Name: The Q Shack
Location: 4120 Main at North Hills St, Raleigh, NC
Order: Three meat combo plate with pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked sausage, collards, fried okra, and hush puppies (link to menu)
After Rudy’s history making first 0 hog review, I felt like I needed to share a barbecue experience I had lately that was (spoiler alert) equally terrible.
I arrived after work this particular Monday at the North Hills Raleigh Renaissance – a hotel I had never stayed at before. As I had a fair amount of stuff I needed to get done before some meetings the next day, I decided to just get some takeout and eat in my room. I was pleased to find a barbecue joint just around the corner from the hotel, so clearly, that was my choice for dinner.
Walking in, I started to get a little skittish, as there was a large placard advertising wine (WTF?). I should’ve known then and there to turn around. But the restaurant was spacious and comfortable looking, putting me a bit at ease. The cafeteria line made me a little nervous, but I ignored it because I’ve had great meals in similarly set up restaurants.
As I like to do when trying new restaurants, I opted for a combo plate in order to try several different types of meat. At The Q Shack, you order cafeteria-line style and your meat/sides are spooned onto your plate (or my to go box) from the line, so it’s hard to know how long it’s been sitting out. However, I was excited when my cut of brisket was carved in front of me from the full brisket that was kept warm in a warmer oven. All went well with my order, as everything looked great.
When I got to my room, I eagerly took out my to go box and silverware and forked a nice portion of pork. This is where the problems started. The pork was terrible. It literally tasted like it had been sitting under a heat lamp for days. It was dry, and instead of a lack of flavor that I usually associate with bad barbecue, there was a bad flavor. Honestly, I once tried a McRib and I think it tasted better. I applied some of the sauce that was given to me on the side, and while that helped, it only moved the pork from awful to almost tolerable. Honestly, I should have stopped the meal then and there, but I thought to myself, “surely the brisket can’t be worse.” Well, turns out it can be just as bad. Had I not seen it sliced before my eyes, I would’ve thought I was eating Oscar Meyer lunch meat. The brisket was rubbery and tasted like a bad pot roast. Somehow I stomached a second bite, but it was just as bad as the first. Being a glutton for punishment, I moved on to the sausage. The sausage, fortunately, was far and away the best meat in that it was edible. Don’t get me wrong – it was still bad – but at least there was some flavor there. It was rubbery and over-cooked, but I feel like it would have been OK had it been cooked properly.
The sides were average, which means they were the best part of the meal. The fried okra was fine, though nothing special, and the collards were decent. The hushpuppies were actually pretty good. Basically, the sides are what prevented me from having to go out and get a second meal after the catastrophe that was the meat.
I didn’t take any photos of my meal, but no one would want to see it anyway. Honestly, I’m just glad I survived.
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 1 hog
Pork – 0 hogs
Brisket – 0 hogs
Sausage – 0.5 hogs
Sides – 1.5 hogs
Overall – 0 hogs