Thursday, December 12, 2013
Meshack's Bar-Be-Que Shack (Garland, TX)
Mid-week barbecue is always a bit of an elusive luxury for me, so today I took full advantage of my open schedule and headed to Garland in search of more top tier meat. Meshack's has been in operation since 2009, yet somehow this was my first visit. It's one of the only barbecue joints in the DFW metroplex that opens before 11:00am, which makes it the perfect pick for a carnivorous brunch.
This aptly-named joint is quite literally a shack. Some of the more humble and rustic barbecue spots lack plates and/or utensils, but here you won't even find tables or chairs, and the only menu is painted onto the outer wall. Despite its meager appearance, Meshack's has been churning out 'que delicious enough make Texas Monthly's list of "Top 50 BBQ Joints" for 2013, and it's consistently listed as one of D Magazine's "D Best" for barbecue. Needless to say, I was quite eager to try things out for myself.
A to-go order seemed to be the only option, but I was ok with that. I hungrily ordered a three-meat Mixed Dinner of ribs, sliced beef, and links. Their dinner plates automatically come with potato salad and baked beans, and there's no room to negotiation since those are the only side dishes available. When asked, I opted for Meshack's original barbecue sauce over the spicy variety. It's not that I mind a little heat, but I didn't want anything to overtake the meat's intended flavors. Fortunately, I also had my wits about me enough to ask for sauce on the side.
Barbecue in hand, I anxiously made my way home to unwrap what would undoubtedly be a delicious meal. The same amazing aroma that made the wait in line somewhat enjoyable also made the drive back to Uptown almost unbearable. I found myself glancing down at my smoky passenger every few minutes and licking my lips.
The potato salad looked a little like lumpy instant mashed potatoes, with no visible spices or veggies. That being said, it was interestingly sweet and had more of a crunch than I expected. It certainly wasn't the usual German-style potato salad I'm used to, but it was still pretty tasty. Much like the potato salad, the baked beans also had a nice sweetness. Nothing about them really stood out, but they were a decent barbecue accompaniment nonetheless.
I started my meat trio with the hot links, which were really well done. The casings were perfectly snappy, though not overly so. All of the black pepper and garlic gave the sausage a great flavor, and there was a decent amount of heat to it too. Even though they weren't homemade (Smokey Denmark's from Austin), these links were rather excellent.
My brisket had a pronounced smoke ring and a dark black crust. The meat was very tender, despite being a leaner cut of meat. The small amount of fat I did find was rendered quite well. There was a good seasoning and plenty of smoke to boot. Although it wasn't needed, I tried the sauce for good measure. Theirs is a nice vinegar-based sauce with a slight sweetness that paired well with the brisket.
Last but not least, the ribs. These were probably my favorite of the three. They had a deep red smoke ring and some beautiful bark. The meat was really juicy and took little effort to pull off the bone, but there was enough retention to avoid the oft-encountered "falling-off-the-bone" nonsense. There was also a great spice blend in the crust and a great smoky flavor throughout. Too bad my order only came with four of these bad boys.
Meshack's had some pretty amazing barbecue, but it's a little far out of the way to become a regular stop of mine. I'm glad that I at least got to try it once before leaving The Big D. Well done.
Meshack's Bar-Be-Que Shack
240 E. Ave B
Garland, TX 75040