Monday, July 11, 2011

The Jerk Shack BBQ & Grill

DALLAS: The Jerk Shack BBQ & Grill
1912 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Dallas, TX 75215


Open M-F 11:30-7, Sat 11:30-8

It's not often that I encounter a fusion menu in my BBQ travels, but there it was right in front of me as I sat at the light at 175 and MLK in South Dallas. The Jerk Shack Caribbean and Texas Style BBQ & Grill is the full name, and the sign barely fits on this tiny storefront. Open since last November, they have not yet fixed the AC or gotten that credit card machine despite the Visa/Mastercard stickers on the door, so for now it's cash only. The menu is split between traditional Texas BBQ and Caribbean fare. This meant that rice & peas and fried plantains could saddle up beside my plate of brisket and ribs. I quenched my severe thirst with a Jamaican grapefruit 'Ting' soda.

I didn't have high expectations, but the brisket was well cooked. The meat was a bit dry, but plenty tender. The fat was nicely rendered, but was too generous on each slice. The faint smokiness on the brisket was stronger on the ribs that are first smoked, then fired on an open grill. A layer of sweet commercial sauce covered the meat, but the flavors came through well anyway. The ribs had good flavor, but could have been more tender. Both sides were a tasty escape from slaw and beans, and I would return for the jerk chicken wrap (not pictured).

After the meal I learned that they use a small off brand smoker similar to a Cookshack. John is a pitmaster with experience in Little Elm at a joint called "Famous BBQ". The only listing I could find was for the old Rick's Famous BBQ on the shores of Lake Lewisville, but if anyone out there has other knowledge of it, let me know. John going to need some refinement here to make the Jerk Shack famous for barbecue.

Rating **
The Jerk Shack on Urbanspoon

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Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.