Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oklahoma Joe's BBQ needs to get over itself and start caring about their food

I'm from Tulsa, born and raised, but I've lived in Texas over a decade so in that time I've eaten more BBQ than I can remember.  I never understood why people were so emotional about BBQ restaurants until I ate at Oklahoma Joe's.  It truly makes me embarrassed to call myself an Okie.  I see all the pictures of the guys that founded the restaurant, I read about the awards and I even think the pictures of their award winning meats look wonderful but if anyone needs to be embarrassed about this restaurant it's the very guys that lent their name to this mediocre at best restaurant.  Stay with me for a moment and hear me out then decide if you agree.

The first thing that jumped out at me is the kid that took my order didn't know the difference from "lean" and "moist" brisket.  Steph and I looked at each other with that confused puppy look on our face but then we quickly understood, they don't cut the meat to order.  The brisket is just sitting in a steam tray already sliced and they just dip it out and throw it on the plate.  On top of that is has no bark on it and has a rather unappetizing sheen to it rather than the freshly sliced meat I'm used to seeing.  If I had to guess it came from a brisket that at best had been smoked for two to four hours.  It barely had a smoke ring and certainly didn't have any smoke flavor.  In the end I felt like I could have just grabbed a pack of Buddig roast beef and thrown some of their sauce on it.  I'll admit I liked the sauce, it was a standard KC style sweet sauce, made from a base of tomato sauce, maybe a little brown sugar and a few spices.  Certainly a nice change from the vinegar based Texas style sauce I've grown used to when sauce was even offered.

Next let's talk about the sausage.  Imagine a roll of breakfast sausage that's about 50/50 fat to meat and then don't add any spices at all.  They didn't even smoke it.  Terrible.  That's really all I need to say about the sausage, terrible.

Steph had the ribs and brisket.  If there's anything good on the menu it's the ribs.  They had a nice bit of bark on them and were fall of the bone tender.  Steph certainly made a better choice than I on this trip.  Her brisket was the same as mine.  She also ordered french fries instead of the standard sides and they were actually pretty good.  Just standard size fries with plenty of spiced salt on them.  When I ordered at the counter I asked for potato salad and coleslaw not realizing you only get one side with the two meat plate.  Instead of letting me know the kid just ignored the coleslaw so I only had potato salad on my plate.  It was a little bowl of boiled and sliced small potatoes in an ocean of mayo with chives and what looked like a little ham.  I suppose it was good enough just not my favorite style and if I had been informed I would have picked the coleslaw.  They even mixed up the sides on two of the plates which isn't a big deal but really with only four plates to manage down a steam tray line you don't expect a mistake.

When they rang us up the bill it came up to over $60 for four adults.  That's way too much for the amount of care they put into this cafeteria food and for the portion size but at least it's counter service so you don't have to tip?

In the end we were all disappointed but in different ways.  I've heard this location isn't like the Kansas City location so perhaps it's just this single restaurant giving them a bad name but it's certainly not a place I'll be trying again.  Life is too short to settle for mediocre and uninspired.  Don't you agree?  I did enjoy the old time country music so they did get that right. 

Oklahoma Joe's BBQ on Urbanspoon

27 comments:

  1. Bill,
    Wow you certainly are a grumpy man.
    Sorry you did not enjoy your experience. We work very hard to be a great BBQ Joint, but as you must attest BBQ is a very polarizing thing here in Oklahoma. Especially when someone is not really attuned to the art of BBQ and its nuisances.
    Anyway, happy trails to you in your pursuits...
    Joe

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  2. Maybe the grumpy fat man should get up and try jogging. Bloggers are so opinionated and often know little of which they speak of. Joe is a legend in the BBQ world and has the credentials to back it up....What do you have other than 2 followers...

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  3. Hey Grumpy,
    Why did you not publish/post my comment?
    I smell BBQ Chicken :)

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  4. Ha ha. Joe's comment "not really attuned to the art of BBQ and its nuisances". Well, BBQ has never really been a nuisance to me, but if he considers it such, perhaps that's why we did not taste the love.

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    1. See my post below (if its published by the disgruntled Fat man) regarding some education for you on lean and moist cuts. He is so grumpy I'd hate to be married to him! lol

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  5. Thanks for that tip Anonymous, calling the Grumpy Fat Man fat was very astute. And Joe, I'm sorry I didn't like your food but as a good Christian man I can't lie so I'm sure you understand. I did make it clear why I didn't like it so I think I covered the "nuances" that you referred to earlier. I know what I like and can say most of my friends agreed with me so I'm certainly not alone in these opinions. With that said I'll wish you the best in your future endeavors.

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  6. I never called you fat, I addressed as fat because of your name...I simply suggest you jog. Physical exercise is proven to raise moods and help people lose weight. Maybe you could become the happy skinny man. How astute of you to misquote me...

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  7. With over 100 hits on this review already we'll just let the public decide if I'm fat or if I'm right about Joe's. Or both... Thanks for lurking so much on my site, guess you like me after all... Have a great day Anonymous...

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  8. I've eaten at Joe's and I have to say the Grumpy Fat man is kind of off target with his opinion. Granted the brislet is pre-sliced, but I would assume it has to be to serve the number of people that come in. To slice per order could add a long wait as the orders add up, so I think Grumpy is not very aware of how restaurants work.
    Also I've seen the brisket and it has a quarter inch smoke ring, that comes from a minimum of 6 hours of smoke time in my experience.
    If you look at the menu it clearly states the dinner's come with one side. Not sure how you missed that.
    Anyway, I will agree that $2 large drinks can jump your bill up, but all in all I'd say your review has a chip on it's shoulder. Try em again and get the pulled pork.
    Cheers.

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  9. Hey Anonymous Joe, have you never eaten BBQ anywhere in Texas? Those lines are long and still they slice to order. It's called having standards. Even the standard Rudy's chain restaurat slices to order and offers moist and lean. It certainly doesn't slow down the line and the brisket is so fresh you can still hear the moo. Too bad OK Joe's hasn't learned how to be a restaurant that can give the people what they want instead of arguing with them when the meats don't measure up to even chain store fare. I won't be back if only for the fact Joe is rude to his customers. You know, the ones that don't like his overpriced cafeteria food. Maybe if he offered a heartfelt sorry you didn't like it rather than I'm Joe and you don't know anything. Have a great day Anonymous Joe!

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    1. I have been hearing all of this rant about Texas BBQ so I thought I'd give it a try. Went down to Texas and gave it a go. What a waste of time. I think it came out of an Oklahoma convenience store. I was looking for the "bark"you talk about, the
      only bark was coming from the dog out back.

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  10. I have only posted on here once. I can assure you I am not Joe. Yes I have eaten BBQ in Texas. Rudy's is lackluster food at best, interesting that your BBQ experience is from chains lol.
    Anyway, have a good one.
    Cheers.

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  11. Sounds like Oklahoma Joe ran over some people's puppies or something in this post and comment thread. Makes you wonder where all of this seething anger against a man and his restaraunt comes from lol!

    PS
    Here is some education for Billyerds and the Fat man: The "lean" cut of brisket is what we call "brisket", the moist cut is the point cut, which is used to make burnt ends. I assume you have never eaten BBQ in Kansas City...Now you know!
    ~Cheers.

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  12. I've come across the BLOG of Bold Talk From A Grumpy Fat Man re: OK Joe's BBQ in Broken Arrow, OK. I know it's been a couple of weeks since the original BLOG; and, I don't mean to drag out this issue of whether or not 'OK JOE Knows BBQ or Not'. However, like the Grump, I, too, am an OKIE and I've eaten BBQ all over Oklahoma/Texas, (Greater part of the Southwest!) and I do think I know what I like or not like. I traveled extensively in my career and would always rate in my memory as to 'Whether or Not, a Restaurant was a B BACK or not; OK JOE's certainly doesn't go down in my memory as a B BACK. Maybe we're, (Grump & Me), just not 'Aficionados' of the finer BBQ!!! But, suffice it all said: I do/will agree with everything the Grumpy Guy said. Too, I don't plan on dining at OK JOE'S again anytime soon! Dusty Trails to you, too, PARDNER

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  13. I heard "Oklahoma Joe's Studios" on a Tulsa sports station. I heard it many times. Did a little web search regarding the food and decided I just had to try it. I drove 80 miles one way to get to the restaurant near Bass Pro Shops. Thank goodness I added the stop at Bass Pro to my trip because I would've been dang dissapointed if I drove all that way for average BBQ. No doubt "Joe" has won some awards. There is proof all over the restaurant, the walls, the menu, the t-shirts... too bad there wasn't any proof on my plate.

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  14. So Anonymous Joe, since you emailed my wife as Ryan from Urbanspoon we were wondering if you are associated with Joe's? Or is it just a coincidence you have the same name as the Director of Operations? You seem too vested in the company reputation to be just a simple patron resorting to ad hominem attacks on some blogger that has no following. Like when you wrote "Barbecue Aficionado" ( note the spelling ) was a "very troubled person." You're really making the restaurant look like it's being run by some mean spirited people. Get back to me soon Ryan, I really want to know. :)

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    1. Nope. My name is Ryan, and I review places I eat, wether I like them or have an issue with them. Last I checked "Ryan" is a fairly comman name so I'm sure there are a few more out in the world. Yes I mentioned "Barbecue Aficionado" (he can't spell)because if you read his post the dude is definately off-balance. Yes I sent a mail to your "wife" regarding lean and moist cuts. It is information she apparently was unaware of. I also like to respond to bloggers who seem way off on their reviews, especially those that have a chip on their shoulder.I will leave you to your "blog" now :)
      PS
      You should try Elmer's BBQ in Tulsa, it be bad!
      Cheers

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    2. Well Ryan you are quite "the man" when it comes to being tough anonymously. Good luck with your trolling. You know where to find me.

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    3. Nothing "anonymous" about it. Ryan's my name. I'm not signing up to your site or logging in with Gmail just to post a comment. You are quite the "tough man" your self anonymous Billyerds! lol But no, I don't know where to find you. Why do you say that? Should I care where to find you? I don't get it..

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  15. This fellows review was right on the money. The ribs were OK but everything else was mediocre at best. This place reminds me more of a cafeteria where they sling hash than an award winning BBQ restaurant. My wife and I went there for lunch and it cost us well over $30.00. Way, way, way to expensive for a joint that doesn't even offer table service. I ghive them a month or so and this property will be shut-down once again.

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  16. Joe has put his blood, sweat, and tears into his restaurants. This blogger seems intentionally inflammatory. If quality control is a problem, it can be taken into consideration. But insulting the owner is not exactly constructive criticism. I have eaten enough of OK Joe's to pick their pecan smoke flavor out of a blind taste test. Next time try a Barn Z-Man and some smoked white chicken chili. Or the burnt ends, they are so amazing in a baked potato. Or a Dipped Brisket sandwich with Au Jus. Explore the menu a little. Wash it down with a beer and save a little room for your words, which you'll also be eating!

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  17. You can keep commenting and I'll keep posting those comments but I have nothing more to add. I didn't like the food, I won't be back. It's my opinion. I didn't insult Joe, I said the food I had was terrible at the Broken Arrow location and all I seem to get in reply is try something else. Well, there were four people in my group when we tried Joe's and all four didn't like what they were served. That's enough to tell me it's not worth coming back. I stand by my opinions. Go back and read my other blogs, you can see I do my best to be fair. Attack me, attack my wife, say we don't know bbq, whatever. We won't be back, it wasn't good. End of story. OK, NOW I have nothing more to add.

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  18. So Joe can't stand some honest criticism? That sounds about right -- just like a bigot.

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  19. Kurtis Strange here and I have been all over, the best BBQ is in Atlanta GA, just sayin!

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  20. I live in Broken Arrow and have eaten some good and bad barbecue all over the U.S. I can't honestly say any region's BBQ is better than another because each has it's own peculiarities that make it unique and great. I haven't made it to OK Joe's, yet, but I hope to go soon. Word of mouth from folks I've talked to who have been there say their BBQ is 'OK' to 'pretty good'. I haven't heard anyone rave about it nor disdain it. That being said, I still haven't found barbecue anywhere that can compare to what comes off my own backyard smoker right here at home. So, I would suggest that in-between Q-Joint samplings, fire up your own smoker/grill and make some backyard magic of your own. You won't be disappointed and I'll bet you won't find anything better anywhere else.

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    1. I agree with you Anon. I have a grill and a smoker and like to throw some big cuts of meat on every now and then. It's always the best, well usually. But obviously I would tout my own skills, perhaps no one else would like it. : )

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