May 4th, 2012 by Brian Schwartz – Comments (6)
I think anyone who’s ever drove by Stutts has smiled and said, yes, this is how a barbecue should look.
Like a Norman Rockwell painting, just the sight of it brings a touch of gladness to your heart. You know, just looking at it, that there’s a fine old history behind the place, that fifty years ago and more it was considered a nice place to linger over ribs and beer. (It was.) You know you’ll find a big old-fashioned barbecue pit out back. (And you do… no fancy modern smokers here.)
You know that you’ll be welcomed like family if you step inside. (You are.) And you know that inside is nice and homey too. (It is, more than this photo suggests.)
And of course you know you’ll find barbecue so good you’ll want to shout and sing. But unfortunately this last bit wasn’t true… until now. I’d been to Stutts many times, each time drawn by the ambiance, each time disappointed. Until last Monday. A blogger I trust (Travis) had just ranked Stutts as best barbecue in Tulsa and I wanted to see what I’d missed. We drove up, parked, got the outside photo, and walked in to the usual warm welcome. I’m not sure whether it was Almead Stutts herself or one of her daughters behind the counter. Almead took over the place almost 20 years ago; before that she worked at Wilson’s and that’s where she learned her trade. But whoever it was made sure we knew that on Mondays all dinners were $5.25. Well we didn’t know this but it was fine by us. (Dinners are usually $8 but include two sides. Monday dinner came with one side.)
Just look at this five dollar dinner!!
I sent a photo to my friend’s cellphone and she wrote back “Oh man I could eat my phone, that picture looks so good.” That about sums it up. On the left, chopped beef; on the right, rib tips. The only bad thing about this dinner is that’s what Betty ordered, not me. But I did get to taste the rib tip and it was firm, juicy and bursting with flavor. I think I liked it even better than the ribs.
I got the ribs. And a fine plate it was. Two of those ribs, including the one on the right, were just about perfect… great crust and smoke ring and loaded with tender meat. (The other two were a bit dry but still very good.) I always eat my ribs dry with no sauce but Travis had said that the sauce here made it perfect and he was right. Cathe got chicken and beef.
This was a good choice too. The chicken was nice and tender. They must have liked us, because before we left they brought us, free, three pieces of Almead’s famous buttermilk pie! (Normally they’re about $2 each.)
Oh these were incredible. Normally she cooks tiny miniature pies but the flavor on these was so much better. And so we left with a sweet taste.
Stutts House of Bar-B-Que
2021 E Apache
Open Monday from 11 AM to 7 PM, Tuesday through Thursday to 9 PM, Friday and Saturday to 10 PM and open the first Sunday of every month from noon to 5 PM. Closed all other Sundays.
Brian Schwartz: Author
Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com
I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola.
“A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.