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.