Saturday, July 28, 2018
Burn Co. Barbeque (Tulsa, OK)
Apparently Burn Co. Barbeque is pretty popular amongst Tulsa locals and tourists alike. When I pulled up at 10:00am, a full half-hour before opening time, there were already a handful of hungry people waiting by the door. That line grew to over three dozen by 10:30am. It's not the kind of crowd you'd expect for Franklin's in Austin, but impressive nonetheless. I'd have been closer to the front if six people hadn't cut their way into "saved spots." Grrr!
I absolutely loved the vibe here. Their huge barbecue-themed murals were awesome and appropriate. Smoke filled the air like someone had just shut off a fog machine. Fun music and enthusiastic employees also added to the ambiance. If you're in the mood to cook your own food instead, Burn Co. has a meat counter full of fresh cut steaks, sausages, jerky, and more. In short, this place was entirely excellent.
There was one menu item that I knew would be part of my meal, regardless of what else I ordered: The Fatty. Bacon wrapped around ground sausage wrapped around ground-up hot links wrapped around more ground sausage wrapped around a smoked sausage link. It's like some glorious pork-filled barbecue turducken. As filling as that sounds on its own, you can also get The Fatty as part of an off-menu "Happy Plate." This three-pound plate of deliciousness will run you over $40.00, but you get to sample all of their meats: brisket, pulled pork, smoked bologna, chicken, ribs, several kinds of sausage, and of course The Fatty. How could I possibly resist??? If that isn't enough, you also get two sides, so I snagged a little mac and cheese and grilled potato salad. Their gluttonous platter also comes with two drinks, so clearly it's meant to share, but I just took that as an opportunity to double-fist some strawberry Fanta.
Grilled potato salad sounded pretty unique, and in fact it was. I found hunks of grilled peppers and onions laced throughout the crispy homefry-style potatoes. That alone was good enough, but then lo and behold, bacon! It was more akin to a breakfast hash, but scrumptious either way. The mac and cheese was piled high with big, creamy shell pasta. And what did I find underneath? More bacon. I liked this place a lot.
Burn Co.'s brisket comes chopped, not sliced, and it also comes pre-sauced. But despite my preconceptions, it was super good. There was a slight spiciness and a definite smokiness. Crisp bark was intermixed in each bite of the incredibly tender beef. Even in its chopped form you could still see the smoke ring.
The chicken drumstick was almost black and oozed smoke, a rarity for barbecue chicken. Crisp skin on top and juicy meat beneath was a perfect combination, and each part was seasoned very nicely. I did notice some hints of sweetness on the skin that were particularly enjoyable.
My giant heap of pulled pork was very moist and carried a great smoke level. There was also smoke-kissed bark throughout, which made things extra savory and added a crunchy texture to the tender meat. There was no sauce on the pork, and it definitely didn't need any. I had to force myself to stop eating it.
There were two kinds of sausage on my plate: a regular variety and their spicy "lava link." The plain sausage was a coarse-ground homemade link, full of black pepper and full of flavor. The casings popped with each bite, and that's something I always appreciate. The hot link was good too, although I preferred its companion. My first bite of the spicy sausage wasn't too bad, giving me a false sense of security. The second bite, however, lingered in the back of my throat for several minutes, making me tear up a little.
The meat on my pork ribs went up a solid inch above the bone, if not more. There was a beautiful rosy crust covered in a great peppery rub. The meat was very juicy and packed tons of smoke. Neither under nor overcooked, these Goldilocks ribs were just right.
Bologna, aka Oklahoma prime rib, isn't one of my usual barbecue selections. But when it's done well, it's superb. And this bologna, my friends, was done very well. I found it surprisingly smoky with a crisp, nicely charred skin. Unlike most other meats which mostly retain their own natural flavors, the bologna had soaked up all of the gloriousness that the pit had to offer.
Finally, it was time for the coup de grace: The Fatty. Most of the main flavors at work were similar to a semi-spicy breakfast sausage. There was also a touch of barbecue sauce here and there that jazzed things up nicely, and there was plenty of smoke to go around. The Fatty was definitely an interesting addition to my lunch, though more of a novelty than something I'd order regularly. Either way, I'm glad that I ate it.
In the end, I needed three big to-go containers to house all of my Burn Co. Barbecue leftovers, which I joyfully looked forward to finishing in the coming week.
Burn Co. Barbeque
1738 S Boston Ave
Tulsa, OK 74119