Fast Break: Fresh Vibes and Familiar Barbecue at TJ Ribs

Originally posted on 225 Magazine December 6, 2017
By: Kaci Yoder
Photography by: Raegan Labat


Growing up in Baton Rouge, more than one Saturday night culminated in piling into the family Suburban and hopping on I-10 for a barbecue feast at TJ Ribs.

Everything from the veritable museum of sports memorabilia at the entrance to the waiter scrawling his name upside down in crayon on the paper tablecloth to the baby back ribs ready in a matter of minutes was part of the TJ Ribs experience. I always considered it a local institution growing up: iconic and unchangeable.

A whole pig roasting on a spit at TJ Ribs

So it’s a little strange to set foot inside the Acadian Thruway location now—the one from my childhood—since the restaurant overhauled its interior and its offerings this summer. The first thing that hits you is the smell of smoke, like you’re stepping into a lodge. The source: an open fire cochon de lait set up right in the center of the restaurant near the entrance, where Billy Cannon’s Heisman trophy used to spin. Instead of a trophy slowly rotating, there’s a whole pig on a spit, roasted daily and available to order. On Sundays, the same spot now offers up prime rib.

Additional seating and a brighter atmosphere have refreshed the old building, and the whole package is a push toward a slightly more upscale vibe. The waiter’s crayon signature on the table is the same, but the squeeze bottles of barbecue sauce are now pourable glass bottles, with a third garlic Sriracha option joining the classic mild and hot varieties. The bar is still airing all the sports anyone could want on big screens, but with the addition of a new draft beer system and locally focused and seasonal beer menus.

For lunch, I opted for some classics and a bit of something new: baby back ribs with TJ’s signature Cajun Mojos side and a new option, the kale salad. The Mojos are a reliable favorite—spicy, crispy, fried potatoes—but I’m intrigued by the kale salad, something that would never have been served here when I was a kid. Turns out it’s springy and surprisingly light, tossed with quinoa, feta and a house dijon vinaigrette. And the ribs? Those are as good as I remember: a little smoky, crisp on the outside, tender enough to fall off the bone easily. I went with my usual hot sauce, but the garlic Sriracha sauce shouldn’t be overlooked—it has a pleasantly zingy kick.

After all these years, TJ Ribs is jumping back into a shifting culinary scene in Baton Rouge filled with trendy new eateries and contemporary menus. This reboot may just get them back in the game.


50% Back on Gift Cards December 9th

TJ Ribs is giving 50% back on all gift card purchases this Saturday, December 9th. Our “Green Saturday” event will run all day Saturday at our three locations and online. When you purchase a $30, $50, or $100 gift card on December 9th, you will get $15, $25, or $50 back in promotional gift cards… Continue Reading

Win a $1,000 Local Shopping Spree

It’s that time of year again! The TJ Ribs restaurants are giving away $1,000 shopping sprees in each of our communities. We will select one winner in each of our three communities to win ten $100 gift cards from local businesses. How to enter: To enter, follow one of our Facebook pages, then like or… Continue Reading

Perfecting Cochon de Lait with John Folse

We invite you to come try our new John Folse inspired cochon de lait at our Acadian Thruway location. We slow-roast a suckling pig over a pecan wood fire everyday in the middle of the restaurant and serve it starting around 5:00pm. Come celebrate our Louisiana culinary heritage! Ever since pigs were domesticated in what… Continue Reading

Help TJ Ribs Geaux Pink

October is a busy month at TJ Ribs. Being all sports, all the time means our schedules are packed with events and our TV’s are constantly being flipped from one channel to the next.  But in October there is one thing bigger than any sport — Breast Cancer Awareness.  And so this year we geaux-ing… Continue Reading

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It’s that time of year. Our Tigers become headline news again and there isn’t anything holding us back from chanting ‘Geaux Tigers’ all day long! TJ Ribs has been the proud host of the Coach O. shows and while we were heartbroken to not host the first three, we couldn’t be more excited for the… Continue Reading

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TJ Ribs prides itself on being a welcoming, family friendly restaurant. Want to know the best part of joining us for Legendary Louisiana BBQ on Tuesdays? It’s kids night! TJ Ribs on Siegen Lane offers free Sloppy Joes’ for kids, free tie dye craft project (t-shirt included), and 1/2 off the kids menu every Tuesday… Continue Reading

The Next Generation of TJ Ribs on Acadian

TJ Ribs on Acadian will be closed June 27th – mid August 2017 for renovations. Visit our other locations on Siegen Lane and in Prairieville. For 31 years TJ Ribs has been fortunate to be part of the Baton Rouge community. When the restaurant opened, Bill Arnspargar was completing his football career at LSU, Dale… Continue Reading