So I got a chance to go to Bartlesville, Ok for a business trip

second (1 of 11) I am sure if you know the area in anyway you will know where I was or what I was doing there. I will leave that part of the research up to you. First thing that sprung to mind for me was “I’m going to get some great BBQ while there.”

I did my research and found the two places that I wanted to try:



Dink’s BBQ


Why these two? Well, RibCity sounds like I would like it as if you have read any of my articles I love Ribs. RibCity was well rated and right outside my hotel so it was on the list. The next was Dink’s as it looked like the kind of place that was going to be great. I have looked at the reviews, looked at the pictures and it looked like a major winner.

First we start with RibCity the first night I was there, got off the plane drove up from Tulsa and I was hungry. My order was Rib’s with three second (6 of 11)sides; I will say that it was a big bag full of food. The place was newer and looked like a chain, had the old school look, but it was mostly new. Service was great on togo as well. Took the food back to my hotel room and went to town, or so I thought.

The Ribs were way over done in my opinion, past fall off the bone, and did not have much rub on them at all. I was disappointed in the dry, the low flavor rib. I have to tell you if your called RibCity my expectations are much higher than this. Sides where what you expect, mac and cheese, beans and roll. I was ok with the sides, but overall the experience was fair.

Second day I had a customer dinner so I did not have a chance to try the next place and the day after I was wondering if I would have enough time to be able to get my BBQ fix in.

Some of my meetings got over early and I was able to check out of the hotel, get my bags packed, changed out of a suit and tie into jeans and T. Off to Dinks!

I was encouraged when I pulled up, as it was an old school, old building BBQ joint with lots of cars. These are all good signs to get started. I parked and mad my way inside; first thing I noticed is they were settling T-shirts with the name of the place on it. I am feeling good about this, even better when they sit me down and tell me its ALL YOU COULD EAT RIB NIGHT! Well, you do not have to twist my arm. Ribs please!second (2 of 11)

First plate comes with typical sides and I start into some Spares. They had more flavor than the last place, but not a great flavor. More rub, it was OK at best and the ribs were cooked better, but still not great. Candidly, I have had a better rack of ribs at Chills… I didn’t fill up too much and they told me the cobbler was great so I went for the Cherry Cobbler and I will say that it was the best thing I ate the whole time at either place.


Overall, maybe I set my expectations too high, maybe I like my ribs a little more rubbed and cooked competition style. My trip did not produce what I was looking for so I was bummed.

My solution was to come home, do two racks of Spares my way, Vegas Cut, and share them with my wife. Ah, much better!


Hard 8 BBQ – Coppell TX

Hard 8 BBQ – Coppell TX

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Whether it’s the fact that I’m jaded about really good BBQ – I have lived in Dallas, TX / Charlotte, NC and several stops in Florida as well as have extensive travel under my belt which leads me to try BBQ from many different regions and genre’s it takes a lot for me to get excited about a new stop.

I was at a work function and one of my the guys that works for me as well as our customer wanted to go for BBQ – I will say my customer was every knowledge about competition as well as home cooking (found out later he has won 5 Grands) so as we were talking I said sure I’m coming. I always pick a place to try anyway and if you guys are recommending it let’s go.

One caveat to this is I was already full from appetizers and a few Shiners while we were having this conversation so I didn’t expect to order much … I also will say I wasn’t expecting this so I didn’t have a good camera with me only a camera phone so they are not the greatest pictures in the world.

Hard 8 – it’s funny because I lived very close to this location but never had heard of it before. The Coppell location is in the middle of an industrial park so if your setting your GPS to get there don’t get too concerned you will see the smoke after the last turn…
Well, its Texas so it’s a big building with lots of parking around back and jeeps and trucks everywhere there is a piece of grass….

There two lines and for good reason – open air pits with various menu items. All the staples plus a few more things you don’t see everyday.


After waiting in line, which you could have, grab drinks from the front you weave through to see the fireboxes, cast iron grills and pans as well as an all of the beautiful BBQ.
As I said I was stuffed which I thought everyone else was so I figured that there would be some left over when everyone got done. Don’t get me wrong I’m not cheap at all I just don’t like to waste food and while staying in a hotel it’s hard to bring back a big plate of BBQ ☺
I opted for the Brisket (hey I’m in TX) and a chicken wrapped in bacon. As you know from my other reviews I normally go with Ribs but I just wasn’t feeling ribs although that turned out to be a mistake.

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We all ordered and walked through the line that your food is weighed by lbs then you grab fixen’s and deserts. (Cherry Cobbler for me☺)
Well, the brisket was out of this world – I asked for some bark and point sections that I got and it was moist, tender, and had just enough seasoning. This chicken wrapped in bacon was just amazing with a smoky taste… then since everyone was stuffed I started to have things thrown on my plate – Ribs were one. Now I know pork ribs aren’t Texas staple but these were really good spares. It was clear they were cooked perfectly and just enough spice. The one thing that was really surprising to me was the smoked sausage – I am not a fan normally but I have to tell you it might have been the best thing I ate. The smoky flavor and perfect cooking make this something that I will go back just to order. This is not to say that the brisket wasn’t a home run but I was completely surprised about the sausage this was out of this world.



Overall – I have heard that this was one of the best Dallas BBQ restaurants and it didn’t disappoint. I would say that the brisket and sausage were some of the best I have every tasted in my life. I will go back and I recommend you do as well. Next time I head there I will have a better camera and go for more items on the menu. Hard 8 is a Dallas Stop! I would recommend it at the highest level!


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Kojak’s House of Ribs Review – Tampa, FL

Kojaks House of Ribs
2808 Gandy Blvd.
Tampa, FL, US 33611
Phone: 813-837-3774

March 3rd - 365 - RIBS

While on vacation this past week one of my quests was to spend some time at Spring Training games here in Florida the only challenge was that I had a few things I wanted to get done around the house as well as it was unseasonably cold here and I know to most 40-50s sound like a head wave to me its not ☺

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I looked at the schedule each morning and everyday I had been to the stadiums already for the games I was semi interested in. So instead I worked on my list of projects at home and decided I would do some Tampa BBQ tasting. I had several places I wanted to try but Kojak’s had been calling me for some time. I had driven past it one day by accident turning off of Bayshore onto Gandy and whenever I see a sign for RIBs my heart always flutters a little. My favorite order on BBQ menus is Spareribs.

Now if you don’t know my qualifications and found this article on Google or Bing you could search my other pages but needless to say I’m a KCBS and FL BBQ Judge as well as have attended several cooking schools (Myron Mixon’s being the most famous). I have judged 30-40 contests including Grilling in Mesquite, NV and the Lakeland, FL Pigfest to name just a couple you might have heard of. I have three smokers at my house, cook almost every weekend and I know BBQ ☺


Enough about me – on to Kojak’s House of Ribs….

So first of all pulling up to Kojak’s the parking lot is full of cars, which to me is always a good sign. It’s is an old white South Tampa style house with a great wrap around porch. Very cool looking building with old school picnic tables and fans above. Very clean, very retro looking just a cool environment outside – for me again it was a little cold so I opted to eat inside.


Inside could be even a cooler experience – older house with great old hard wood floors and small tables in each room. I went to the left into the small room with the fireplace, which I assumed was a dinning or living room at one time. I told the lady at the front where you could either order your togo or grab a table it was my first time and she gave me a menu. Since I normally bring a camera and I am snapping a few pictures of the place I suspect they know I am writing about the BBQ or the experience but who knows.


Looking over the menu I of course was going to order ribs since I mean that is the name of the place and was trying to figure out a 2 or 3 item combination. I went for 3 what the heck I’m on vacation – Spareribs, Chopped Pork (their most popular I was told) and Chopped Beef. The Chopped came in their special blend of sauces so I assumed a rub and light sauce which was fine. The waitress – and let me say the service as wonderful. Oh I forgot – a Sweet Tea to get started as well… Their Sweet Tea was really nice – not overpowering sweet but enough you could taste the tea and the sweet… really nice.

Sides I always forget about looking at because I’m so ready for BBQ but I also consider that having a great BBQ restaurant you must have great sides… you are ordering a plate of food while when I’m judging at a contest I’m only judging meat… restaurant to me is a little different. The food, the venue, the service and the overall experience to me are important. In a contest I’m in a big room that is normally used for something else and is setup with tables just for this one day (or two) but a restaurant is setup for me to want to come back over and over.


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Back to the food ☺ Getting sidetracked a lot this morning while writing this post.

Choose from Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, Green Beans, Apple Sauce, Macaroni Salad, Potato Salad or Parsley Potatoes… Again I was so interested in the BBQ I forgot to look. So the waitress was nice enough to help me her recommendations were the Parsley Potatoes and the Baked Beans which both sounded wonderful to me.

One other side note about the venue is you are very close to McDill Air Force Base so you get a lot of soldiers in camo in the restaurant – that tells me two things one is it must be good because soldiers know food and I am quite sure they will keep it safe from any issues that might arise. Thank you to all our military for your service!

So almost 800 words and now my food comes ☺

Now this is a plate full of food – exactly what I would expect large amount of sides and large amount of BBQ. There were three sauce options on the table, regular, sweet and hot. I couldn’t take it any longer so I dug into the ribs – first bite was to check tenderness and it was a clean bit with just the perfect amount of tug to know that they knew where they were doing so a second bite leads me to my tasting of the ribs, which were great. Nice smooth rub not over spiced or over rubbed and they were dry ribs (moist of course dry) so no sauce or glaze but that is just fine. Ribs were spot on and very happy…

The Pork and Beef were the mystery to me… now this could just be me but they were way over sauced. They were covered and then sitting in a pool of sauce. I was surprised by how much sauce there was and wondered why you would even put more on the table… but I tired both. Honestly at the beginning I had to look to see which was pork and which was beef – it was hard to tell at first. To me – I want my BBQ to taste like what it is – is it pork? It should taste like pork first and the same with beef. I was a little disappointed in these two meats and I did scrape off the sauce and tried them both and they were cooked great but so hard to tell flavor at that point.


The sides – outstanding I cleared both of them like it was nothing. The baked beans had a perfect snap to them and there was a flavor added to them that I couldn’t figure out but whatever it was it worked great!! I loved it and them. The Parsley Potatoes were highly recommended so I tried them and what appeared to be Red Potatoes with oil, parsley and garlic was a perfect combination.

When the waitress came back she could see what I enjoyed and what I didn’t which is the sign of good service and knowing a customer she brought my bill back and a small stainless restaurant serving cup of their new pulled pork. She said I wanted you to try this and I did… Out of this world. Perfectly cooked, pulled, taste, texture all spot on… I wish I had known and would have ordered that ☺

My overall experience is that I would say Kojak’s Ribs is a great place that I will try again – The Ribs were perfect and I did try the sauces which were all good – but you will have to find the taste your looking for the sweet was the best to me.  The pulled pork that was brought to me at the end was again perfectly done but the I just wish they didn’t over sauce the chopped… maybe it’s what their customer bases wants and I could be wrong which I have been before but to me too much sauce.  Sides were perfect and unique as well as the venue and wait staff were perfect. I will return.

Stamey’s Old Fashioned Barbecue BBQ Review – I guess….

Stamey’s Old Fashioned Barbecue – I guess….


One of the great things I get to do while traveling is try new restaurants and especially with my love for BBQ I normally try to find at least one on a trip to check out. While doing some research on a trip to Greensboro, NC all indications from my web searching was that Stamey’s was the place to go.

I was in a training class while on this trip and asked the teacher who was a native of the area the same question and without hesitation he said the same thing… Stamey’s… he also told me that you had to go to the original one, which was by the Greensboro Coliseum and that one of their claim to fame, is that George W. Bush ate there while he was President. Well – I figured good enough for W. good enough for me ☺


The building was a cool old building with old fashion stools and a counter top bar and it was pretty full for a Tuesday night. Not overall full but full enough for me to think I was getting some good food.

Sat down an asked the waitress for some ribs and a diet coke which as you could tell by my pictures is one of the best things I cook as well as a way I judge BBQ restaurants. To my dismay… No ribs at all and diet Pepsi only… That started my questions about Stamey’s… if you are at all a soda drinker you have your favorite and if its one brand other the other… you really don’t like the other and are disappointed when that’s all they have. No matter – I’m in North Carolina and I lived in the state before what else but Sweet Tea to order… perfect. Still – I couldn’t get over no ribs at a BBQ joint that is suppose to be the best in the city…. One side note about the sweat tea – in NC it’s normally so sweat that you’re filling hurt… in a good way. This wasn’t… in fact I was wondering if I had to add more sugar but I digress.



Well – I figured I was there what the heck. Waitress what is the best thing on the menu I asked? She said the sliced with hushpuppies. Perfect send me an order!

So – my disappointment continued. This was the smallest plate of BBQ I think I have ever gotten. I mean a McRib was bigger:


I was there and I was hungry – so I dug in. The sliced was ok… a little dry but I tried some of their Stamey’s sauce which helped. Of course vinegar based NC sauce. Nothing out of the ordinary just your average sauce.

Best part of the small plate of food was the Hushpuppies – were golden on the inside and crispy on the outside. I finished them all!

With really good service – and I am serious about that the wait staff was as nice as they could be… she asked if I saved room for desert (their peach cobbler was supposed to be awesome I was told by the teacher). I didn’t have the heart to tell her I didn’t have to save room so without being a wise guy I placed an order of cobbler.

It was December and I’m a Florida boy right now so it was really cold outside and I didn’t order with ice cream. The cobbler was simply amazing it was worth the drive and the dry sliced. If you order one thing at Stamey’s… Order the cobbler!


Overall – my first night in Greensboro BBQ was disappointing. No Ribs, No Diet Coke, weak Sweet Tea and a very small pate of food…. I hate to give bad reviews because maybe it was a one-time thing, I got there at the wrong time or something but I was disappointed. I now wonder what W. thought! ☺

SuperBowl BBQ Cook

If you want to follow along with my SuperBowl Cook here you go…. Chicken Thighs, Boston Butt, Spare and Babyback Ribs….



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Got everything Trimmed and Rubbed ready for the smoker … got everything on smoker and starting on the sauces… Hope you enjoy the pictures!

BBQ on the Green Mountian


Well, been spritzing the ribs and butt every 15 mins or so and just getting ready to wrap everything:

Here are the babies:


Not so exctiing of a picture but they are wrapped and here is what they are wrapped in:




Now the Boston:


Well, I left the baby backs on too long and they were over cooked and mushy since I was watching times on the spares I totally forgot that the babies would cook so much quicker. On top of that I had the butt going which I have never cooked so much at once before. I took the chick thighs off for an early snack and they were a big hit. Pulled was great and still eating in as well as the spares were as good as I always make them. Overall a B+ cook. Chicken great, Spares Great, Pulled Good and baby backs fair….



Pulled completed

Chicken Thighs