There is something about Tulsa that attracts and keeps artists of diverse backgrounds who continue to develop our distinct culture. And, correspondingly, there is something about Tulsa that produces champions of Q. So, this is TulsaFood’s most ambitious and unashamedly forthright declaration of the best BBQ in the Tulsa Metro Area and why buying a plane ticket to travel here just to sample what we do is money well spent.
Burn Co. BBQ
Adam Myers and Robby Corcoran are the minds behind this concept that has developed the largest cult following of any BBQ house in the state. The duo is up and working by 4:30AM preparing to serve (what many believe to be) the city’s best ribs and house made sausages at lunch.
The bark that these guys put on their ribs is ridiculous and the open kitchen reveals the crew cooking these beauties on 12 Hasty-Bake grills set underneath an enormous vent hood in the center. Adam and Robby are proud of every rack they send out – and rightly so. The crispy charcoal-fired crust blends with the tender smokey meat that clings to the bone just enough to give your teeth something to pull while your taste buds say thank you. 1738 South Boston Avenue & Jenks Riverside
Every day people drive past at least 14 different BBQ restaurants to get to Mac’s in Skiatook. They drive from Nowata. They drive from Tulsa. They drive from Owasso. They drive from the city and they drive from the sticks. Why? Maybe it’s their commitment to sourcing only the highest quality of beef and pork. Maybe it’s the addicting flavor combination of the original rub and award winning sauce created by founder Mike McMillian back in the early 80’s. Maybe it’s because Mac’s has always been family owned and operated so it feels more like sitting down to eat in a good friend’s home than simply grabbing a bite at a restaurant. Maybe it’s just damn good and there’s no reason to overthink it. Mike McMillion has won his fair share of highly coveted competition titles with his technique and recipes including the American Royal and Jack Daniels Invitational. We suggest you get out there and experience what 3 decades of pure BBQ domination tastes like. 1030 W Rogers Blvd Skiatook, OK
Trails End BBQ
If you live in Owasso, you know all about it. Trails End BBQ and Grill was founded in 1997 by a man named John Cash. Trails End is on our list not only because of consistent quality Q he pulls out of his Southern Pride smoker every day, but also because of the endless contributions to the community that John has made over the years. Those in the Owasso community have lost count of how many times John has fed (at his time and expense) so many people whether in celebration or grieving – ball teams, families who have lost loved ones, families in need around the holidays, community events, and the list goes on. Recently John was featured on Trisha Yearwood’s show on Food Network. It couldn’t have happened to a more down-to-earth, generous dude. 8888 North Garnett Road Owasso, OK 74055
Tulsa has been a BBQ town for decades and although only a few of the legacy bbq joints remain, Elmer’s is still around and it is still amazing. The restaurant has been kicking out 100% hickory smoked meats since 1983. When you step into Elmer’s you can’t help but notice the jazz memorabilia and instruments that line the walls and wonder if you’ve actually visited a Jazz museum. Our saxophone playing, President Clinton, has even sampled the que here. At Elmer’s, it is all about the Badwitch. This famous sandwich is piled high with a sampling of Elmer’s finest meats which include chopped beef, smoked bologna, and a hot link. If that wasn’t enough it also comes with a rib on the side. The picture above is the deconstructed Barwich with buttered toast. And trust us “It be bad”***, just look at the bark on those ribs! 4130 S Peoria Ave, Tulsa, OK 74105
Albert G’s BBQ
In 1992, owner Chuck Gawey turned a refurbished gas station at 27th and Harvard into a legendary Tulsa House of BBQ. Since then, for many Tulsans, Albert G’s signature rub and sauce on their high grade beef and pork have come to define “what bbq should taste like.” The TulsaFood crew was just in for lunch at their new downtown location a couple of days ago and we could barely get in the building the place was so crammed full. It’s impossible to maintain that level of loyalty over more than two decades in the BBQ business in this town unless you are doing it right and doing it with care. Their beef is 100% Angus slow-smoked while you were sleeping the night before, so you can’t go wrong ordering anything off the menu from a cow. Albert G’s easily makes this top list as one of the best classic destinations for historic Q in town. 2748 S. Harvard & (Downtown) 412 E. 1st Street
Rib Crib loves BBQ and they know how to share it. Although they have grown into nine states over the last 25 years, they started right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The original “BBQ Shack” on Harvard is still in business and surely reminds the restaurant chain of simpler times. Since the 90’s they have evolved their brand while also playing a large role in promoting their love of BBQ culture locally in Tulsa. Every year Rib Crib presents the Tulsa area with the Rock ’n Rib Festival, which showcases BBQ from a handful of competitive teams from across the country. Pictured above is the Pitmaster’s Choice. This plate of smokey ‘que includes chopped brisket, pulled pork and a rib. Since it’s difficult to get good Carolina style BBQ in this region, we enjoy the Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich made with smoked pulled pork and topped with coleslaw and their Carolina mustard sauce. Rib Crib has created jobs for thousands and thousands of people, been consistently generous in the community while delivering solid BBQ over 2.5 decades. This is definitely a company that Tulsa is proud to call our own. 302 E 1st St, Tulsa, OK 74120 (downtown location)
We are fortunate enough to have one of Anthony Bourdain’s “13 places to eat before you die” right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We concur and advise you to drive to Oklahoma Joe’s at once, if you’ve never been, and get yourself some of the best BBQ in the country. It is not surprising their pecan wood-smoked meats and BBQ are so impressive, since founder and Oklahoma native Joe Davidson holds a mind blowing amount of barbecue championship titles. In fact, he’s won more than 300 events including the American Royal, Jack Daniel’s, and Memphis in May. The Oklahoma based franchise is also proud to be a family run company. Tip: You’ve got to try our favorites like the burnt ends, ribs, and pulled pork. Also, if their fried okra isn’t already “award-winning,” it should be because yeah, it is that good. 333 W Albany St, Broken Arrow, OK 74012
Rub BBQ Food Truck
The Rub Truck makes our list for a few different reasons. First of all co-owner/pit-master, Joel Bein, is just getting started and is already making a name. It’s impressive when you see a newcomer in the BBQ world work hard and begin to compete professionally in this town. Secondly, we really like his sauces. They are distinct; the BBQ particularly is more savory, complex and less overly sweet than we experience so often in this region. Starting this October you can find Joel’s specialty sandwiches, grilled and smoked meat will be available at Glacier Bean to Bar in the Tulsa Arts District. Stop by for lunch or dinner and pair it with an amazing piece of chocolate for dessert! 209 E Archer St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Mike’s BBQ Food Truck
Most of the people we talk to about Mike’s BBQ say they have seen the truck, but have never stopped to order anything. Listen, you should stop by the next time you pass by Mike’s BBQ food truck. Mike and his truck are normally parked outside of the Fiesta Mart in South Tulsa at 91st and Delaware, but you can always locate the truck by going to his Mike’s BBQ Tulsa Facebook page. The brisket, ribs and pulled pork are always on point and smoked to perfection. He doesn’t use any sauce, just pecan wood smoke, low and slow. Our personal favorite is the pulled pork sandwich with extra bark and a side of coleslaw. Try piling the slaw onto your sandwich with some of Mike’s Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce and grub! Tip: If you are wanting to place a large order, all you have to do is call a day in advance and Mike will hook you up! 91st & Delaware, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74137
Drive north on Peoria past schools and muddy lots and you cross the city line at 56th Street. A straggle of low-slung shops and junked cars is Turley, maybe a bar or two (one had a big painting of a frog on the outside wall, with the legend “It’s always hopping!”). At some point, Peoria — basically a country road by then, with a lot more cows than houses — becomes Highway Eleven, and just after you come to the Sperry town line there’s a Daylight Donuts shop. In the parking lot of that donut shop you will see a white food trailer.
Out of this trailer comes, arguably, the best barbecue in Tulsa. Donny Teel devotes his life to barbecue competitions and if there’s a big competition anywhere in the U.S.A. he just hitches up his trailer and drives there. Chances are he’ll win first prize. He’s won dozens of awards and once or twice he’s won the BBQ equivalent of the World Series. If, however, there is no contest, you have the chance to buy those award-winning ribs here. You should always phone to make sure he’s in town. We were lucky we called ahead because though it was early in the day his daughter told us, “you better hurry we have only one rack left.” She said she’d hold them for us and, wow, we were grateful she did. If you want to experience what the championship standards are for look, texture, and taste of ribs and brisket this is well worth the drive. Go find out for yourself why Donny is a favorite to win any pro BBQ competition he enters. 201 N Highway 11 Sperry, OK 74073
Missing one of your favorites?
These are just some of our personal favorites around town! Think you’ve got a spot that belongs on this list? We’d love to check it out. Simply fill out the form below with your recommendation.