A t-shirt on an employee at Leatha’s Bar-B-Que Inn read, “Muddy Waters invented the electric guitar, Mrs. Leatha invented barbecue.” Although it is doubtful Mrs. Leatha invented barbecue, she just may have perfected it!
Be prepared to have difficulty finding Mrs. Leatha’s, but this place is worth getting a little lost for. It is located behind an RV dealership on busy US-98 west of Hattiesburg. The first thing you see when you get past the RVs is a building with lots of wood and smoke pouring out of the vent in the roof. This is what I want to see at a BBQ parlor. The restaurant is in a separate old building next door.
You can get beef, chicken, and turkey, but Mississippi is pork country, so I stuck with that. The ribs are baby backs and are served heavily sauced, with the tender meat easily separating from the bone. The incredibly moist pulled pork came with only a modicum of sweet, thin sauce, which really allows you to enjoy the porky flavor. As good as the meat is, the sides are even better. The coleslaw is fresh and crisp, with a solid mustard taste. The spectacular potato salad uses large chunks of skin-on potatoes and is even more mustardy. I didn’t try the hand-cut fries, but what I saw on the table next to me looked plenty good enough for sampling on the next visit.
Service is friendly and prompt. When I got up to get a to-go box for the very little amount of food I had left, the overly efficient busboy threw the food out. Despite my protests, they replaced the entire order.