SEPTEMBER 19 - 22, 2024

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Paul Pettefer

Pitmaster & Chef,

Paul's Rib Shack Barbecue

“I wonder if I could cook ribs?” Paul Pettefer thought this to himself one day back in 2013.

So the Lake Charles native and entrepreneur smoked some ribs.

Then he smoked more ribs.

Soon enough, he was smoking ribs every weekend and giving away the spoils to his friends and neighbors. They would line up to visit eat and laugh. So many people wanted in on the fun, that Paul had to start keeping a list on his phone of people to invite to the next cookout, he called it The Rib List.

That Rib List soon outgrew the Driveway Parties and emerged as a bright red food truck. On March 17, 2017 at Live at the Lakefront, the Rib List got a name, Paul’s Rib Shack Barbecue, and Paul got a new title: the Bishop of BBQ.

It wasn’t just about the cooking and the vending, though. From the beginning, Paul’s purpose with barbecue was to unite the community. If you know Paul at all you know that he loves Jesus and he loves people. He cooked for local elementary schools and church events, like TH Watkins, Sale Street Baptist Church (Paul’s home church), and Family and Youth Counseling Agency. Barbecue was the avenue for friend making, and it was only getting bigger.

The Rib List soon outgrew the foodtruck and got an address, 4800 Nelson Rd. After a long year of construction, during which Paul was often found stringing lights on the magnificent oaks in the back until 2 a.m., Paul’s Rib Shack Barbecue opened as a restaurant on Oct 12, 2019. It was a team effort, including the work of Pitmaster Silas Washington who is the mastermind behind many dishes and processes.

Paul and the crew had great fun, but 2020 provided some extra challenges. When COVID was in full swing, the restaurant adapted to curbside and sales hardly skipped a step. When Laura tore through Lake Charles, Paul, Silas, and more came back days later to start serving food to the community in the Nina P’s parking lot. Fifteen days after the storm, the restaurant opened back up, one of the first establishments back after the storm.

Since 2020, Paul and his crew have enjoyed new barbecue fun, like getting draft beer and a stage in #TheBackyard, throwing fun parties and events at their place, and developing a crew, fan base, and community that is excited about barbecue and perhaps more excited about each other.

Paul’s care for the community is evident in every rib that he serves.

Welcome to the Rib List, y’all.