I think it's fair to say Texas has more variations in its barbecue styles than any other state. And more disagreements about them.
Smoke Daddy's Review of Meshacks Bar-B-Que Shack
Smoke Daddy, XO, Gus, and Jack thought the hot link was excellent. Ribs and beans were good, with the ribs narrowly missing an excellent mark. We were disappointed that we arrived too late to try the sliced brisket and cobbler.
This is just the type of joint that our BBQ Tours crew loves: Family owned/operated; No pretense; Making authentic barbecue everyday, and complementing it with homemade sides/desserts. We will be back!
- Ribs - Bark was a bit tough, but the meat underneath was worthy of the effort. These ribs have good smoke and are fully rendered. The meat is tender and juicy... but very salty. Salt from rub has penetrated through the meat, making the pork flavor take a back seat to the salt. These small ribs may have been over-rubbed (and likely kept warm for some time). They were good, but missed greatness today.
- Hot Link - Delicious. This Smokey Denmark sausage is enhanced by the pitmaster's efforts. XO feels that it is in the same league as Drexler's house-made links. Gus calls it "meat candy". It is the best meat we sample here today.
- Chopped Brisket - It is obvious that Travis and Donna are frugal in their ways, and come from a 'waste not, want not' tradition. However, there were too many chunks of subcutaneous (surface) fat included in this mixture. Instead of "chopped beef", our tray resembled "chopped fat with beef". No rating given.
- Beans - These were a solid version of baked beans. A meaty mixture with a thick & sweet sauce.
- Potato Salad - Puree/Mashed style and very sweet. There were some soft 'tater chunks, but other than that, we could have inserted a straw and experienced our first potato milkshake. Kind of weird...Not bad...but very different. Gus feels that if there were a potato salad competition, this one would receive a 'participation' award.
- Sauce - The hot and mild sauce shared the same base. Relatively thin, with tomato and vinegar, the sauce nicely complimented both pork and beef... without covering the meat flavors.
- Meshack is Donna's maiden name, and her Dad ran 4 Meshack's bbq joints when she was growing up. She and Travis kept the Garland location running until 1996. After closing the store and spending some time working other jobs, they decided to give it another try in 2009.
- The location is somewhat difficult to find, even if you are searching for it.
- Service is not fast, but it does seem efficient. And prices are reasonable.
- It is more of a barbecue "stand" than a shack or joint. There is no inside. No restrooms. Customers order at the window, and either 1) take bbq "to-go"; 2) eat inside their cars; or 3) eat on their tailgate. We choose option #3.
- Travis is using pecan to stoke his cooker, and the woodpile is front and center. The color and flavor of the ribs seem to indicate that he is running a compact and clean fire... but since it was lunchtime, we didn't bother him for a tour.
- This place FEELS like a real barbecue joint... and it is.