Sunday, October 7, 2012


I've been trying to find a chance to get to Tulsa and try some of the Q in that area. I've been to a few places (Elmer's BBQ and Big Daddy's All American) before I started the blog but I haven't had a chance to make it back.

I have several places on my list to try in the Tulsa area and unfortunately most of them were closed by the time I arrived in Tulsa on a Saturday evening or don't serve at all on the weekend.... Doh!

So I went with one that has some relationship to one of the big players in the Kansas City BBQ scene and was open on a Sunday..... Oklahoma Joe's BBQ

According to the Oklahoma Joe's website this is a sister restaurant to the famous location that Anthony Bourdain has placed on his list of 13 places to eat before you die. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill.
The menu board is fairly expansive and gives a lot of options to try a lot of different things. The Grand Champion pretty much lets you try everything on the menu. Normally I might have gone that route but I had a long drive home still that had been preceded by a long drive from Oklahoma City into Kansas on Friday and then to Tulsa on Saturday.

So I went with a lighter two meat option choosing pulled pork and bologna with the standard sides of beans and spicy coleslaw that comes with twice buttered one sided toast and a sliced of wheat bread. There were three of us on this trip so my mom went with the rib and one meat option choosing pulled chicken, and my wife went with the sliced brisket. We also ordered a 1/2 pound of burnt ends. So we pretty much had all the meats covered but the sausages.

Anyone notice anything missing from that bologna? Maybe the color... Well other than the sauce that had been drizzled on it. I mean it was good bologna quality wise but I could have pulled some good bologna slices from a package of bologna. Warmed it up a bit and drizzled some sauce on it and had the same results.

The pulled pork looked good and wasn't overly folded, chopped, spindled and mutilated. The moistness was there but I wasn't getting a lot of flavor. I made the best of the opportunity to try the hot sauce available on the table. It helped a lot although I didn't find it hot.

The brisket my wife chose looked pretty good. Not totally devoid of fat. She gave me a piece to try and it had a nice smoky flavor but was just a touch dry. I think they may slice it and hold it in a warming tray before serving rather than slice it to order and that could be the cause for slight dryness.
 The pork ribs are trimmed St. Louis style and served with sauce glazed on the top. They had good color and good flavor but when I took a bite the meat all pulled from the bone. I know a lot of people like it that way but for a restaurant owned by a KCBS guy.... And I do understand the logistics of cooking for a Q-raunt and the logistics of a KCBS cook-off are two different things but.... I like the meat to pull away from the bone where I bite it and I think the KCBS judges like them that way too..... Just saying.
Now this was my first time having burnt ends from anywhere other than my own back yard, so I don't have anything else to compare to. These burnt ends were probably the best of the meats we ate this day. I like mine just a little crispier and I found a couple of nice crispy bits in these but mine also melt like butter and these weren't quite there.

I tried a bit of my mom's pulled chicken. I've never eaten sawdust to try it's true texture but in my imagination the texture of this pulled chicken would be what sawdust texture would be. Didn't get a lot of flavor out of it either.

I've always thought that chicken breast in a Q-Raunt is risky to begin with because it is difficult to get right at the best of times. Pull it apart into smaller chunks and you're just asking for texture problems in my opinion.

The beans were pretty good with a couple of different types of beans, pieces and shreds of meat, and just a hint of spiciness in a sweet sauce. The spicy coleslaw was kind of a thin white sauce style of slaw with I believe some cayenne pepper added for just a very slight bit of heat. My mom ate it so it's not overly spicy.

The one sided toast was.... well.... it was one sided toast buttered on both sides. You also get a piece of wheat bread served under one of the meats. I used the wheat to make a little bologna sammich and the one sided toast worked for a palette cleanser between the other bites of meat.

Overall I think Oklahoma Joe's is a decent option for a Q-raunt and obviously from the lunch crowd on a Sunday it's a popular option in Broken Arrow. At the same time knowing that Oklahoma Joe's is an institution of the Kansas City BBQ scene. A scene I have not yet made it to try personally. I'm hoping it's not what I'll be eating when I finally make it to Kansas City. Because while I would probably add it to my regular rotation if I lived in the Tulsa area. I wouldn't make a 6 hour drive to eat it like I'll be making when I finally get to K.C..

Oklahoma Joe's BBQ on Urbanspoon


  1. Hi there! Enjoyed your blog! I think you had about the same experience we did, except they weren't serving burnt ends the day we were there and the sausage was inedible. (Count yourself lucky you didn't try it). Fair warning that Joe and his minions read blogs and may try to argue with you. They did with us. Apparently, the customer is not right when you have walls of pictures showing you can win a BBQ championship. Anyway, my hubby's blog got the brunt of it. And Joe sent me a really snide private message on Urbanspoon. If you want to read our experiences, here's the link...

    I'm guessing you three spent about $50 - $60 for your not-great experience. When you come back this way, make sure to try Smokie's in Broken Arrow or Split Rail in Coweta or Russ's Ribs in Bristow. They all run circles around Joe.

  2. Thanks for the heads up on other places to try in the Tulsa area.

    I plan on making a multi-day trip up there in the near future to try multiple places.

    I spotted a trailer parked at 71st and Sheridan that I didn't get a chance to try and I also want to try Burnco near the college and Buffalo's BBQ in Sperry but both have limited hours or don't sell at all on the weekend.

  3. I haven't been to Burn Co for that very reason, and I live here! We went at noon once and they were sold out. As much as I love BBQ, it's hard to get me there at breakfast time. The trailer you saw is near where I live, and it's new and not there every day. I think it's Matt's or Mike's BBQ. If I see it open when I'm hungry, I plan to stop, or at least get more info on what days they plan to be there. The next trailer I'm trying is Watt's at 31st and Sheridan. They are there almost every day, except Sun & Mon. I've heard really good things about them. Looking forward to hear about your next BBQ adventure!

  4. I was by 71st and Sheridan today. The trailer wasn't there, but a banner said "Mike's BBQ. Fridays and Saturdays." There were no hours posted, just a phone number and email address, that I couldn't get because the light changed and I had to drive. ;-) I can't find anything about him on the internet. But, that trailer only showed up there within the last month, I think. If I try it, I'll report back.

  5. Smokie's or Split Rail over Joe's? That's crazy talk. Russ's is excellent. Those two are ok. Watt's is very good. Roy D Mercer's ribs are great. Buffalo's is amazing. But for overall Tulsa BBQ experience, you gotta try Stutts. As for Joe's, I think they've lost some consistency since they opened. I have only had one sub-par experience out of a dozen+ trips but I have heard of other negative experiences.

  6. I haven't tried the one here, but I went to OK Joes in KC and it was absolutely amazing. It'll be a pity if the one here isn't as good.

  7. Well I didn't think this one was bad. It just wasn't great and I hope when I finally get to make my trip to KC that the one there lives up to my expectations.

  8. I haven't been to the one in KC. But, I've talked to people who have, and they say the one here is nothing like it. They were GREATLY disappointed in this one.

    BTW, I noticed Mike had his trailer up at 71st & Sheridan this weekend, but I'd already eaten when I drove by.

  9. I'm hoping to put together a multi-day Tulsa trip in the next few months. Lots of places on my list to try up there and I'd really like to try this trailer.


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