OK, true confession time…..I began writing this post on December 4th. I know, I know….it HAS been a while since I’ve written. But in my defense, Christmas time in retail is REALLY busy!
So let’s pretend it hasn’t been 44 days since I started the post. I KNOW you can grant me the grace of using your imagination! Read on – with love and forgiveness in your hearts!
I cannot believe my stomach is actually growling as I type these words – if you had asked me on Sunday, I would have told you I was too full to EVER EAT AGAIN!
Jeff and I were running errands in Hershey after church and we were both hungry…..when he asked me where I wanted to go I told him I was hungry for a burger. Of course, ever prepared, he steered me toward Grantville.
I know I’ve shared this previously, but for purposes of this story I need to reiterate that Jeff is a BBQ guy. He LLLLLOOOOOVVVVVEEEEESSSSS bbq. I tolerate his bbq fetish, but do not readily admit to being a BBQ gal. Oh, I know, I’ve written about bbq – particularly during our trip to Texas (see Always Bet on Blacks) – and I usually enjoy the bbq restaurants I begrudgingly go to with Jeff, but for some reason I have (or more accurately HAD) it in my head that bbq is not really my thing.
Today, in part due to a fabulous burger experience, I am proud to admit that while I wasn’t paying attention I’ve become a bbq gal!
I write all this to explain that I was less-than-enthused when Jeff suggested a bbq joint when I said I was hungry for a burger. The mean-spirited, hangry part of me wanted to dig in my heels; but the part of my stomach that knows Jeff very rarely steers me wrong when it comes to food won out.
While we were driving to Grantville Jeff explained to me that he had heard that Shakedown BBQ has some amazing burgers. So I waited to pass judgment until I tasted them. I passed the time on the ride looking at Shakedown’s burger menu – there were some truly interesting burgers on the menu, but the one that caught my eye was named In Deep Shishito (IDS). Having just learned about shishito peppers in the last year and being a lover of pickled ginger, the IDS sounded too good to be true.
“Bacon – Cooper – Shishito Peppers Wikipedia – Grilled Onion – Pickled Ginger – Asian BBQ Sauce – Habanero Mayo – Cilantro – Texas Toast”
I know, it’s not your traditional burger, but my mouth was watering just thinking about it. So we ordered one IDS and one The 98 to share.
The 98, Chris’s riff on the Big Mac, is described as follows:
“Bacon – Cooper – Lettuce – Tomato – Onion – Pickles – 1000 Island – Texas Toast”
While we were waiting for our food, we introduced ourselves to Chris – the owner – and told him about our BBQ quest in Texas. He shared that he had been to the same places we had gone and then some – and not just in Texas but across the country.
Chris brought us a piece of Shakedown’s brisket to try and it was heavenly. Not since Black’s in Lockhart, Texas had I tasted such a wonderful piece of brisket. It melted in your mouth, had just the right smokiness and the sauce was a perfect complement to the meat – spicy, but not too and tangy, but not too.
The brisket, however, was forgotten as soon as I took the first heavenly messy bite of the In Deep Shishito. It was the messiest burger I’ve ever eaten – and I mean that as a complete compliment! It was also the tastiest. It was like bbq and asian food had a party in my mouth!
The 98 was good – really good – but in my never-to-be-unshared opinion, it had nothing on the IDS! Had I not tasted the IDS, I would have said The 98 was a great burger (and it would have been a completely truthful description) but the IDS just completely outdid (and outdoes) every other burger I’ve ever eaten. It is an explosion of flavors – most of them a seemingly unlikely combination of tastes – of the absolute best kind!
After we finished eating, Chris generously took us on a “tour” to the smokers. We talked more about bbq and raved about the food. I told Chris – and I mean it – that often when we go to restaurants we are disappointed because we can make at home what we had eaten and it is as good as, if not better than the restaurant version for a fraction of the price; but that this restaurant visit did not disappoint in any way. The food was fresh, tasty and passionately prepared.
Fast forward to today (January 17th) and another trip to Shakedown. Jeff and I took my mom and dad to have the Shakedown BBQ experience. Of course I raved about the IDS the entire way from our house to Grantville!
We arrived and the first question my mom asked when we pulled into the parking lot was, “This is it?” Ok, I should explain it’s a tiny place. And I will also tell you that both times we were there, it was chilly inside – this is not a complaint, simply a note so that you can plan accordingly for your trip to Shakedown. Today I wore jeans and a sweatshirt and only my hands were chilly.
Of course, once your food arrives and the burger juices are dripping down your arms, you won’t care what the temperature is inside. And even better, if you order the IDS – which I cannot recommend highly enough – your mouth will be on fire. The combination of “every 10th shishito is a hot one,” the Habanero mayonnaise and the warmth of the pickled ginger light the best kind of fire on your tongue!
Mimi’s assessment – “unique, juicy, messy, who ever thought of putting pickled ginger on a burger – genius! And French fries – to die for. Great pulled pork – not too much sauce so you can taste the complex flavors of the smoked meat. The real deal.” Mimi had the pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw on it.
Pop-Pop’s assessment – “among the best burgers I’ve ever had and probably the best French fries I’ve ever had. The only burger I can think of that rivals this one was at The Village Whiskey (about which I’ve previously written) in Philadelphia. The homemade thousand island dressing was awesome.” Pop-Pop ordered The 98.
Jeff’s assessment – “amazing. Bangin’.” Jeff had a special – the Reuben. I will add to Jeff’s assessment of the reuben – truly the best Rueben I’ve ever had – the smoky flavor of the corned beef brisket was delectable. And – some of you will understand this – this reuben is wwwaaayyy better than Reuben’s Reuben (what happens when you put a narcissist in charge of snack time)!
The fries that we all raved about – beer battered bbq rubbed fries. Need I say more?
Of course, Chris came out to the table and chatted with us for a few minutes. He talked about changing the menu and my heart skipped a beat. I said, with obvious concern in my voice, “No – not the IDS – please don’t take it off the menu.” Chris began talking about the limited availability of shishito peppers in the winter and I think I stared to pass out. If you taste the IDS, you’ll understand why my blood pressure spikes at the idea of not being able to get an IDS when I’m craving one. It’s a bit of a masochistic experience – a bit of the gratification of the IDS comes from the “painful” heat from the shishitos, Habanero mayo and pickled ginger.
We oohed and ahhhed through our meal – sharing bites of everything on the table. Then when we were finished, we mopped off with wet wipes and dried off with paper towels. We bussed our table and on the way out I told Chris – with 100% seriousness – that am not above groveling for him to keep the In Deep Shishito on the menu. Today is the first day of the week and I can already tell you the IDS will be the best thing I eat all week!
Shakedown – follow the smoke to one of the best meals you’ll ever have! And check them out on Instagram & Facebook.
Have you been to Shakedown? Please share your experience below! If you haven’t, what are you waiting for – you need to go ASAP!!!