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The Shed’s BBQ Guide:
On our way to the beautiful beaches of Orange Beach Alabama down on the Gulf Coast, we made it a point to stop at The Shed Barbecue and Blues Joint in Ocean Springs, MS. Just this year (2015) The Shed won the Memphis In May grand championship, smoking a whole hog in pit built right into an old classic Jeep Willys. When we went to the restaurant a few years ago, The Shed was still working their way up through the ranks in competition barbecue, and have been improving each year. We’d seen them on TV more than once and were eager to check out the ‘que, as well as the unique atmosphere.
The string of sheds decorated with Christmas lights and junkyard
memorabilia led right up to the banks of the water, where a floating platform staged a live band. While we enjoyed the music and ambience from the shore side, others watched with feet dangling over the side of a boat that had pulled up next to the stage. Although my Civil War era quality pictures didn’t really capture the ambience, the evening was quite an experience. Definitely go at night.
We really enjoyed ourselves, despite the fact that the barbecue was a slight disappointment. On the up side, meat was flavorful and tender and the sauce was tasty. What was missing was smoke flavor. I’ve seen owner Brad Orrison work his bbq magic on TV enough to know that he gets good smoke flavor. But keeping that kind of quality artisanship consistent in a restaurant is surely difficult, especially if he’s away competing or participating in TV shows. I can only document what we experienced. I expected to get the smoke flavor. I wanted it. I just didn’t get it there on that particular night. But we really enjoyed the overall experience and will be back for sure.
Here are a few notes about the ‘que:
- The ribs were tender and not at all dry. The meat held to the bone well enough to eat without falling apart, but tender enough to pull off easily.
- The shoulder that I sampled from the Blake’s sandwich was tender and juicy, but not mushy.
- The ribs lacked any noticeable smoke flavor.
- The shoulder had very slight smoke flavor-not enough for my taste. To be fair, I only had a small sample from my son’s plate.
- The ribs had a nicely developed and well-seasoned crust.
- The shoulder also had a well developed bark.
Sauce-A standard barbecue sauce with a nice sweet and tangy balance.
Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Tim Shirley