A little old place where Las Cruces families eat together Piggin’ out BBQ style at the Rib ShackBy David Edwards
Las Cruces Bulletin
The folks at the Rib Shack know when they’ve got a good thing going. Owner Lindsey Golden took over the established business – then known as the Rib Cage – from the previous owner after working there a couple of days a week and becoming familiar with the operation. Recently The Rib Shack has gone mobile.
After a new coat of paint and a new black-and-red color scheme, the restaurant was ready to re-open as a mobile restauant. Many of the recipes are the same Golden said, but he uses his own rub-recipe and created a new sauce, which he feels is less spicy and concentrates on more flavor without so much heat. The corn slaw, one of my favorite hold overs, is still on the menu aswell as beans, mac and cheese – is it possible for there to be a moredelicious combination than barbecue and mac and cheese? – and the homemade potato salad (actually everything is homemade, but somethingabout “homemade” potato salad just sounds right). There’s even a daily homemade dessert, such as apple or peach cobbler. The meat choices are beef brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, smoked sausage and turkey legs. It comes in platters with two sides or youcan get a brisket, pulled pork or sausage sandwich. Brisket, sausage and pulled pork are available by the pound or you can get a full rack of lovely pork ribs.
The meat is cooked over a mesquite wood fire, and the ribs and sausageare cooked the same day. The brisket and pork take longer and he starts those the night before. The brisket is split in half to make sure the rub gets on the inside as well as outside.
“A lot of people ask me ‘What’s good?’ and I say ‘Everything is good,’” Golden said. “They ask, ‘What do you eat?’ It depends –usually I just get me a sandwich. But the brisket is the main thing that always goes.”
Being able to put any one of these delicious meats between two slicesof bread is probably what got the Earl of Sandwich started thinking in that direction. Only the earl didn’t have mesquite-smoked saucy goodness for the pay-off.
Golden came to Las Cruces six years ago from Nashville. He sold cars and worked as a marketing director for a health care firm.
“I had always wanted to run a restaurant,” he said. “But I never really had an opportunity to get into it, until now.”
Lunch buddy and I hit the place right at opening time and there was already someone else there. He decided on the pork ribs with beans and corn slaw for his side dishes – the potato salad wasn’t quite ready yet (what did I tell you, homemade and fresh to boot). I ordered the brisket with an extra meat (which must surprise no one who knows me orreads these columns). Corn slaw and mac and cheese – another shocker– were my side choices.
The place is bright and comfortable and there are already plenty of comments written on the walls. “Best ribs since I left Arkansas!”Stuff like that.
The food came quickly and my brisket and sausage was piled on a slice of bread with some pickles and onions for garnish. The corn slaw was as good as I remembered. And the mac and cheese? Well, you can probably guess how I felt about it.
LB also enjoyed his ribs and sides and we began discussing whether they had barbecue in Poland (Jack’s homeland). They don’t, at least,not like this. Just think, what a waste with all that Polish sausageto cook up.
We also discussed whether either of us had ever had what we considered“bad” barbecue and concluded that we probably hadn’t. That even bad barbecue was still pretty good. I have never met a barbecue that Ididn’t like really. I mean you slap some delicious pig or cow on agrill with flavorful wood smoldering underneath and flavor it withsome spices and slather it with sauce and it’s hard to go wrong. Iknow I am going back for a turkey leg and potato salad real soon.
The barbecue at the Rib Shack doesn’t even come close to falling into that questionable gray area; it’s clearly on the good side. In fact, you could even say it’s Golden.