Four types of meat are served: Hickory Smoked Pork Butt, Chili Rubbed Beef Brisket (Mesquite smoked), Mesquite Smoked Turkey, and St. Louis Cut Pork Ribs. I had a plate consisting of half pork and half brisket. I chose mac & cheese and fried okra for my sides, along with a jalapeno deviled egg.
The brisket is incredibly tender and juicy, smokey, but not overpowerfully so. The brisket was coal black on the outside, but wasn't at all "charred" -- just lots of smoking action going on. I had "My Sauce" with that, which is a slightly sweet/sour tomato based sauce with a chipotle bite.
The pork was excellent pulled pork -- some of the best I've had in the state. It's not chopped as you often see in North Carolina -- much more of a Memphis style. I had this with "His Sauce", which is close to a Western North Carolina style: spicy, vinegar base with a touch of tomato.
All the sides were done extremely well. The mac and cheese had a solid cheddar flavor, with a touch of a mustard tang. The okra was very crisp. The jalapeno deviled egg was a nice little Carolina version of tapas!
I got to tour the kitchen and their smoking unit. It's a fairly standard commercial set up. Nothing is pit cooked here, unfortunately. When the counter lady opened the smoker, it was filled with fillets of salmon, which were to be used at Nana's that evening. Sounded like a good, symbiotic relationship to me.
The counter lady couldn't tell me where the Q Shack sourced its ingredients, unfortunately.
The Q Shack also serves burgers, brisket chili, a "Q Cobb Salad" that contains the smoked turkey and brisket with a chipotle blue cheese dressing, and for dessert, fried pies. Because this was lunch and I had to get some work done this afternoon, I passed up the fried pies.
I hear they have live bluegrass music on Friday evenings, too.
Scott Howell now has the upscale Nana's, the casual trattoria Pop's, the down home Q Shack, and will be soon opening a steak joint in downtown Raleigh. He's obviously doing well for himself.
The Q Shack
2510 University Dr.
Durham, NC 27707
(edit to add address & phone)
Edited by Varmint, 17 April 2003 - 02:57 PM.