Saturday, August 22, 2009

Leo's Barbeque Factory

OKLAHOMA: Leo's Barbeque Factory
7 Harrison Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Open M 11-2, Tues-Thur 11-8, F-Sat 11-9

Leo's is one of the most historic BBQ joints in OKC. It's been around since 1974, and anyone dining here knows that the lingering smell of hickory smoke will stay on them for ages as well. Over this lunch hour, I ordered up a Leo's Special which includes two ribs, brisket, a hot link and bologna along with potato salad baked beans and a slice of cake (more on the cake later). The flavor of the ribs, heavy with a salt and black pepper rub, featured prominently in my mind from a previous visit, but the ribs on this visit just didn't measure up.

These ribs were dry with a decent crust and little smokiness. The umph from the black pepper was there, but these ribs just tasted aged. Brisket made a good showing. The chopped version is served on the Leo's Special plate. Bits of crust and fat mingled well with the shredded bits of meat, and a higher level of smokiness was attained in this meat. The hot links were either Earl Campbell's or a similar variety, and they exuded heat and salt with few remaining flavor profiles. Bologna was nothing more than a thick quarter slice of grocery store bologna grilled until a few black marks formed. Nothing special. Both the hot links and the bologna were served well by a slathering of the hot BBQ sauce. This version truly has some heat along with some graininess that must come from applesauce.

Every meal ends with a slice of their famous strawberry banana cake which was moist and flavorful without being overly sweet. This cake might be as famous as Leo's barbeque, and for good reason.

Leo's may not have been on their game this trip, but I'll be sure to return. I just hope the ribs on the next visit will harken back to fond memories.

Rating ***
Leo's Barbeque Factory on Urbanspoon

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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.