There was a time not too terribly long ago in Oklahoma City when there was a chain on every corner and the closest you could get to local was to make a trip to your farmers market and make the food yourself. We always celebrate all things local, and luckily, it’s getting easier for OKC restaurants to incorporate locally grown, all- natural ingredients into what they offer.
— By Devon Green
photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
Football season is finally here! We call it soccer, but that doesn’t have to stop you from indulging in two favorite European traditions: walking and pub crawling. Since the Energy FC games will be alcohol-free, we’ve created a list of pubs and taverns within walking distance from Clement E. Pribil Stadium at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.
— by Devon Green
photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
While the idea of fried dough may or may not be American in origin, the traditional ring-shaped confection that we know and love does originate here. According to The Smithsonian, doughnuts were created by an enterprising New England sailor’s mother who wanted a way to store and transport pastry. Regardless of its origin, the doughnut is a modern favorite.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
Big Daddy’s Smoke House Bar-B-Que has ricks of split hickory stacked outside, front and back. Inside the restaurant, a robust and permanent aroma of smoke leaves lingers. No doubt this place lives up to its name.
He starts with a dry spice rub on the beef before roasting at a low, wood-fired temperature for a long time. The result: remarkably good barbecue.
It’s a simple, but time-consuming formula that he’s perfected over many years. Big Daddy’s is a family-run operation, and all four employees are relatives. A handwritten sign by the menu board advised, “Place order at counter, have a seat. We’ll bring it out to ya.”
Big Daddy’s ambience is quaint and friendly; Hank Williams Sr. was singing plaintively in the background.
“We’re old-fashioned, old-school and try to keep everything just like family around here,” Bryan said. “Treat everybody nice and do a good job is what we’re all about.”
Big Daddy’s has plenty of local regular customers, along with folks who avoid the interstate by traveling the two-lane highway that runs alongside it.
Besides brisket and ribs, Big Daddy’s smokes turkey, chicken, pork loin, bologna, Polish sausage and hot links. A three-meat combo dinner ($13.50) includes two side orders and white bread. Sides are made in-house and its potato salad with skin-on spuds and lots of celery seed is scrumptious. Baked beans have plenty of brown-sugar goodness and there’s pintos and green beans, too.
slaw, fried okra, corn on the cob and curly fries are traditional
barbecue sides, but deviled eggs were a pleasant surprise.
Sandwiches range from $4.99 to $7.50 and include one side. The Smokehouse burger ($5.99) is topped with a hot link. Steve’s Favorite ($6.25) is a brisket sandwich garnished with slaw. The Willy ($6.75) pairs sliced pork and slaw topped with a hot link.
Big Daddy’s might give vegans the willies, but there is a chef salad ($6.25) — hold the turkey or chicken — not to mention a loaded baked potato ($5.99), Smokehouse nachos ($5.25) or loaded fries ($4.99).
Big Daddy’s brisket has an exceptional mahogany-colored crust that comes from the just right amount of charring and smoke. The result is hearty, hickory-flavored magic roasted right into a big, lean beef brisket.
Ribs are done perfectly, too, but boast more fatty succulence that makes them simply irresistible.
“Brisket and ribs are our biggest sellers,” Bryan said. “We’re big beef eaters around here.”
Big Daddy’s house barbecue sauce is deep crimson, flecked with an abundance of black pepper. Tomato-based with a winning blend of vinegar tang and sweetness, it complements the lean brisket well. These juicy ribs don’t need any sauce, although mild and hot versions are offered.Ledoyt’s scrawled testimony probably wasn’t exaggeration, because the pulled pork is among the menu’s superstars. It’s moist, flavorful and fork-tender. As with everything we tried, it had been carefully prepared and was served in generous portions.
“That’s a good choice,” said Bryan’s mom, Debby Morris.
All the meats, including pulled pork ($9.99), are sold by the pound. A slab of ribs is $22.50. Big Daddy’s is available for catering. There’s no bar, but you can get tall-boy cans of beer ($3.25) and sweet tea ($1.49), along with soft drinks ($2.09).
Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive
aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or
service when appropriate.
Photo by Mark Hancock