Tuesday, March 1, 2011
DAVIS: Smokin' Joe's Rib Ranch
1793 Highway 77
Davis, OK 73030
Open M-Tues 11-7, Thur-Sat 11-7
Update: With a dejected look on my face while sitting in the parking lot, I learned that Smokin' Joe's took off the week between Christmas and New Year's. This made me lust for what might be the best brisket in Oklahoma even more, so I convinced my wife to stop on our next trip up I-35. Even at three in the afternoon on a Saturday, the joint was packed. As we inched our way up the line, I decided that just a snack was in order, so I went with the three meat plate that featured brisket, pork loin and smoked buffalo wings.
The smoked wings were huge with plenty of spicy sauce and just a hint of smoke. They weren't quite as good as the same dish at Green Mesquite in Austin, but that makes them the second best smoked wings that I've eaten.
The brisket was amazing once again. It was perfectly moist and buttery tender. The smokiness was evident in every bite, and there was nearly a pound of it in this single order. Inch thick slices of pork loin had a thick flavorful rub. The meat was moist, but could have been more tender. The smoke ring was very thick, and the smokiness in the meat was great.
The fact that they do all of this with gas-fired Southern Pride smokers is even more impressive. It just goes to show that if you use plenty of wood, you can still get a good product with Southern Prides. It's just the exception rather than the rule.
2009: I'm used to eating off the hood of my car, but this proprietor just wouldn't have it. Joe came out back and insisted that he pull up a picnic table for my use. I finally convinced him it wasn't necessary and we chatted for quite some time. I guess he found some free time after the extended lunch rush. It was 2:00pm when I got in line, and the place was still packed with more feeding into the line behind me. A three meat combo was available, and besides the standard brisket and ribs, I added on some of the pulled chicken that I'd heard good things about in some online reviews.
I wouldn't have even heard of the place unless Don L. had pleaded by e-mail that I come give it a try, and I'm glad I did. Pulled chicken wasn't very smoky, but it had actually been "pulled" rather than chopped, and the meat was so moist I could hardly believe it was white meat. Brisket slices were thick, juicy and tender with an unctious glean from well rendered intramuscular fat. A nice crust and substantial smoke line lined these slices which unfortunately had all of the fat trimmed off. The meat was smoky throughout, and the flavor was robust. Ribs are huge, and Joe orders the 4 1/2 & up ribs which is outside the normal 4 & down ribs that most joints use. These ribs had a well formed crust with tender meat below. They were definitely heavy on the fat content, but it was well rendered fat, so most had melted into the meat.
The only items that were disappointing were the sausage and hot links that Joe brought out for me in a take out box right before I left. Both links were very similar with a fine grind, grocery store grade flavor, and full of fatty filler. The only difference was a considerable amount of spice added to hot links to bring the pleasing heat.
In our chat, I learned that Joe just opened the place up 18 months ago, but he has built up quite a customer base in that short time. He's dome it by staying true to his smoked meat convictions. Briskets are bathed in hickory smoke overnight, then his first of three daily batches of ribs go on at 7:00 am. He does the three batches so his ribs are fresh throughout the day unlike many urban BBQ joints that store there ribs all day in plastic wrap
Posted by BBQ Snob at 7:36 AM
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.
-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT
-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT