue ribbon coleslaw tucked inside—a choice I found tasty, but he didn’t. I wondered why he was ordering a wrap because that isn’t his style and he doesn’t like coleslaw. But he felt pressured to order at the walk-up counter, the one negative part of our dining experience. When you’re new to a restaurant, you need time to study the posted menu.
On that particular Thursday, a steady steam of customers stopped to dine in or carry out Styrofoam trays packed with BBQed goodness.
I’d highly recommend J & J BBQ. Just, please, don’t do as one grandma, overheard asking her grandson, “Would you like the chicken tenders or a hot dog?” I wish she’d encouraged him to try the fabulous BBQ.
FYI: J & J Barbecue is open Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling