1-4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Saturday
TapWerks Ale House & Cafe
121 E. Sheridan
610 N.E. 50th
What works: The ribs and the smoked ham are some of the best.
What doesn’t work: Come at the wrong time and you’ll find a very long line and only one register.
Tip: If it’s nice, sit on the back patio. If you get sweet tea, mix it 50-50 with unsweetened, lest you get diabetes.
The first thing I think of when people ’round these here parts start talking about “bedlam” is: “Oh, my dear, sweet Flying Spaghetti Monster! Won’t you all shut up about football/ basketball/golf/frolf/track and field/ that game where you try and get a ring over the top of the bottle to win a prize?” The second thing I think of is, “Hmm, barbecue sounds good.”
To be fair, “Hmm, barbecue sounds good” is usually the second thing I think, regardless of the topic.
Let’s talk about Bedlam Bar-B-Q, which is a local purveyor of fine smoked meats.
Did you know that when rib meat is “falling off the bone,” it means somebody screwed up? It’s true!
And that’s one of the reasons I like Bedlam so much. Their rib basket ($7.99) has Texas toast and a couple of sides and — most important — two meaty, smoky ribs. Pick them up. Shake them around. Note how the meat stays attached to the bone.
Now take a bite. See? Now the meat comes off and it’s tender and delicious and you find yourself ordering three more rib baskets.
OK, let’s continue. Ham. You heard me: ham. Not something I find on most barbecue restaurant menus and rarely done this skillfully. Bedlam’s ham comes in nice, thick slices with a heady smoke punch.
See, there’s a lot of juice in ham and that picks up the smoke. Done poorly, the smoke leaves the ham bitter or bland. Done right, it’s a succulent piece of meat that you’ll gobble up quickly.
If you, like me, want to try a bunch of meats, you can get the combo dinner ($12.99) with a choice of two meats or the Big Red dinner ($14.49) with three meats.
But there’s another way to combine the great catalog of Bedlam’s smoked meats into one juggernaut of flavors.The Bedlam Sandwich ($7.69) is a mix of pulled pork, chicken, chopped brisket and hot links. Usually, I don’t like mixing hot links with other foods, because they’re pretty overpowering, but here it works. Douse it with either of Bedlam’s hot or sweet sauces, and it goes down easy.
The Bedlam Burger ($7.79) doesn’t quite measure up, sadly. It’s a decent burger with sautéed red onions and Cheddar cheese on top, although the texture of the meat seemed a little overworked to me. Not bad, by any means, but it kind of pales in comparison to other, better options.
As for sides, the macaroni and cheese is pretty good, but the collard greens are better (i.e. not bitter). The curly fries are tasty, too, but my real favorite is the cowboy beans. Don’t be fooled — there are baked beans and then there are cowboy beans. The latter are less sweet, more spicy and absolutely delicious.
Oklahoma City has no lack of barbecue joints. Some are good. Some not so good. And Bedlam Bar-B-Q is definitely on the good list.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.