Monday, July 25, 2011

Baby Back Shak

DALLAS: Baby Back Shak
1800 S Akard St
Dallas, TX 75215
Open M-Thur 11-6, F-Sat 11-7

Update: It's called the 'Shak Platter'. Four meats; two sides; $14. With the Shak Platter, Baby Back Shak just might have the best BBQ deal in town. I may not be the first to write about it, but this was my first time trying it. To make matter even cheaper, they took 10% off because I had the Q Card, and my drink was free because I follow them on Twitter. Unlike the two and three meat platters where you can choose your meat, this plate comes with brisket, sausage, chicken and those famous pork ribs. I can't leave the Shak beans off my order, and boudin offered as a side is hard to pass up as well.

It amazes me how good these ribs are, and just how bad the brisket is. The sliced beef is downright tough with ribbons of chewy fat. There isn't even a speck of smoky flavor to redeem this beef that lacks any flavor but salt. I don't expect greatness from the beef in a joint that bills itself at Memphis BBQ, but they could do better. On the other hand, I'm not sure how they could improve on the ribs I had on this day. Rather than giant spare ribs, they serve a more manageable size that are easier to handle, and easier to get tender. Talk about tender. There's no meat falling off the bone, but the moist rib meat comes easily from the bone with just a tug. Perfectly seasoned with a decent smoky kick, these made up for the brisket's failings. They also managed to smoke the boneless white meat chicken to a perfect juicy tenderness.

I don't have a clear recollection of ever having the sausage here, but it left a clear memory. It's a spicy sausage from Renko's in DeSoto, and the heat was just enough to perk it up, but not enough to call it a hot link. Boudin is from Zummo Meat Company in Beaumont. It's grilled rather than smoked, and I really enjoyed it. Evidently more than the folks at Boudin Link (yes, a website that rates boudin - I love it) they give this brand a C+. Despite their opinion, the boudin will make it on all of my future orders. While I enjoyed the chicken, the cornish hen from previous visits has a leg up, and I'll steer clear of brisket from here on out. Given the prices and quality, Baby Back Shak needs to find its way into my lunch plans more often.

Rating ***

2008: When you order the ribs here, you may expect a rack of the namesake baby backs, but you'll enjoy the spare ribs (the only rib they serve) just as well. These folks bill their 'cue as Memphis style, but it seems more of a mixture of Memphis and Texas style. Either way, this flat black brick building with the smoking pig painted on the side packs their small dining room full during the lunch rush. I ordered a 2-meat plate with sliced brisket and ribs along with their dynamite vinegar cole slaw and BBQ beans flecked with chunks of smoked brisket. The brisket was oddly served thin sliced with what must be a deli slicer. The meat was silky tender with a bold smoky crust, and nicely rendered fat around the edges. The flavor from the salt rub had punch, but was not overpowering. The ribs however, were at the other end of the tenderness scale, and could have used some more time in the smoker. This is par for the course with Memphis style 'cue which remains a little tough after grilling. Usually Memphis style ribs get all their flavor from the grill, but the crust on these ribs was formed with the smoker as evident from the pronounced smoke line. They had been very lightly sauced before they were grilled, and the resulting flavor was incredible. As I munched through the pile of meat, I praised the soul that married these two eminent styles of barbeque.

Baby Back Shaq on Urbanspoon


whargoul said...

I'm glad to see the Shak is finally starting to get some love and I think you hit the nail right on the head. I've tried their brisket twice and it has since remained off of my plate. For the money, you just can't beat the just can't beat the rib plate with Boudin and Green Beans.

Don O. said...

I love their Shak beans. One of my favorite sides.

Dustin said...

I need to get out to Dallas to try some of the BBQ. Here in Georgia from Houston looking for decent BBQ. Please send along any recommendations if you know of any.

Landry said...

Zummo's Boudin is probably the best that you can buy in/around Dallas, and imho the best Texas made boudin.

Once you try true Louisiana made Boudin, you know why Zummo's earned its C plus.

Solomon Wang said...

I just got done with the brisket here, and it was horrendous. The smoke ring was not pink, but rather this unattractive grey-brown that faded into the indistinguishable crust. Furthermore, some of the texture bordered on jerky.


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.