Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oklahoma Joe's

Us Pit Crawlers went to Oklahoma Joe’s for our last stop on this round of our never ending BBQ crawl. I had never been there before this meal, but had been told by friends, newspapers, Zagat, and Anthony Bourdain, that Oklahoma Joe’s is one of the best BBQ restaurants in the world. This could have been extended to include the universe since our visit. Of this I’m not sure.
 Normally I agree with most things that Mr. Bourdain has done on his show, I mean, he has eaten the still-beating heart of a cobra, which is a big deal. But I feel like the hype ruined it for me.
 Based on these reviews I expected the meat and sauce to be so good that my heart would stop after one bite. And that would be convenient because Oklahoma Joe’s is one of the 13 places to eat before you die.
 However, this is what I have decided: The experience of going to Oklahoma Joe’s is a 10. The food at Oklahoma Joes is a 9, but it is billed as a 12. And these are the questions, and problems I face while writing this review. Do I think the food is great at Oklahoma Joes? Yes. Do I think that all I ate was as good as other KC BBQ stops? No. 
I ordered the Z-Man Sandwich, BBQ Beans, French Fries, and the Smoked Chicken Gumbo. It was an impressive amount of food. What was really incredible is that it was ready as soon as I made it to the cashier. About three minutes after placing my order with the first worker on the BBQ assembly line.

The Z-Man Sandwich is a breathtaking wonder and a credit to the sandwich form. The pairing of provolone and brisket may sound strange and cacophonic, but they go together perfectly with the onion rings. This was the best brisket sandwich I have ever had. The meat was cooked perfectly. The onion rings were lightly battered and crispy, waiting for me to drop some of that award winning sauce on top of them. The provolone was melted and a perfect complement to this monster. The price was equally as satisfying. Buying this sandwich at 6 bones is a steal.
The BBQ beans were definitely BBQ beans, but didn’t stand apart from other restaurants. I am however partial to the beans served by the BBQ wizards at Zarda Bar-B-Q, and think that nothing compares to those beans.
The French Fries were crispy, delicious, and perfect for what I use them for at a BBQ restaurant which is using them as sauce testers.
Now the Smoked Chicken Gumbo was a game changer. This side is unique and well made. It had a slow building spicy kick that left me sweating slightly. The chicken was present and accounted for and I think that this side in conjunction with the Z-Man Sandwich made my visit. I think that, in the fashion of Zarda’s beans, Oklahoma Joes should package and sell their gumbo at grocery stores.
Other Pit Crawlers had these things to say. The Sausage is basically a bratwurst, and we wouldn’t recommend ordering it. If it was served at a ball game or during a backyard drink off, then it would be great. It’s just not what one would expect from one of the 13 places to eat before you die. The Pulled Pork and Ribs however are some of the best you can get your saucy hands on.  
In summation, Oklahoma Joe’s is a great place to eat. If you go you have to get the Z-Man Sandwich, Pulled Pork or Ribs, and the Smoked Chicken Gumbo. The atmosphere is great, the food is great. If you do as Public Enemy says and "Don't Believe the Hype,” then you will have a meaty and rewarding eating experience.


  1. I always stay away from BBQ Wizards. They can get ya in trouble. This reads like a Groupon email. Love you, Z-Man and your Z-Man sandwich. Too bad BBQ Club wasn't around when I was in Lawrence.