Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

BBQ at its best in Nelson, Wisconsin September 2, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 1:56 PM
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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.

You can't miss the vibrant exterior of B & B Barbeque in Nelson, Wisconsin.

You can’t miss the vibrant exterior of B & B Barbecue in Nelson, Wisconsin.

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.

Love this sign at the order counter.

Love this sign at the order counter.

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.

J & J features hickory smoked meats.

J & J features hickory smoked meats.

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.

My Southern BBQ Pork Sandwich served with savory baked beans and potato salad.

My generous Southern BBQ pork sandwich served with savory baked beans and potato salad.

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.

I love the unique and kitschy interior.

I love the unique and kitschy interior.

On that particular Thursday, a steady steam of customers stopped to dine in or carry out Styrofoam trays packed with BBQed goodness.

You'll find more than BBQed meat here.

You’ll find more than BBQed meat here.

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.

Walk past this sign and into the next room to enter the bar area. On the other side of that you will find a gift shop, Laura's Place.

Walk past this sign and into the next room to enter the bar area. On the other side of that you will find a gift shop, Laura’s Place.

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

 

17 Responses to “BBQ at its best in Nelson, Wisconsin”

  1. Husband Day Care Center – ha! – love it – pull up a stool! Just had the Best of the West Rib Cook Off and Fest here in town. Too crowded for our taste, so hubbie smoked his own slab of ribs on the ugly drum smoker he made a few years back – he knows how to cook some B-B-Q – YUM 🙂 Great Captures – love all the signage!

  2. Jackie Says:

    Yum, looks delicious! We have been t Nelson and visited the cheese shop, cant remember the name of it, but the cheese curds were amazing!

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    Will have to take a drive that direction since it’s so close!!!! No excuses, hmmmm??? We love “good” BBQ!! Your choice would be mine……Tom would try the ribs.

  4. Dan Traun Says:

    This establishment is pretty darn tasty. Their pulled pork is mighty fine – as is their mustard sauce. For a future trip to Nelson, I recommend the Stone Barn Pizza. I promise you will not be disappointing; I know you are a fan of pizza.

  5. hotlyspiced Says:

    This restaurant looks gorgeous. It’s so quaint and I love the signs and all the memorabilia. Your lunch looks really yummy xx

  6. Beth Ann Says:

    I am all about the BBQ and had some fabulous BBQ this weekend at the wedding provided by Papa Jack who was a very fun guy. This looks like a fabulous and interesting place and I totally agree with the walk up counter thing—-I like to be able to have a bit of time to ponder and select and this style always makes me limit my pondering time. 🙂


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