The Shed in Ocean Springs, MS had been on my list of places to visit for a long time. This is the original of what is now a five-location barbecue trail from Louisiana to Florida. Still, I hadn't been to any of them because I wanted the Ocean Springs location to be my first experience. On the way to Pensacola for a bachelor party, my brother Eric and I worked up a hunger. I remembered that we ought to wait until Ocean Springs so that we could feast on some swine from The Shed. Memory served me well. We arrived at The Shed a little after normal lunch hours, which only meant that we were more ready to tackle a plate of barbecue. As we drove up I realized that place truly is a joint as opposed to a restaurant. The smell of smoke filled the air, and my excitement level intensified as I laid eyes on The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint.
Like I said, The Shed obviously didn't even try to pretend to be a normal restaurant. With a massive outdoor seating area on the water, gravel floors, and portable toilets, joint may have even been an over-statement. But this is exactly the kind of character I had been looking for. Eric and I found our way to the ordering line where I went with a two meat combo - spare ribs and brisket, as well as some beans and macaroni salad.
The ribs, which are always what I'll judge a place by, were outstanding. Pull-off-the-bone tender, succulently sauced, and well flavored, these ribs were everything I had hoped they would be. So they passed the test, but I still had more to eat. I enjoyed the macaroni salad and the beans, but didn't find them to be outrageously amazing. They certainly weren't inventive or to-die-for. And overall the side selection seemed a little weak. As for the brisket... it got saved by the sauce. Without the sauce I found it to be a little dry and flavorless. Still, I'd say the trip proved to be a success. As I said, the spare ribs were right on the money and I couldn't have appreciated the atmosphere of a true BBQ joint any more. Bravo, Ocean Springs, you have something Baton Rouge doesn't have... yet.