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