Time to chew up a few more hundred miles and cross into a new state; Oklahoma. We’re on route to Oklahoma City to visit Back Door BBQ, but not before a quick ‘cue stop in Joplin to meet with Amy and her team at Woody’s Smokehouse.
Woody’s If anyone followed the Pilgrimage last year you might remember our brief visit to Rudy’s in Texas, a huge multi-site smokehouse operation.
Intentional or not, but Woody’s looks very similar – which came first, who knows. This independent, roadside ‘cue joint is owned and run by serial restaurateur Amy Vogt. Whilst without its own dedicated style Oklahoma’s BBQ blends the pork traditions of Southeastern US and the beef tradition of Texas, as well smoked Turkey.
We sneaked behind the scenes with Amy. Outback two huge J&R smokers dominate the kitchen. The Pitmaster here is a young guy, Jake, who has worked his way up in the business over the last 10 years.
We swapped a few recipes and ideas for rubs, before getting stuck in to some excellent food. Perhaps the standout, and something we’re giving consideration to trying out at Red’s, is smoked turkey and pork loin – deep smoky flavour and insanely moist. The sides were equally strong with a ‘potato soup’ dish a memorable choice.
Time to bounce to Oklahoma City….
Back Door BBqOklahoma City plays host to one of the largest livestock markets in the world. You can be sat in a restaurant eating your barbecue whilst cattle lorry after cattle lorry passes by in the street outside. It’s a good indication the food miles are going to be practically zero.
This city also sits slap bang in the heart of ‘Tornado Alley’. Measured on a scale of force and destruction from F1 – F5, this city has had the misfortunate of being on the thick end of eight F4s and a devastating F5. And guess what; it’s approaching tornado season, so time to get in, eat up and chip.
Back Door BBQ is run by chef Kathryn Mathis and Pitmaster Kenny. We were super excited to see these guys, given the banter we’d had on social – they seemed to really get the spirit of the Red’s Pilgrimage.
We were welcomed at the door by Kathryn: short in stature, wearing chef’s blacks with quarter length trousers exposing her many tattoos. Each design is a reflection of her dry humour, and we knew straight away we’d get on.
This joint is a chef’s smokehouse. The menu is simple, but epic in every way. The meats reflected the true Oklahoma blend of Texas and Southeastern style, but with the addition of a unique, local twist; smoked Bologna.
Sides included fried pickled Okra, deviled eggs and baked corn, and there wasn’t one burger or sandwich that didn’t sound next level. Oh, and did we mention the incredible free table sauces? Classic, Hot, Sweet, Mustard and Espresso completed the experience.
This was true barbecue, with a huge big Okie dollop of love, attention and creativity.