(Oklahoma City) - This popular establishment (we assume this on account of the expansion that's been taking place for awhile) has an unlikely location off Lincoln Boulevard north of the statehouse and just a little south of I-44 in OKC. They are serving up some finely crafted barbecue that mostly just wants for a little more smoke.
The place is decorated, as one might expect, with a plethora of crapola* on the walls pertaining to OU and OSU. There's also something of a Cowboys and Indians motif -- ostensibly owing to the history of the state. Not unattractive and pretty much at home in a barbecue establishment.
On our recent visit we tried the three meat plate with sliced brisket, pulled pork and ribs.
The brisket is sliced thick. It quickly became apparent that the reason for this is that it pretty much falls apart when it is touched. While not ideal it certainly doesn't detract from the flavor of the meat -- and there is some good flavor. Not quite smoky enough four our taste but its there in moist and lean chunks of beef. There are two sauces offered -- the standard is on the table and there's a "hot" in the red squirt bottles up by the silverware and soda fountain. Both compliment nicely the beef and only need to be used sparingly.
The pork was not overcooked. Done perfectly -- actually pulled -- it was tasty long grains of delicious and moist pork. Some of the better pulled pork we've tasted west of Arkansas outside of a contest.
The ribs were overcooked -- but they were still darn tasty. Nice smoke on there and moist too. The bone pulls out with no effort leaving a very long rib to dip in the sauce (again, only sparingly because these are pretty tasty ribs). Our only issue was, again, membrane left on.
Was there a meeting of the International Barbecue Restaurant Owners Association where they all took a vote and decided they were just leaving it on forevermore? Or are they just lazy? It's not that difficult and it does matter. Competition cooks know it matters -- rarely do you see the membrane on competition ribs because cooks know if they leave it on it could cost them a category or even a grand championship.
Sides -- if you must know (this is a meat blog after all) are fine. Arby's style curly fries taste okay when dunked in the BBQ sauce and the mac'n'chee is actually pretty outstanding. Can't speak to the beans -- skipped them on account of we figured there may be onions in there.
We found it interesting walking out the back door that Bedlam is spending some serious capital on a large patio/garden area out in the back. When finished it will be a beautiful urban oasis for barbecue al fresco and drinks on pleasant spring/autumn afternoons and evenings.
The bottom line with Bedlam is that it is serving some of the finer 'que in the OKC metro. We went in with cautious expectations after reading some reviews and talking to some locals. Happy to report that our experience was well above satisfactory and we will gladly eat there again. May even give the beans a shot.
*not a pejorative -- merely a term to describe the decorations in any given restaurant.