Friday, March 23, 2012

Runt's is a good reason to head east for some barbeque

If it's been a long time since you been gone to Runt's in Wagoner then you might want to head east from Tulsa because there's never been any reason better to see some pretty countryside and maybe even shop at some of the antique stores. Alright, I'll stop being silly with the Head East jokes.  Steph and I hit highway 51 and headed east about 30 minutes to Wagoner to try a little place called Runt's.  They had a location in Broken Arrow but apparently it didn't last very long.  I'm not sure why because they had some decent food and it was well worth the trip.  We both had the Runtwich which was quite the understatement since it's a giant sandwich with five different meats.  Take two slices of buttered Texas toast and pile on a hot link, pork loin, brisket, bologna and pulled pork then add a side.  I'll have to say I really enjoyed the sandwich as it was like having a five meat plate or at least that's how I treated it.  Steph tried to eat it like a sandwich and get a little of each meat with each bite while I ate each meat separately.  Here's how it went down. Top honors went to the hot link, it was spicy hot and very flavorful. Definitely my favorite of the five. The pork loin was the next best. It was tender and moist and went well with their regular sauce.  The pulled pork was similar in flavor but a little dry, again the sauce fixed that little problem right away.  So far, so good.  I forgot to mention the onion ring appetizer.  They make them thin and crispy and serve them up with a big jug of homemade ranch dressing. We finished that plate off with no problem.  The other two meats, brisket and bologna, were good but for me they weren't near as good as that hot link and pork loin.  Just not quite enough smoky flavor for my taste.  We also tried a little rib meat, it was a little dry on the outside and chewy but when you get past it you'll find some tasty and tender bites. Overall we thought Runt's served some good food for a fair price.

As sides go Runt's did good on the homemade cole slaw and beans but we weren't too impressed with the french fries.  It's rather common for us to find a restaurant cheating on the fries and serving them up from a frozen bag. Of course we don't go for the sides but I like to comment anyway. The cole slaw was one of my favorite styles, that traditional sweet southern kind.  The baked beans were a standard style and still had a little tooth to them.  They also mentioned green beans, brown beans and a couple other sides to choose from but I can't remember them all.

As service goes you can expect a big smile and it doesn't take long for the food to hit the table.  We barely had enough time to eat the onion rings before the plates arrived.  It was a good thing too because we were hungry. We didn't have room for dessert but they also serve up some pie and cobbler if you're into that kind of thing.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Look to Russ' Ribs in Bristow for a little day trip delicious

Steph and I were on our way back from the family farm near Okemah and decided to stop at Russ' Ribs in Bristow. We pulled in back by the smoker, which was converted from a shipping container, and walked around front, noting the train tracks and other landmarks around Bristow.  When I was a kid we'd visit Bristow regularly to see Grandma and sometimes eat at Cotton's Restaurant.  Sadly it's long closed but now Russ' can take its place.  In case you don't know where Bristow is located, just take Route 66 west from Tulsa or jump on the Turner Turnpike towards OKC.  Just follow the signs and you'll get there in about 30 minutes.  Be careful if you go through Kellyville as they like to set up speed traps at both ends of town.

Russ' is located at the end of the Main Street strip of businesses off to the east as you go through town. There's a big sign out front so you won't miss it.  As you enter you'll walk right up to a counter to place your order.  We both ordered the Hoss and a side.  Steph had fresh cut curly fries and I had coleslaw.  Let's talk about the Hoss first.  It's a giant sandwich with a thick slice of smoked Indian round steak (bologna), chopped barbecued beef and a hot link.  As you probably guessed we had to eat it with a knife and fork.  The bologna was tasty and had plenty of smoke flavor, the chopped beef had a fair amount of smoke flavor to it.  It was pretty lean. I didn't notice any big chunks of fat nor chewy bits of connective tissue.  The hot link was pretty spicy but not over the top and the three meats together complemented each other.  They offered both a regular sauce and a spicy/hot sauce.  We both just went with the regular.  It was a sweet tomato based sauce with a little spice to it.  It certainly went well with the meats.  Overall we though the meats were well cooked, well smoked and by the end of lunch, well eaten.

Steph to this day hasn't stopped talking about the homemade curly fries at Russ' Ribs.  They served up a nice portion hot and fresh from the fryer.  If you know Steph then you know she has a list of fries from all over the country so just the fact that she liked them was good but given she's still talking about them just let's you know they're in a league with greatness.  I'll let her rave about them on her blog though so watch for it coming out soon.  My coleslaw was homemade and fresh and I really wish I'd liked it more than I did.  The serving was kind of small and it didn't have much extra flavor from the dressing but I'll have to admit it was an honest homemade coleslaw so you might just like it.  No extra sweet, no extra tangy, just fresh ingredients and nothing to hide.

Russ' also offers a standard variety of barbecued meats and sides so I'll let you discover your favorites.  Don't overlook the tri tip roast, it's one of the go to cuts for California smokers so you don't see it as often around the area. I guess you could call it the brisket of California, someone can correct me on this.  I do know it comes from the bottom sirloin so it's similar in quality but from the other end of the cow.  I've tried it before and loved it but it's been a while so I can't really describe it at this time.

One of the fun things about Russ' Ribs is that they encourage everyone to sign their wall or ceiling to show you've been there.  Since they're on famous Route 66 they have travelers from all over the nation coming through town so you'll see names and places from all over the world.  They even have a special section for veterans to sign so you know they're an All-American place to dine.  If you have an extra hour or two and want to see some pretty country and eat some good food, then head that way. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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