The Shed’s not a fancy restaurant, as a matter of fact, it’s not a restaurant at all….it’s a full fledged JOINT….The Shed is an Experience, a Destination to enjoy. ShedHeds bring their families, sit around the bonfires, hug their kids, and eat the best darn BBQ on the bayou (of course it’s the only BBQ on the bayou)!
The first time I met Brad Orrison, one of the founders of The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint, was in 2010 during my excursion to Memphis In May. There are a few teams at Memphis in May that are considered institutions and few would deny The Shed is one of those teams.
The entire competition BBQ team from The Shed are great BBQ cooks, in their own right and genuinely nice people. The Shed team members aren’t all that much difference from most of the “big” teams, but what is different is Brad’s infectious smile and how it welcomes everyone into their “family.”
Two years later I found myself in Memphis again and this time I didn’t just meet Brad I got the chance to learn a few BBQ rib cooking tips from one of the truly great Memphis In May pitmasters. As a member of Kingsford’s Asswinement BBQ Competition Team I smoked ribs with my team mates and Brad Orrison along with other famous BBQ pitmasters gave us tips and suggestions to make our ribs better. The chance to have Brad, in his famous floppy straw hat, sitting at our table talking ribs and BBQ was a treat I won’t soon forget.
“Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but in the scheme of BBQ competitions we always win because we meet some of the greatest people in the world.” — Brad Orrison
Memphis In May 2013 starts this weekend and The Shed crew will be looking for a victory. Since I’ll staying in Rocklin I thought it would be a good time to take a look at one of the BBQ “spreads” sent to me recently by The Shed. If I can’t have Brad at my table this year at least I can have one of The Shed’s sauces there.
Chicken has been on our dinner table a lot lately. Mrs. Grail declared a couple of weeks ago that we’ve eaten too much red meat and needed to vary our diet a little. I figured as long as she didn’t want to turn me into a vegetarian I was okay with the idea.
Sweet sauces are my family’s type of sauce preference, while my sauce choices lean more towards the vinegar based sauces. I decided to go with the family’s preference with the “Original Southern Sweet Spread” BBQ sauce.
I’ve pointed out, in the past, one of the best ways to tell how much the family likes a meal by is how quickly a negative or positive comment comes out of someone’s mouth after a couple bites.
I’ve thought of starting a BBQ Sauce Bite Scale. The fewer bites before a positive comment, the better the sauce. If I had the scale in place today it would be “One Bite.” And it doesn’t get any better than one bite. “This is really good,” was the almost immediate response.
Our sauces are hand crafted at our Saucery. We make it everyday so we’ll never run out when you’re needing a fix. –The Shed
And you know what? The family was right. The “Original Southern Sweet” sauce is good. Actually, it’s very good. The sweetness is pronounced without having the overpowering tongue coating sweetness that some sauces have. Just as some sauce makers strive for a hot BBQ sauce that is all about the heat, some sauce makers seem to set out to create a sauce that is just sweet. It’s obvious the creators of this sauce had taste in mind when they developed it.
There is just enough vinegar and lemon juice to give enough acid in the sauce to cut the sweetness and make it pleasing to my palate. What’s nice about the sauce is the sweetness hits the front of the tongue just like it should while the turmeric, hot sauce, and other spices offer just enough spice, without heat, on the back of the tongue to have a very pleasing flavor.
The flavor is much like traditional southern sweet sauces, but there is a lingering flavor that I can’t put my finger on what it is. It’s a pleasant flavor that is layered right in the middle of the taste. First sweet, then the mystery flavor and last the “peppery” flavors. I love sauces that are not single note sauces. It’s not easy having two layers of flavor in a sauce and three is especially challenging. The “Original Southern Sweet” pulls it off in a big way with bold flavors that stand out.
I can’t wait to try what’s left of the sauce on a rack of baby back ribs. The family is going to love that!