My parents came to visit us for the week after Christmas, so we decided to head up to Asheville. We intended to go to the Grove Park Inn to see National Gingerbread House Competition entries. Upon arrival, though, we found out they weren’t letting people in since the hotel was full, so we were left to scavenge for food. We came across Luella’s Bar-B-Que on Merriman Avenue, which had good Yelp reviews, and decided to head in.

The restaurant was decorated pretty typically for a barbecue joint - maybe a little more nicely decorated than normal, but nothing to write home about. The smell, though, was phenomenal. So many different types of meat were clearly combining with smoke to generate an otherworldly aroma. We glanced at the menu, saw that we needed to order at the counter, and knew we’d need to sit and get our bearings first.

My son and I decided to share the 2 meat platter - two meats of our choice (smoked turkey and pulled pork), two sides (fried okra and mac and cheese), and hushpuppies.

The pulled pork was good - like you’d expect from any barbecue place in the South. The fried okra was also very typical of what you’d normally find. I’ll never knock a place for having great, traditional food.

That turkey, though. It was perfectly cooked - amazingly tender and juicy - and it had an herby flavor that was really distinctive. I really enjoyed it. The mac and cheese was also outstanding - very creamy, with sharp cheddar in it to really bring out the cheesiness. The hush puppies were also outstanding. They were the elongated variety, not the round balls my grandparents always made when I was growing up, but they were delicious and perfectly cooked according to my Dad.

I’d definitely go back to Luella’s. They were running a special sandwich with smoked turkey and pimento cheese on it that sounded pretty perfect, and I’m hoping I can catch it some other time. They had quite a few beers on tap that I’d like to check out too.