An underlying fiduciary responsibility I have as the caretaker of this blog is to seek out and discover new BBQ and boldy go, outside the city center. In the case of the Barbeque Shack I did the equivalent of a blind blog date. I saw a photo of some of their food on social media that looked interesting. I was surprised I had not heard of the place before and since it is not too far from CMH Griffin’s school year daycare I opted to give it a try without any significant research other than the address. This being said, I would not typically write a post about such a place based on one trip but since it shows great promise but more importantly because it is in suburban sprawl, I’m asking you, my core handful of loyal followers to give this place a try as well and then add your comments to this post so we have a definitive analysis of this place.
Taking a quick look at the menu online, I place a carry out order for the following: Lunch Special – 2 Brisket sliders with mac and cheese and green beans, 1/2 rack of St. Louis style ribs, side of cole slaw, side of baked beans and bourbon bread pudding. They gave me a pick up time 30 minutes in the future which is great because that is drive time with a few minutes factored in to load a car seat. This place is hard to find. It is buried between a Home Depot and a Wendy’s that has at least two if not three drive thru lanes. When I finally figured out where I was and where it might be this is what I saw.
The shack is indeed a shack. It may have been a Rallys or a coffee to go business at some point. If you are old enough to recall Fotomat, it is not much bigger than one of those. The building is partially obscured by a small tree. It is drive thru / window ordering only but it does have a small shed nearby and several picnic tables on the periphery for dining. While I was waiting a few cars deep in the drive thru queue, I spied a woman wandering the parking lot with a bewildered look on her face but the determination of an Old Testament Jew in the desert. She approached me in my car and asked if one could order without a ca? I told her it looked like drive thru only but good luck. She then approached a window, placed an order and was gone before I became the second card in line.
When I did arrive to the window I was pleasantly surprised to find that my order was 10% less in price than I was quoted because they we too busy when taking my order to explain the discount process to me. I was then asked if I wanted sweet potatoes. I replied that I had not ordered any and they said that was fine, did I still want them. Since is was a family sized looking serving and free I said YES. After I paid they pointed out on my receipt that the next order is 10% off if over $20 if I bring my receipt back with me. So far, all good. Upon arrival back home my research began.
The first to be sampled was the lunch special. The brisket sliders were good and unexpectedly on French style bread which helped the sandwich hold up to the sauce and the meat. The mac and cheese was better than average. The green beans were above average too (the best green beans in town can be found at Smokehouse Brewing in case you were wondering). So far a promising place but I was not blown away yet.
Next the ribs. I’m not sure they meet all of the requirements for St. Louis style ribs but they were good. They were sauced properly (neither too little nor too much sauce – the Goldilocks zone). The meat was tender pulling easily from the bone. I wonder if I received the (on the menu) Ohio style ribs instead – which is a term I have never encountered. So still promising but not yet giving up on Ray Ray’s.
I tried the cole slaw. Also good but a bit too creamy than I prefer.
Next, I decided to take one small bite of the Bourbon Bread Pudding. The moment the first morsel connected with a taste bud I was exceedingly pleased. Most BBQ places have easy deserts as an afterthought. This bread pudding tasted like someone’s great, great grand-mammy made it. It is true perfection mixing great flavor with moistness but not over saturated with any one flavor. At $4, the large serving is a bargain and well worth trip for that alone.
I then back tracked to my previous foods, sampling each again and still having good thoughts about the items when I recalled I still had some untasted baked beans. Baked beans are almost always a horrible disappointment at any place I encounter them. Most places add a bunch of unneeded junk to them or try to fancy them up so that the other ingredients take away for the core ingredient – the lowly bean. My baseline for baked beans can be found in a can, Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans are my go to. They are good by themselves but with just a touch of gourmanding, they can be out of this world tasty. The BBQ shack baked beans exceeded my wildest dreams. While not impressive looking enough to warrant a photograph they were nonetheless great. The sauce was pleasant, neither over or under favored and the only additives were some slow cooked meats – some small bits of shredded brisket and perhaps a few bits of bacon. These are now the local gold standard for baked beans.
And then on to my free sweet potatoes. I had even lower expectations for these but again, I was surprised beyond comprehension. I might rename these holiday style sweet potatoes. Think about the best Thanksgiving sweet potatoes you have ever had – these are better. I can’t fully articulate how, other than saying the consistently is perfect and the taste has just enough sweetness to it to aid digestion.
The BBQ warrants additional investigation which will not happen for me until Fall 2016 at the earliest. But in the meantime as you call all help me out with your own research so add your comments to this post. And when you get your order, please drop off the following at my house: the largest serving of baked beans they will pass through the window and the same for the sweet potatoes and the bourbon bread pudding
Barbeque (BBQ) Shack
5755 Maxtown Rd, Westerville, OH 43082