By: Bob Gourley
It has been awhile since there has been a locally-owned BBQ place in Henderson but now there is, and you should get there as soon as possible. Bell’s BBQ is the inspiration of Gourmet Chef John Bell. Even though it has only been open for a month or so, the place is already firing on all cylinders.
Front and center of course is the meat. Tender brisket is hickory smoked for 14 hours giving it a genuine smoky flavor that blends well with the sides. Pulled chicken, pork and pork belly are also available. St. Louis ribs ($14.95/$21.95) are popular along with baby back loin ribs. Well-stacked plates are available with two sides, Texas toast and special house-made pickles that add some tartness to the proceedings.
Sides generally make or break a BBQ spot and the roster here is a winner. Smashed potatoes are prepared with smoke-roasted garlic. Okra Fries can be dipped in homemade ranch dressing. Red beans and rice are a nod to New Orleans and BBQ beans are a nice blend of peppers, onions and brisket. The mashed yams offer a truly different take on a classic dish. Not only is brown butter used but vanilla gives them a unique flavor. What BBQ place would be complete without mac and cheese? This version features aged cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan. Deviled Egg Potato Salad is another hit. A slight, smoky flavor is a welcome surprise. Other sides to ponder include cheese grits, crispy brussels sprouts and a couple of salads.
Sandwiches include Catfish Filet ($9.25) that can be ordered with salt and pepper crust or BBQ spice that is rubbed with BBQ tartar sauce. Pulled BBQ Rib is topped with cole slaw and crispy onions. The bread they use for all of the sandwiches and the Texas toast is thick and delicious.
They also offer non barbecue items like Chicken N’ Waffles ($12.95) with custom piggy sauce. Cameron’s Southern Fried Chicken Breast Strips come with two sides, toasts and pickles.
The variety of desserts found at most BBQ places is limited but not here. Sweet Jars ($4.95) are creative. Served in Mason-type containers, Caramelized Banana Pudding is constructed with wafers, bananas and crème. Aunt Linda’s Red Velvet cake is filled with chocolate cream cheese icing, candied pecans and raspberry syrup. Crème Brulee is another option. The line-up changes daily but a chalkboard announces the fare as you make your up to the counter.
A kids menu will keep them happy. Jr. BBQ includes a choice of pulled pork, chicken or chopped brisket. Mini Corn Dogs can be ordered along with a grilled cheese sandwich. Rotini pasta is also available. All entrees are priced at $6.95 and come with a side, fountain drink or juice box.
They have a nice selection of beverages including sweet tea, beer and wine.
BBQ places dot the Vegas valley. Most of them are chains and in their own way are pleasant enough. But Bell’s sets the tone, locally owned and creative. Hopefully Henderson residents will make it a regular experience for years to come.
Bell’s BBQ, Open every day beginning at 11:00AM for lunch and dinner. 10895 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 130, Henderson (702) 896-BELL. www.bellsbarbecue.com.