Friday, June 22, 2012

Review - Oklahoma Joe's in Broken Arrow

(Broken Arrow, OK) - The way the story was related to us was as follows:

There was a fellow up near Kansas City had himself a team competing in KCBS competitions around the region. He eventually found himself going head-to-head for titles with a maker of fine smokers hailing from the Tulsa area. At some point they became close friends and this equipment guru from Oklahoma -- who went by the name of, yeah, that's right, Joe -- along with the other fellow eventually forewent good sense in favor of pairing their collective skills to open a 'cue joint somewhere southwest of downtown over on the west side of the KS/MO line.

They don't just hand out awards like those two to just anyone. Those are rare. We did find it amusing that the big Memphis in May award was for beans or rub or something -- but HEY -- this is a KC jernt!

We don't know if all of that is true but we do know that somehow, in the smoke and haze and all of the awards and accolades, a sort of a mini-chain formed and that one of the handful of locations is now open next to a Bass Pro Shops in the affluent Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow. We know that Joe must have wanted to come home -- even if it was just for a visit -- because we've been there. And we are glad of that.

Like most of the establishments in this Broken Arrow TIF (rogue Kialegee casinos notwithstanding) this is an attractive place.

Inside and out it says one thing -- cash money built this house. And a lot of it. But cash money builds places like Dickey's and Colter's and Luther's too and they don't make barbecue good enough for my dog. No worries with Oklahoma Joe's. Amid all of the flash and glitter is some downright excellent  barbecue. It's served up by some nice folks in a place that's spotless. Not only that but look over there by the door -- that is one cool-ass artifact. If that piece of floor could talk... I reckon it'd have some wild stories ranging from Mr. Wills all the way to the Sex Pistols and beyond.

Really though -- it is about the meat. Some folks really dig the sides and from what we could tell they won't be disappointed here. At least not with the fries and the beans. Some say anyplace tending a deep fryer isn't watching the meat. We say hire a guy to man the fryer and give us some fries! Oklahoma Joe must agree.

Funny thing I noticed here. Up in Kansas City where this place was born -- burnt ends are a staple. Here in the suburbs of T-Town they aren't on the menu. Good news though -- they are being served. When asked about them the fellow at the counter didn't hesitate and actually seemed glad that we asked about them. And the burnt end sandwiches we were served were OUT-STANDING.

We liked them enough to pretty much use the two sauces only on the fries. Meat didn't need sauce. And even though they were sandwiches there was plenty of meat. In fact we get the feeling they are in the practice of serving plenty of meat to each diner in this place because they skip the whole "asking for a to-go box" charade and just put the boxes out there near the Big Red machine, silverware and napkins (get a few of those, by the way -- you'll need them).

The do serve other meats. The brisket is moist and tender but not overcooked. The pulled pork is actually pulled - not chopped - and not mushy, overcooked pork. Very good pork considering it is found so far to the west. The ribs might be the best thing here outside of the burnt ends. Moist and tender, they pull clean from the bone meaning they are not overcooked or undercooked -- just right. Have not tried the sausage  yet. 

One final note on the music. It seemed as if it may have been coming from a CD carousel because much of it was fairly obscure -- and awesome. I seem to recall there was Robert Earl and his old roommate Lyle along with Wayne "The Train" and along with some obligatory cash -- what was it -- Robbie Fulks? Nice job.

We're proud of these guys for showing that it can be done. Good brisket in a chain. Looking forward to the next trip through the area -- or better yet to the original up in Kansas City, Kansas. We have our confirmation and we are judging the American Royal Invitiational -- so we will see you guys up in Kansas then. May see Broken Arrow in a few weeks when we travel to the NeOk (can we coin that term right here?) to take our princess to the cool aquarium they've got there.


Oklahoma Joe's BBQ on Urbanspoon

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