For Louis and Steffani Graham, running a grill restaurant as a couple means always having a partner who takes each other to the next level.
“We love cooking and we like the idea of working for ourselves,” said Steffani.
The couple serve smoked meat, chicken, sausage, pulled pork, tacos, and fish at Sho-Nuff Smokehouse Q, a grocery trailer on property just off Highway 11. They’re known for their pulled pork mac n cheese. One of their bestsellers is the 3 Lil Pigs Sandwich, filled with pork, bacon and sausage and garnished with homemade cucumber and coleslaw.
Jumbo turkey legs can also be cooked in the smoker.
The Grahams opened a smokehouse in 2012, but the restaurant in north Picayune closed in 2017. Instead, the couple began selling smoked meat and side dishes part-time during smoked meat and side dish festivals.
But in 2020 the Grahams decided to dive into the restaurant business all day again. They ordered a trailer in March and wanted to open it in May. Then the pandemic hit. The new location at 3 Bennett Apartment Rd lasted until October 2020. to officially open.
“There were so many delays that I didn’t think it was going to happen,” said Louis.
Their fresh start is going well, although customers from New Orleans, Gulfport, and Bogalusa are still finding they have reopened.
The couple’s talents go well together – Steffani usually cooks the side dishes while Louis smokes the meat.
“It’s amazing to have been married for 17 years and find that your wife can make some of the best homemade jiffy-mix cornbreads after all these years,” said Louis.
The couple bump their heads on occasion because they both want everything to be just right.
“It’s good to have someone pushing you,” said Louis.
Both come from families with a heritage of cooking. Steffani’s grandfather cooked professionally and she often found herself in the kitchen with him. Before the couple opened their own restaurant, they cooked for church fundraisers and Louis won barbecue competitions.
Louis is known for his brisket and has won competitions from the Kansas City Barbecue Society. He’s cooked so much brisket that it became second nature.
When he first cooked brisket, Louis was not familiar with the cut and undercooked it, so that it was “hard as shoe leather”. The next time he overcooked it so that the meat fell apart. He prayed for it and found a happy medium.
Owning a small business comes with challenges such as: B. learning new techniques without overworking yourself.
“As a small business owner in a town like Picayune, the population is not very big. You have to be able to trust people to come out,” said Louis.
Picayune people often leave town to spend disposable income, and customers are often less forgiving of mistakes in locally owned restaurants than large chains, Louis said.
“Your food has to be perfect … As a small business owner, there is no room for error.”
In the future, Graham plans to add chicken wings to his menu for even more variety.
The restaurant is open Wednesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.