Steve’s Rib: who needs fancy when it’s this good?

by | August 20, 2008 | 19 Comments

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Steve’s Rib has two locations, but the one reviewed here is located at 7202 Hefner Road in Oklahoma City (map). They are open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 9pm and Sunday from 11am to 8pm. For more information, visit their website.

Barbecue is an informal food, like fried chicken or a hoagie. You can’t be formal when you have sauce dripping down your chin, unless you’re the Queen of England, and I don’t see her visiting Steve’s Rib any time soon.

But it’s Her Majesty’s loss, in my opinion, because Steve’s Rib has some of the finest, no-frills barbecue around. Well, no-frills may be overstating the case a bit. There are plates and plastic cutlery, if you need it, but there aren’t any waitresses or tablecloths or wine menus — at least at my preferred location.

Steve’s Rib is peculiar in that of the two restaurants under that banner, one is a sit-down restaurant with a hostess and bar and the other requires you to stand in line and tell the worker what you want so he can cut it and stick it on a Styrofoam plate for you. Oddly, I’d rather avoid the fancy Steve’s Rib (located in Edmond) in favor of the comfortable and guile-less location on Hefner Road near MacArthur.

The menu, which is tacked up on the wall, isn’t very complex. You can order a sandwich with a choice of meats or you can get a dinner with a choice of sides. It’s not rocket surgery. The sandwiches come in small (around $5.80) and large (around $6.80) and come with one side. Dinners are around $10 and come with two sides.

My wife doesn’t hesitate when she orders. She wants the chopped brisket, which Steve’s does up right. A lot of restaurants will serve a pre-sauced brisket or something that was chopped in a food processor instead of a knife. At Steve’s, the brisket is juicy, flavorful and still retaining those tiny strands of meat that let you know it didn’t come frozen in a bucket.

I try to branch out and I’ve found a few winners and few losers. The sliced brisket is just as tasty as the chopped, likely because they’re the same food in different forms. The pulled pork is equally juicy, though the flavor is milder and needs at least a dollop of Steve’s barbecue sauce — I like the spicy, but the sweet is good, too.

The sliced turkey is a personal favorite, especially when I’m watching my waistline. It’s not too dry and it’s full of that smoky flavor that comes from a long, slow cook in the smoker.

The ribs, usually a highlight at barbecue restaurants, are inconsistent. I’ve had some great ribs where the meat is tender and can’t wait to fall off the bone, and I’ve had some bad, fatty ribs, where the taste is bland. If I knew a way to ensure which version I’d receive, I’d order them more often. As it is, I tend to stay away.

Good, but not great, are the smoked sausage and hot links. If you’re going to Steve’s, I’d recommend you try something you couldn’t pick up anywhere else, and the sausage and links are pretty middle-of-the-road.

If the vegetable of the day is okra, order it. They fry it up right without burning the crust. The potato salad is unspectacular and the baked beans could be a little more peppery and a little less sweet, but that’s just my opinion. My wife loves the beans.

Fresh steak fries are worth getting as a side, but you might ask for a sample first to make sure you aren’t getting a soggy batch. A better tuber treat is the baked potato, which costs a little more, but is cooked really well. Forgo the sour cream and cheese, if you’re trying to stay healthy, because a little butter and onions with a few squirts of barbecue sauce make this one a keeper.

And if your sweet tooth beckons, the apple cobbler is delicious and the brownies — with or without nuts — are a nice chocolate ending to a great barbecue dinner.

There’s lots of barbeque to choose from in this city, some good and some not so great. I think Steve’s Rib is definitely worth a try and if you’re like me, you’ll opt for the no-frills version in northwest Oklahoma City over the sit-down, Edmond version. But hey, if you’ve eaten at either one, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Let us know what you think in the comments.

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This article was posted by Greg Elwell on Wednesday, August 20th, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • Benjamin says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 9:57 pm   

    I went to Steve’s once and have never been back, and I eat bbq at least once a week. I tried the ribs and the brisket. The ribs were dry (unpardonable) and the brisket was bland. I should have got a sandwich, because for the $10 “meal” I only got about one sandwich worth of meat. Also, the young men working the counter were unpleasant. I wasn’t looking for a big hug and kiss, but polite would have been nice. Steve’s is not good. I do not recommend it when there are so many good options, and I will not be back.

  • Eric says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 12:51 pm   

    I love Steve’s but disagree with your opinion on the polish sausage. I get this stuff at every BBQ restaurant that serves it and they have some of the best.

    The Steve’s stacker sandwich with sliced briket and polish sausage is outstanding and very filling

  • Beverly says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 2:52 pm   

    Just an FYI about the map link in the above review–it takes you to two different locations, 7202 W. Hefner Rd and 7202 E. Hefner Rd.

    West is the correct one (Hefner at Rockwell).

  • Bizzle says:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 7:19 pm   

    Steve’s Rib is my husbands fav place to get ribs….mine too when they are good. However, like the article says they are inconsistent. I don’t like the sides at all, particularly the beans, but the okra is tolerable when it is fresh.

  • Kelli Stewart says:
    September 3rd, 2008 at 10:13 am   

    Even though Steve’s is just around the corner from us, I would definitely drive somewhere else to eat BBQ. I do agree on the smoked Turkey being very tasty there, but it’s a bit pricy when you want to have a variety of meats available for a group or small family. They do leave room for improvement in the sides department as well.

  • Brian says:
    September 3rd, 2008 at 10:27 am   

    I have had Steve’s Rib a couple of times and each time I have been impressed with both their brisket and sausage. I don’t live near one of their locations so I often get my BBQ from other places, but I would definitely frequent Steve’s Rib if I lived closer.

  • KevinW says:
    September 3rd, 2008 at 11:51 am   

    I have to agree with some of the other readers about the BBQ ribs, they are usually not very good. On the other hand the turkey and brisket are almost always great.

  • Sarah says:
    September 6th, 2008 at 5:47 pm   

    Ate here for lunch today – my husband likes the place better than me. I’m an Earl’s Rib Palace fan. The chopped brisket sandwich was average – I think the turkey is better. The beans were really spicy today – lots of pepper and mostly BBQ sauce. I like ‘em a little thicker and well done, personally. But the place is close to home in a pinch.

  • Gloria S says:
    September 8th, 2008 at 4:00 pm   

    I like the ribs at Steve’s but not the beans.

  • Rachel says:
    September 30th, 2008 at 7:34 am   

    I don’t care for barbeque, but I am always happy to go to Steve’s Rib for the ridiculously delicious salads. I am a huge fan!

  • Clay says:
    October 3rd, 2008 at 7:40 am   

    Steve’s Rib is one of my top 5 barbecue joints.

    There smoked turkey competes w/ anyone’s. I love having it for Thanksgiving. I grew up eating there – except Steve used to be just inside the Homeland; smoking the meats in the parking lot. I don’t think it was possible to walk into Homeland without stopping by “The Ribber.” The smell was just too enticing.

  • Kevin says:
    October 29th, 2008 at 7:57 pm   

    Too many excellent options to settle for one with so-so reviews. A tip of the hat for the head’s up

  • Tyler says:
    January 27th, 2009 at 11:04 am   

    Steve’s is still really good, but it is a far cry from the original @ 2nd and Santa Fe from years ago. I used to stop by there several times a week during college, and even after school was over for me I still went regularly. These days its not even remotely the same.

    Hey CLAY… he was the best when he was THE REASON for shopping @ homeland at all.

  • Cult of Nobody says:
    August 22nd, 2009 at 1:49 am   

    My experience at Steve’s sounds similar to others. The ribs I had were dry and I think had been held for awhile.

    I did really like their hotlinks. It was unlike any hotlink I’ve ever had before. Wish I knew where they get them so I could have them without having to drive to the north side.

    If I’m going to drive across town for good BBQ. I’m going to risk getting caught in a drive-by shooting at Mr. Tee’s…. Now that’s some BBQ and sweet potato pie worth getting shot at for.

  • Dustin says:
    October 4th, 2009 at 4:19 am   

    The portions were great and the service was great but the food was always cold when it was brought to us.

  • Todd says:
    August 21st, 2010 at 10:16 am   

    I’ve not tried Steve’s yet but I saw the Cult of Nobody’s mention of Mr. Tee’s and I didn’t see a review of it on here. I’ll have to agree, If I’m gonna drive 20-30 miles, and I have for good food, Mr. Tee’s is worth the drive.

  • Brian says:
    September 8th, 2010 at 9:11 am   

    I had brisket again from Steve’s Rib recently and I still enjoy the tenderness and the flavor. I don’t live very close to a Steve’s Rib, since we normally get our BBQ from Swadley’s, but I would frequent there more if it were closer.

  • Hilary says:
    March 1st, 2012 at 10:16 pm   

    Will NEVER GO TO STEVES RIB AGAIN! Tonight, my husband & I went to grab dinner there (since we needed to go to the grocery store), and were at the table for a good 10 minutes before being acknowledged. Then, the waitress goes to a table that came quite a while AFTER us, and when she finally comes to us, doesn’t crack a smile or anything and says “what do you want to drink?”. We both tell her and she turns around and walks away. Comes back later and slams the drinks down on the table and walks away. I was ready to leave at that point, but my OVERLY PATIENT husband said to wait. So, we wait.. and wait… and she walks up and doesn’t apologize or is friendly at all and says “what do you want to order?”. We tell her our orders and my husband asked for a couple of straws. She just walks away. A few minutes later, comes to our table, THROWS OUR STRAWS AT US, doesn’t say a word, whirls around and walks away. I WAS LIVID! We got up to leave and tell the people up front we’re out and go to tell the “manager” about this fantastic experience, and she (looking an all of 16 years old) says she is sorry and will reseat us in another section. REALLY?! Your person THREW THINGS AT US and you think we still want to eat here and spend our money with you?! Wow. NEVER AGAIN!!!!!

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