Food & Drank: The Rack Shack: a hike to “Man vs. Food” famed BBQ

By Jenny Ledig

The Rack Shack was made famous after appearing on Adam Richman’s Travel Channel show, “Man vs. Food.” While it serves up delicious barbeque favorites like ribs, pulled pork and brisket, it also offers some more novelty items. “Man vs. Food” featured the brisket burger, an unusual choice for a patty, but won Adam over by its flavorful and juicy meat as well as generous toppings. While that certainly looked enticing, what really provoked us to leave Minneapolis-St. Paul proper was the allure of “the original hobo.” The hobo is a giant smoked potato loaded up with a serving of each of the sides served at the Rack Shack. So for $10.95, you can get a big smoked potato topped with mac and cheese, bbq beans, corn bake, coleslaw and the meat of your choice: brisket, pulled pork or turkey. What might sound like a random combination of foods and tastes somehow comes together and there’s the added satisfaction in no two bites being exactly the same. The sides are hearty and the meat (I tried the pulled pork) was really tender and of high quality. They claim it’s a perfect dish “for the hungry guy or girl on a rail rider’s budget.” Now, I’m a little out of touch with the financial situation of your average “rail rider” but I’m pretty sure that’s a hefty price. That’s not to say it’s not a lot of food, but it is a lot of money for a baked potato, albeit it a mighty filling one. The mac and cheese wasn’t as mighty as I was holding out for it to be, but by no means the worst I’ve tried. But in the interest of full disclosure for mac and cheese purists out there, beware the cheese is reminiscent of a thinner version of Velveeta and there are jalapeños in there too. For me one drawback was that I wasn’t crazy about any of their eight barbeque sauces. Ranging from the St. Paulie sauce, a “traditional BBQ sauce” that is “‘Minnesota’ nice & mild” to the New Orleans Ghost, that hails it’s name from the “ghost” pepper, you should be able to find a sauce that meets your spice tolerance. And while there are nods to a variety of BBQ styles and most classic BBQ influences are represented, like the Carolina Vinegar and Georgia Sticky, I just wasn’t bowled over by the sauces. A ll this aside, the biggest impediment for Mac students is the location. At the risk of sounding like Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn’t help but wonder how anyone at the Travel Channel found out about this place, situated off the beaten track in a small and quiet strip mall in Burnsville. That’s not to say I’m not glad they showcased it, it just would not jump to mind in an episode about St. Paul dining. On a more positive note, something of interest at the Rack Shack for those who have completed the Blue Door challenge and are looking to kick it up a notch, is the Hobo Challenge. If you can eat three hobo entrees in 30 minutes, you can win a $100 gift card to the Rack Shack as well as a signature Rack Shack t-shirt. This quest cannot be taken on at the spur of the moment, so lest your hardcore training be for naught, be sure to call ahead to schedule the tackling of the challenge in advance. F or barbeque in the Twin Cities, Grace Fowler, ’13, still prefers Roosters BBQ Deli on Randolph Ave, but deemed it to be a “unique potato eating experience.” Overall, it was a fun stop on the quest to discover more independently owned and operated barbeque joints, but certainly not a place you’d venture to everyday due to the price and distance from campus. 2925 Cliff Road Burnsville, MN 55337 Monday -Thursday 11:00 am -8:00 pm Friday & Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm Closed Sundays refresh –>