For lunch yesterday, I got a craving for BBQ. I did not really feel like fighting the crowds at Mac’s Speed Shop today, no matter how good the ‘cue is. After doing some research, I found Shane’s Rib Shack, which is fairly close to my office.
Shane’s Rib Shack is a chain BBQ restaurant, with restaurants in 14 states, primarily in the southeastern United States. There are 2 Charlotte-area locations: near Northlake Mall and the University area. I went to the one in the University area. When I arrive, I find that it’s located in a “shopping center”.
It just so happens that the lunch special was their smothered pork sandwich with a side, so that is what I ordered. For my side, I chose Brunswick stew. I place my order and grab a seat. The first thing I notice is that they have multiple sauces available. Naturally, I had to give them a shot.
All of the sauces were primarily tomato-based. The original sauce (on the far left in the photo) had a bold but not overpowering flavor. I could taste hints of mustard and chili powder in the sauce. The hot sauce (far right in the photo) had essentially the same flavor profiles as the original, but it also had some back heat. My favorite out of the three was the spicy sauce (middle in the photo). It contained the bold flavors of the original sauce and the back heat of the hot sauce while adding a level of complexity through what tasted like ground peppercorns. The sauces were not all that complicated and overwhelming, but they were solid. And sometimes solid is just what the doctor ordered.
Less than five minutes after ordering (and literally right after finishing the sauce tasting), my meal comes out. The first thing I notice is the size of the sandwich — it’s significantly larger than I expected. This is a plus! I was expecting a sandwich on a normal-sized bun. Instead, the bun was extra large (about 25% larger than a normal sandwich bun) and piled high with plenty of pork (along with some slaw).
The pork on the sandwich was pulled, with the pieces varying in size. There was a nice mixture of pork and “outside brown”. There was not a lot of smoke flavor in the meat, which was not a surprise. However, the pork was very moist, and I could actually taste the meat. I went ahead and added the spicy sauce to the sandwich and ate away. All in all, a solid sandwich.
After finishing off the sandwich, I moved to the Brunswick stew. At first glance, this did not resemble anything stew-ish at all. There were ample amounts of the pulled pork along with the other requisite ingredients that constitute Brunswick stew.
All in all, I found that the taste of this was solid too. If it was not for the portion size of the sandwich, I probably would say that the portion of the stew was a bit on the small side.
Overall, I would say that Shane’s Rib Shack (at least this particular location) is a safe choice when it comes to BBQ. For most people who may not be as picky about their BBQ, they will absolutely love it.