You can smell it — oh, that wood-smoke perfume in the air! You can see it in the great piles of hickory stacked around the pit out back. And best of all, you can taste it: some of the finest barbecue in southwestern Kentucky.
Just like farther north around Owensboro, mutton is a significant presence on these hickory-coal burning pits, emerging after its long smoke-bath tender and succulent, just a little bit tangy the way mature lamb can be but not aggressively so. It is magnificent meat, powerful enough to bask in Bar B Que Shack’s very hot sauce and so nicely complemented by a sweet-corn hoe cake or two.
As in Kentucky’s muttonland, burgoo is on the menu, too. Here it is a forkworthy melange of very peppery vegetables and pit meat, hearty enough to be a meal all by itself.
Hot slaw is a must on the side. Yes it is cole slaw, but its bright red color is no lie. It is hot stuff in the most refreshing way; a breathtaking wake-up call for taste buds. Forking it up along with tender shreds of pulled pork is a culinary joy not to be missed.
Much business is take-out, but there is a spacious, comfortable dining area where locals and savvy travelers come to feast. Tables are unclothed, thus easy to wipe. Every one is outfitted with a necessary roll of paper towels. Puny little napkins would be pointless.
Do note the Shack’s limited hours of operation, only Wednesday through Saturday, from 10am to late afternoon. Call-in orders can be placed any time after 8am.