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Louisiana Eats: Beach Bums And Barbecue

Public Domain
Postcard view of the Bali Ha'i, a popular New Orleans Polynesian restaurant at Pontchartrain Beach that closed its doors in the 1980s.

For some, Louisiana summers mean oppressive heat and thick humidity. For others, it means backyard barbecues and ice cold cocktails! On this week's Louisiana Eats!, we bask in the sunshine as we look at locally produced rum, outdoor grilling, and the recent resurgence of interest Tiki cocktails.

Credit Chris Kehoe
Barrels of rum stored at the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery.

We begin with a tour the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery where artist James Michalopoulos has been using Louisiana sugarcane to handcraft small batches of rum since 1995. We explore the facility, formerly a 150-year-old cotton warehouse, and sample their three signature rums.

Then, we speak with pitmaster and food writer Colleen Rush, who has been setting the world of backyard barbeque on fire. Along with co-author Gary Wiviott, the Louisiana native has created a comprehensive guide to barbecue and charcoal cooking techniques in their latest book, Low & Slow 2: The Art of Barbecue, Smoke-Roasting, and Basic Curing.

Finally, Jeff "Beachbum" Berry and Chef Chris Shortall of Latitude 29 explain why Tiki is all the rage again these days. Get out those Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts as we party Polynesian-style on this week's Louisiana Eats!

Red Beans & Rice Salad
Serves 4

Credit Poppy Tooker
Red Beans & Rice Salad

  • 2 cups cooked rice (brown or white)
  • 1 cup canned red beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium Creole tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste


  • 3 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 2 tablespoons cane vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Whisk together Creole mustard and cane vinegar. Drizzle in olive oil, whisking continuously.
Mix together rice, red beans, celery, bell pepper, green onions and Creole tomato. Add the dressing and toss together. Sprinkle on parsley and season with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made 24 hours in advance.

Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.