If you’re a barbecue junkie and want to take a half-day road trip to East Texas, I’ve got two under-the-radar joints for you to try. Today I tell you about one–Shep’s Bar-B-Q in Palestine. Google all you want, you won’t find any write-ups.
Pay no attention to the cracked Naugahyde booths oozing upholstery foam, head straight to the cafeteria line and step up to the nice man behind the red heat lamp. His chopping block is surrounded by huge slabs of juicy brisket, sausage, hot links, chicken halves, and ribs. All of the meat is smoked out back in a rickety old smoke house surrounded by piles of wood.
The sausage is Eckridge so we skip it and go straight a two-meat platter with ribs and brisket. I’m telling you the ribs at Shep’s are some of the best I’ve ever eaten. The tender beef is covered with a deep red crust and once your teeth piercethrough it your mouth is filled with smoky meat that slides off the bone. The brisket is equally juicy–we always have the carver make us a sandwich the way Sonny Bryan used to make them on Inwood Road–half chopped, half sliced and doused in tangy, slightly sweet and smoky sauce.
There is nothing special about any of the sides or cobblers. This is a place to eat meat.