Phantom Gourmet: Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q In Nashua

NASHUA, NH – With meats smoked slow and low, and sandwiches stacked up high, you will find it hard not to drool at Willie Jewell’s. Located in Nashua, New Hampshire Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q is a small but growing national chain, with outlets in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Local owners Kevin and Tori Chartrand visited the restaurant on a trip to Florida, and they immediately felt the need to bring this southern staple up north.

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“I’ve always been someone who loves food, and barbecue is always a passion of mine, and something that I thought they were lacking up in this area,” Kevin said. “The way it works is, customers come in and order over the counter, and when the food’s ready, we call your name and bring the food right out to you.”

The restaurant gets its name from a real longtime employee, Willie Jewell. She was a dedicated member of the restaurant group, who provided many of the recipes on the menu, and the southern charm reflected in the service.

“She worked her whole life for the restaurant,” Kevin explained. “Very quick witted person and came to the table with a lot of recipes that we still use to this day. As a tribute to her, we named this new concept after her.”

All of the food is made the way Willie would have wanted it.

“We smoke all of our meats from scratch here, personally dry rub here, and we throw it in the smoker and cook it for hours upon hours,” Kevin said. “It’s getting it to that right point where, it’s got that smoky flavor and it’s nice and moist and ready to be served.”

When it’s served, you can have it as-is, or slather it up with sauce from Willie Jewel’s warm sauce bar.

“We don’t put any actually barbecue sauce on our meats, so people are able to walk over to our warm sauce bar,” Tori explained. “We have a hot momma sauce. We have a Hickory Heaven barbecue sauce. We have Low Country Gold, which is more your mustard-based, and then our Sweet and Sassy, which gives it a little bit of tangy and sweet taste.”

Ribs at Willie Jewell's (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Ribs at Willie Jewell’s (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

They all work well on all of Willie’s specialties, whether it’s the ultra-moist half chicken, the flavor-packed pulled pork, juicy brisket, or smoky sliced turkey. While you are at Willie’s, you have to try a slab of the ribs.

“Our St. Louis ribs are a pork rib, and they’re just fall off the bone delicious,” Kevin promised. “To me, a good rib is when you bite into it, it’s pulling right off the bone.”

For more of that satisfying smoke, get yourself an order of wings.

Wings at Willie Jewell's (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Wings at Willie Jewell’s (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“We rub them down with our chicken rub, and then we actually pop them into the smoker for about an hour and a half. Pull them out, and upon serving we usually dunk them into a fryer and crisp them up a little bit, and then we can toss them in any of our signature sauces or Buffalo sauce,” said Kevin.

Other appetizers include a platter of oversized onion rings, and a pile of Country Corn Fritters.

“Country corn fritter is a deep-fried ball of sweet corn,” Kevin described. “It’s more like a hush puppy. It’s kind of in that same family.”

Corn fritters at Willie Jewell's (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Corn fritters at Willie Jewell’s (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“They are a little slice of heaven,” Tori added. “When people come in who are from down south, it’s like a little piece of home for them.”

The sandwich section of the menu is where you can really go hog wild, whether you order the Barnyard Burger topped with pulled pork and cheddar; the Bird Dog stacked high with sliced turkey and smoked sausage; or something called the Slawpy Pig.

“Slawpy Pig is a heaping pile of our pulled pork on top of one of our bulky rolls, and we put a pile of homemade coleslaw right on top of that,” described Kevin. “You get that smoky flavor from the pork coming through, but then you get that sweet crunch from the coleslaw. It gives it a nice little kick to the flavor of the whole sandwich.”

For the ultimate in oink, nothing beats the Bo-Hawg.

Bo-Hawg at Willie Jewell's (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Bo-Hawg at Willie Jewell’s (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“A Bo-Hawg is actually a pork sandwich, but we top it with a slice of cheddar cheese, and then we split butterfly a piece of our smoked sausage and lay it on top,” said Kevin. “You get a nice complement of different flavors, and it just pairs off really well together.”

For dessert, there’s the fresh Peach Cobbler or Tori’s favorite – the creamy dreamy Banana Pudding.

“My grandmother actually used to make banana pudding. When I learned that it was on the menu, I was taken right back to those days. It’s vanilla pudding with fresh bananas and some cool whip all mixed together, made fresh in-house. It’s really hard for me to not eat it here every single day.”

Banana pudding at Willie Jewell's (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Banana pudding at Willie Jewell’s (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

No matter what you come to Willie Jewell’s for, these owners would like you to leave satisfied, with a smile.

“We want our customers to have an exceptional experience here and just to be happy,” Tori said. “We have fun here at work. We want them to have fun. We actually wake up and look forward to coming here every single day.”

You can find Willie Jewell’s at 569 Amherst Street in Nashua, New Hampshire, and online at williejewells.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.

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