Sunday, March 20, 2016


Well we are a little behind with the 2016 version of the Oklahoma City Broken Rib Tour but better late than never I hope.

Nothing has changed from the previous two years except for a couple of judges and a few new locations. As I've always said in the past. This is not intended to be a "Best of" list. I'm not about telling you who makes the best BBQ. I'm about telling you which BBQ tastes the best to me. You and I may have varying ideas on what makes great BBQ and I'm not vain or snobbish enough to claim to know what's best. I just know what I like and my volunteer carnivore rib eaters are instructed to score each slab of rib based on what they like.

So I apologize if you came here looking for a "BEST OF" list but I'll leave those up to websites published by people that probably don't even go try any of the places they claim to be "THE BEST". What I'm giving you here is a sampling of 16 different slabs of ribs in the order that we chose them to be our favorites... Not necessarily "THE BEST" but what we liked from the least to the most.

I do not tell my volunteer carnivores what I think a great rib consists of. They were told to judge each slab of ribs based on what they think a great rib should taste like to them.

As you read through this you will notice that we all had varying opinions of each slab of ribs we were served even though we were all sampling from the same slab. So I asked each of my volunteers to write a short description of what they look for and like in a slab of ribs.

I'm sharing this information here so you can compare what we like with what you like because while the ribs we sampled  are listed in the order of their overall score. You can also compare each Judges Ranking to hopefully help you find the kind of ribs you like as well. Regardless of where it ended up being ranked..


I want a rib to be tender but not fall off the bone. The bone in a rib should be used as a handle to facilitate the eating of the rib. If the meat falls off the bone then I might as well have just ordered pulled pork. Which should pull clean from the bone when it is properly cooked.

I like a couple of flavor profiles... Sweet with a hint of heat or simple salt and pepper.

The ribs should have a nice mahogany color and a slight shine to their appearance.

Judge #1

I like a rib to be nice and tender but not tender enough to fall off the bone, I'm not looking for pulled pork when I eat a rib, I want to have a little bit of tug.

As far as the flavor, I like a sweet rib with a little bit of heat on the back end. I should be able to eat the rib without sauce. I want to be able to taste rub and smoke flavor but not to much that it over powers the taste of the meat.

Judge #2

I grew up on backyard BBQ and have always loved that perfect smoke ring when I first lay eyes on them. That subtle hint but not overpowering smoke aroma gets my mouth watering ready to bite into them. Taste wise I like a nice tender, juicy but not completely fall off the bone ribs. A good tasting rub is what distinguishes your just meat ribs with your impress the neighbors at the block party ones. 

The criteria for the Oklahoma City Broken Rib Tour is as follows:

  • We try and make it to each Q-raunt between 11 AM and 1 PM. I feel like that time period is when any Q-raunt should be serving their best product.
  • Each judge will sample two ribs taken from different parts of the slab and shall be eaten as served. Sauces or seasonings are not to be added. (We do sample available sauces after noting our scores)
  • Scores are given on a scale from 1-9 using a weighted system of four categories (Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Texture) and the judges do not know which categories carry more weight than others.
  • The judges are instructed that a score of 6 is average and to adjust up or down from there.
  • Conversation pertaining to each slab of ribs is not to take place until all judges have entered their scores.
  • Water is the only beverage allowed during the sampling process.
  • To be eligible the Q-raunt must be located within a 40 mile radius of downtown Oklahoma City by directions given on Google Maps
Before we get to the results I have a few observations to share about this years tour.

  1. This year we were back to 3 judges with one new judge on the panel.
  2. All of this years Top 5 favorites have been included in both the 2014 and 2015 Tours. Two had never finished in our Top 5, one had been in the Top 5 once, and Two have had the distinction of being listed as one of our Top 5 favorite slabs of ribs for 3 years in a row.
  3. Every year we have had at least one anomally where two judges voted a Q-raunt very low while one voted it higher. That trend happened again this year with a Q-raunt that it had happened to in the past Which is why I don't instruct the judges on what makes a great rib. I want those varying opinions.
  4. Because the system I created to rank the ribs is weighted. The average score is 30 rather than 24 due to some categories carrying more weight. So when looking at the Judges Ranking any score of 30 or better means they thought the rib was average or better. A Total Score of 90 or higher meant as a group we thought it was an average or better slab of ribs. Last year we only ranked half of the field to be average or better in our opinions while this year we ranked 11 of the 16 slabs of ribs to be average or better.
  5. For the 3rd year there were no perfect scores given and only three 9's were given out among the 16 Q-raunts by one judge, me.... So the other two judges were a little more critical of the slabs this year yet we still ranked more slabs above average than the previous year.
  6. The cost of most of the slabs of ribs ranged from about $21 to $26. One slab, which made the Top 5 this year, cost $35. I wish I had kept better track of the costs of the slabs over the last three years but since I'm just a two-bit, hack, wanna-be, Q-Blogger.... I've failed you on keeping that data.... Next year I'll consider keeping better record of the prices paid.
  7. Interestingly enough the Q-raunt with the highest total combined score from the three of us was not chosen by any of us as our #1 favorite. This also happened in the inaugural OKC Broken Rib Tour.
  8. Since Zomato bought Urbanspoon and ruined it. I'm no longer providing a link back to each Q-raunt's Zomato website but I have added a link to Google Map that you can access by clicking the name at the top of each entry that will show you their location and whatever info Google may have on them.
Ok.... enough of my jibber-jabber.... I know you only came here for the results.... So here is this years results listed from our least favorite to our most favorite slab of ribs in the Oklahoma City area. ENJOY!!!!!

Big Daddy's Smokehouse

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 6 7 7 5 31.222
Judge #1 3 5 3 2 14.833
Judge #2 3 3 3 2 13.611
Average 4.0 5.0 4.3 3.0 59.667

2016: 16th -  2015: 8th - 2014: 8th

Big and meaty with good color. Aroma from rub was distinct. Nice savory flavor from rub. A little overcooked. Not falling off bone but close and a little mushy.

Judge #1: 16th

Appearance was subpar, taste had a gritty feeling to it as evident by the appearance. Overcooked with meat falling off the bone.

Judge #2: 16th
Extremely dry, seemingly very overcooked ribs

Pappy's BBQ

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 5 5 6 4 25.611
Judge #1 5 4 7 4 27.000
Judge #2 5 3 3 4 18.389
Average 5.00 4.00 5.33 4.00 71.000
2016: 15th - 2015: 6th - 2014: Not Included

Big and meaty, color was a little dark. Smoke smell a little harsh. Not much rub flavor but sweet glaze. Not very tender, had to tug quite a bit.
Judge #1: 12th
Sweet rib with good flavor, a little tough on texture.
Judge #2: 15th
Average good size sweet ribs with faint smoke aroma.

Railhead BBQ

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 7 7 6 4 28.833
Judge #1 5 7 5 5 26.222
Judge #2 5 5 4 3 20.222
Average 5.7 6.3 5.0 4.0 75.278

2016: 14th - 2015: Not Included - 2014: Not Included

Color was good but cut a bit ragged. Light smoky aroma. Light rub with a hint of smoke flavor. Texture was mushy and falling off bone.

Judge #1: 14th
Ok appearance, good smoke ring but couldn't taste much rub.

Judge #2: 13th
Good size but very pale and was very dry and chewy.

Bad Brad's Bar-B-Q

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 3 5 6 5 25.000
Judge #1 5 5 5 6 26.389
Judge #2 6 5 6 6 29.389
Average 3.5 3.8 4.3 4.3 80.778

2016: 13th  - 2015: Not Included - 2014: Not Included

Massive but pale and not very appealing appearance. Not much smoke smell. Peppery in places and lightly salty. Moist and tender but tougher near bones due to size.

Judge #1: 13th
Not much rub or smoke flavor. All I could taste is meat and a little pepper.

Judge #2: 10th
HUGE ribs! Thought they were beef ribs at first glance. Tasted good for being slightly undercooked which I notice happens quite a bit with huge ribs. I imagine if they were cooked longer they would have been much better.

Rib Shack

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 7 6 6 6 31.000
Judge #1 6 7 7 6 32.611
Judge #2 4 5 4 3 19.222
Average 5.7 6.0 5.7 5.0 82.833
2016: 12th - 2015: Not Included - 2014: Not Included

A little charred in places. Slightly smoky but burnt smelling around the char. Flavor is good except for char. A little dry and crunchy.

Judge #1: Tied 4th
Good flavor and has a hint of sweetness and smoke. Too charred but overall a good rib.

Judge #2: 14th
Rather dry, overcooked, ribs.

Mr. Sprigg's Real Pit BBQ

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 6 6 6 6 30.000
Judge #1 6 7 5 5 27.222
Judge #2 6 6 5 5 26.611
Average 6.0 6.3 5.3 5.3 83.833
2016: 11th - 2015: Not Included - 2014: Not Included

Good color and sliced clean. Light smoke smell with a hint of rub. Good flavor but were served room temp. Texture was good but may have been reheated. Bone was cold.

Judge #1: 11th
Average flavor, smoke ring, and appearance were highlights. Ribs were served cold and were very tough.

Judge #2: 12th
Not awful but kinda tough and cold. I saw all of us poking at the bone trying to figure out if they may have been reheated, but didn’t seem like it.

Ribs N More

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 5 6 6 6 29.000
Judge #1 7 4 5 3 23.611
Judge #2 7 8 8 8 39.000
Average 6.3 6.0 6.3 5.7 91.611
2016: 10th - 2015: Not Included - 2014: 10th

Dark color and cut a little ragged. Slight smoky aroma, a little on the bland side with a hint of smoke. nice texture but bordering on slightly mushy.

Judge #1: 15th
Good smoke ring but taste and texture was just ok. Could tell ribs set in steamer too long.

Judge #2: 1st
Had a nice small smoke ring and amazing aroma. Amazing taste that really hits the taste buds spot on. And had the perfect amount of tug.

Ray's Smokehouse

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 7 6 7 5 31.611
Judge #1 8 7 6 4 29.833
Judge #2 7 5 7 5 31.000
Average 7.3 6.0 6.7 4.7 92.444
2016: 9th - 2015: 13th - 2014: 4th

Neat presentation, good color, and sliced smooth. Light smoky aroma. Overcooked and falling off the bone.

Judge #1: 9th
Great smoke ring and mahogany look. a little overcooked as the ribs fell off the bone. Which is why I rated texture low.

Judge #2: 9th
Fall off the bone ribs that tasted great. The aroma was more just cooked meat but you could taste the smoke once you bit into them.

Back Door BBQ

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 7 7 6 5 30.222
Judge #1 6 7 7 6 32.611
Judge #2 6 6 7 6 32.000
Average 6.3 6.7 6.7 5.7 94.833
2016: 8th - 2015: 1st- 2014: 5th

Good color and meaty but cut a little ragged. Light smoky aroma with a hint of rub in the aroma. I still think they taste like bologna and the rub had a grittiness to it on this visit. Texture was mushy and a little dry.

Judge #1: Tied 4th
Good flavor and aroma. Nice smoke ring but a little overcooked.

Judge #2: Tied 6th
Fall off the bone ribs with a very unique taste and aroma far from what you would think of as your normal ribs. If you’re tired of the same ole ribs this is a good switch.

Texlahoma BBQ

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 7 9 7 4 32.056
Judge #1 8 7 8 6 36.611
Judge #2 6 7 6 5 29.222
Average 7.0 7.7 7.0 5.0 97.889
2016: 7th - 2015: Not Included - 2014: Not Included

Big chunks of black pepper with a light glaze. Sweet peppery aroma. Tasted slightly sweet with a lot of pepper. Tough. Really had to tear to get meat off bone.

Judge #1: Tied 1st
Great rib with nice looking smoke ring, taste, and flavor. Sweet with a hint of smoke. Tender rib

Judge #2: 11th
These had the potential to be some of the best of the tour. Sadly they were undercooked and it showed in the taste and texture. Never good when you can hear ribs being bitten into like tearing paper. I did like the sweet smell but I’m not a fan of sweet tasting ribs. To be fair, that could be due to the ribs and not the sweet glaze though.

Smokey's BBQ & Diner

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 9 6 7 6 35.000
Judge #1 8 6 7 6 34.000
Judge #2 6 5 7 6 31.389
Average 7.7 5.7 7.0 6.0 100.389
2016: 6th - 2015: 4th - 2014: 14th

Served beautifully. Nice color. The aroma was a little odd and indescribable but didn't effect the flavor. Rub had a hint of sweet and a lot of chili powder but not spicy. Texture was just slightly mushy but not fall off the bone.

Judge #1: 3rd
Great smoke and rub flavor. Can really taste the chili powder in the rub. It was almost overbearing.

Judge #2: 8th
They’re under new ownership. Mainstream fall off the bone tender ribs. The rub was different in a good way but the aroma was way overpowering. 

Spencer's Smokehouse and

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 6 8 7 9 37.389
Judge #1 6 6 6 5 28.611
Judge #2 6 7 8 7 36.000
Average 6.0 7.0 7.0 7.0 102.000
2016: 5th - 2015: 10th - 2014: 6th

Big meaty ribs with a light rosy color and grill marks on top. Light smoky aroma with a salty and savory flavor that is a little hammy. No noticable rub. Very tender. moist,  and pulled away from bone where I bit.

Judge #1: 10th
Average rib. Flavor and texture was just ok.

Judge #2: 3rd
WOW finally huge ribs that were actually cooked perfectly. OMG Juicy and tender. Great smoke aroma. Served upside down and once separated it’s hard to gauge an overall appearance, but looked good.

Leo's Barbeque

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 8 8 9 7 40.611
Judge #1 7 7 7 5 32.222
Judge #2 4 6 8 6 32.000
Average 6.3 7.0 8.0 6.0 104.833
2016: 4th - 2015: 7th - 2014: 7th

Very dark mahogany color and meaty. Slight smoky aroma with a hint of rub. Savory salt and pepper rub. Moist and tender.

Judge #1: Tied 7th
Good taste, smoke ring, and rub. Texture was a little over but overall good rib.

Judge #2: Tied 6th
Don’t judge a book by its cover. They looked like the ribs we got from Big Daddy’s, but tasted amazing. Could’ve used more tug but weren’t completely fall of the bone.

Jack's Bar-B-Q

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 8 8 8 7 38.611
Judge #1 7 7 7 5 32.222
Judge #2 7 7 7 7 35.000
Average 7.3 7.3 7.3 6.3 105.833
2016: 3rd - 2015: 2nd - 2014: 3rd

Great color and meaty. Hint of smoke and black pepper in the rub. Nice lightly sweet, peppery, and savory flavor. Good texture. Bit fairly clean from the bone and moist.

Judge #1: Tied 7th
Great smoke and rub flavor. Overall good rib.

Judge #2: 4th
Loved the coloration of the ribs and the faint sweet aroma. All around your average good tasting ribs. Not anything to brag about, but worth going back for.

George's Happy Hog Bar-B-Q

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 7 6 8 8 37.778
Judge #1 6 8 8 7 36.611
Judge #2 8 6 6 7 33.389
Average 7.0 6.7 7.3 7.3 107.778
2016: 2nd - 2015: 5th - 2014: 9th

Big meaty ribs with a mahogany color and sliced smooth. Slight creosote smell but not overbearing and with a hint of rub in the aroma. Salty with just a hint of sweet flavor. Moist, juicy, and tender.

Judge #1: Tied 1st
Great flavor,and smoke ring. The rub was very good with nice smoke flavor. A litle overcooked but overall great rib.

Judge #2: 5th
Great appearance with a solid smoke ring. Aroma subtle hint of smoke and taste was average with a good pull.

Bedlam Bar-B-Q

Appearance Aroma Taste Texture
OKBBQEA 8 7 8 7 38.000
Judge #1 8 7 6 6 32.611
Judge #2 7 7 8 8 38.389
Average 7.7 7.0 7.3 7.0 109.000
2016: 1st - 2015: 3rd - 2014: 2nd

Good color, big and meaty looking. Hint of smoke in the aroma. Lightly rubbed and savory flavor with light smoke. Tender but not fall off the bone. Very moist.

Judge #1: Tied 4th
Great appearance, nice smoke ring, good rib.

Judge #2: 2nd
By far my favorite. Had it been just a little more tender these would have been a 9, but still the best tasting ribs I’ve ever had. They looked almost as good as they tasted and they pulled from the bone with just the near perfect amount of tug.

Well that concludes the show for this year. As always I'll end this by saying that you shouldn't take everything we've said here as gospel. Just because we chose a certain rib to be our favorite doesn't mean it's going to be your favorite. So get out there and try them all!!! Oh and take along about $365 because that's about what we spent this year...... And I wouldn't recommend trying to hit all of them in one day but if you do.... Please share your story about doing it with me!

Judge #1
Judge #2
Overall Score
1 Leo's Barbeque T-1 Texlahoma BBQ 1 Ribs N More 1 Bedlam Bar-B-Q
2 Jack's Bar-B-Q T-1 George's Happy Hog Bar-B-Q 2 Bedlam Bar-B-Q 2 George's Happy Hog Bar-B-Q
3 Bedlam Bar-B-Q 3 Smokey's BBQ and Diner 3 Spencer's Smokehouse and BBQ 3 Jack's Bar-B-Q
4 George's Happy Hog Bar-B-Q T-4 Bedlam Bar-B-Q 4 Jack's Bar-B-Q 4 Leo's Barbeque
5 Spencer's Smokehouse and BBQ T-4 Back Door BBQ 5 George's Happy Hog Bar-B-Q 5 Spencer's Smokehouse and BBQ
6 Smokey's BBQ and Diner T-4 Rib Shack T-6 Leo's Barbeque 6 Smokey's BBQ and Diner
7 Texlahoma BBQ T-7 Leo's Barbeque T-6 Back Door BBQ 7 Texlahoma BBQ
8 Ray's Smokehouse T-7 Jack's Bar-B-Q 8 Smokey's BBQ and Diner 8 Back Door BBQ
9 Big Daddy's Smokehouse 9 Ray's Smokehouse 9 Ray's Smokehouse 9 Ray's Smokehouse
10 Rib Shack 10 Spencer's Smokehouse and BBQ 10 Bad Brad's Bar-B-Q 10 Ribs N More
11 Back Door BBQ 11 Mr. Sprigg's Real Pit BBQ 11 Texlahoma BBQ 11 Mr. Sprigg's Real Pit BBQ
12 Mr. Sprigg's Real Pit BBQ 12 Pappy's BBQ 12 Mr. Sprigg's Real Pit BBQ 12 Rib Shack
13 Ribs N More 13 Bad Brad's Bar-B-Q 13 Railhead BBQ 13 Bad Brad's Bar-B-Q
14 Railhead BBQ 14 Railhead BBQ 14 Rib Shack 14 Railhead BBQ
15 Pappy's BBQ 15 Ribs N More 15 Pappy's BBQ 15 Pappy's BBQ
16 Bad Brad's Bar-B-Q 16 Big Daddy's Smokehouse 16 Big Daddy's Smokehouse 16 Big Daddy's Smokehouse

Link: 2015 Oklahoma City Broken Rib Tour
Link: 2014 Oklahoma City Broken Rib Tour

Bedlam Bar-B-Q Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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