Let me just preface this whole thing by saying I dont normally eat barbecue. I know, I know, how am I an Oklahoman?
However, the allure of Earls Rib Palaces original location on Western Avenue convinced me to try one of Oklahoma Citys favorite barbecue spots. Also, Earls has won Best Barbecue Restaurant by voter choice in Oklahoma Gazettes Best of OKC awards for several years running.
I dont know what overcame me. I went in, asked to be seated where I could watch the game on the TV and wasnt bothered by staff when
I changed my mind and started thumbing through YouTube videos on my smartphone. People come here to relax and be themselves I felt at home at Earls.
My waitress was friendly and attentive. I ordered the smoked BBQ chicken ($10.29), which comes with two sides and Okie toast. I ordered fried okra and curly fries. To wash it all down, I picked pink lemonade ($1.99).
Soon, I received my heaping plates of savory food and didnt know where to start. However, my waitress left me amply prepared for my future messiness with a stack of napkins and a wet wipe. In other words, I knew what was coming: sloppy, saucy hunger annihilation.
In fact, I think I might have perfected the right placement of sides and food-to-mouth ratio to minimize the mess.
I plunged into the smoked BBQ chicken.
It was mixed with the mild barbecue sauce, and I ate it all up wondering why I dont eat more barbecue. The mild sauce moistened the chicken to perfection and highlighted its smoky flavor.
Oh, that mild barbecue sauce.
It was my favorite part of the entire dinner, and I even asked for some to-go. It was the right combination of sweetness and smokiness to perfectly complement my order. And ... OK, Ill stop there. Its really good.
Earls truly is the original; it has been around for 18 years and has grown to include six metro locations. Its Western location proudly showcases old-timey automotive decor, complete with license plates and hubcaps on the walls.
I have to admit this: After one bite, I realized the okra was a bit overcooked too fried? but I kept coming back for more. Oh, and when its topped with ranch dressing, its possibly my favorite Southern food. Also, the curly fries were precisely the junk food I needed after my uber-healthy spin class. Im pretty sure my meal canceled out that class, but thats OK.
You have to have some so-tasty-it- cant be-good-for-you food every once in while. Treat yourself.
My waitress made sure my pink lemonade was filled to the brim at all times. And I needed the entire table to myself just to make room for all of my plates. I didnt come close to eating it all, but thats what to-go boxes are for.
That said, naturally, I somehow had room for dessert. I ordered the brownie a la mode. Earls does not skimp on its dessert portions either. I got two big brownies with three scoops of ice cream ($4.99), made complete with chocolate sauce on top. The brownies were crispy on the edges and soft on the inside. It was a perfectly sweet ending to my meal.
Why is it always so cold in restaurants? This isnt just an issue at Earls either. When the air conditioner wasnt blasting, I was more comfortable. The bathrooms also are a little dated, but despite that, the Western location was clean and inviting.
Overall, service was attentive and my food was flavorful and filling. I can see why Oklahomans love Earls Rib Palace: You get as much food as you can stomach (plus some), served in a homey atmosphere. I only tried one combination, but Earls offers many temptations, from smoked turkey breast to jalapeño sausage. Next time someone suggests barbecue, I wont have to say, I normally dont eat that; Ill say, Lets try Earls. And maybe then Ill get the ribs with some sweet tea.
Print headline: Meat manor, Earls Rib Palace serves up friendly fare with its smoked BBQ chicken. And, oh lord, that mild barbecue sauce.