Sunday, June 14, 2009

Van's Pig Stand

OKLAHOMA CITY: Van's Pig Stand
937 W. 59th St.

Oklahoma City, OK 73109
Open M-Sat 11-7, Sun 11-4

Update: This joint is CLOSED.

2009: My first official self-scheduled BBQ assignment outside of Texas took place last weekend at Van's Pig Stand. The mini-chain (5 locations) opened its latest joint in OKC, but the oldest location in Shawnee, Oklahoma has been going strong since the 1930's. The history coupled with its mention as one of America's top 100 'cue joints in America's Best BBQ put it tops on my list, not to mention the fact that the in-laws live in OKC making it an easy target.

Van's is admittedly famous for pork, but the brisket had to be sampled as well. The sliced beef was basic corporate 'cue with a meager crust and a wisp of smoke followed by a one dimensional flavor of roast beef. The tough ribs had more adequate smoke, but the heavy handed sweet and spicy rub hindered any chance for crust formation. Layers of unrendered fat were also evident in these poor examples of smoked swine.

The more popular swine available at Van's is the pulled pork on a bun. The buns are layered with a sweet special recipe relish and presauced meat. The texture of the meat was good with varied levels of crust, fat and tender meat. What these cheap sandwiches (2 for $6) didn't deliver on was flavor. The only thing anyone at the table tasted was sauce and relish.

The only item to relish here is the fried okra. These piping hot morsels of sweet okra with a tender crispy, nearly grease-free crust were the only item finished at the table. For the accolades they've received from 'cue experts as well as the likes of ESPN, I expected much more. Even the OKC natives said they saw no reason to return.

Rating **
Van's Pig Stand on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

PM Summer said...

"The only thing anyone at the table tasted was sauce and relish."

I believe that is the definition of a "pulled pork" sandwich. I surprised there wasn't cole slaw tumped on it.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.