By now, we are sure that you all know we love barbecue. Being from the Midwest, we have sauce coursing through our veins. Traveling across the continent has given us opportunities to sample this smoky cuisine in some unexpected locations. A visit to Oklahoma City would not be considered an unusual destination for ‘Cue. When it was time to narrow down our restaurant choice to just one, well that is when it got tough. After doing a lot of research, we identified 7 reasons to chow down at Bedlam Bar-B-Q. With a long morning, filled with exploring the Oklahoma History Center, we were famished by the time we arrived for our late lunch. No need to worry, Bedlam pulled out all of the stops to make sure we were fueled up for the back half of our day.
We want to thank Visit OKC and Bedlam Bar-B-Q for their hospitality. Rest assured all opinions are our own.
#7) Ordering Old School
Finding Bedlam Bar-B-Q wasn’t difficult, as it lies just off the main drag. Being located on the northern half of the city worked out perfectly, as this was our last stop before the drive back to Kansas City. Stepping through the door, we found ourselves in a galley style chamber, where patrons order their food. Using the “order here and we’ll bring it to you” style is synonymous with many of the well-established barbecue joints we have visited. It actually reminded us of one we have in KC, that got its start in Oklahoma.
While Oklahoma Joe’s has since changed its name to Joe’s KC, it still has its roots from the years it was connected with the Midwest smoker manufacturer. Fortunately for us, our late arrival had ensured we wouldn’t face the lines that can be found during lunch rushes. In fact, being a weekday, we were one of a handful in the house for a 2:00 mealtime. Maybe we need to rethink our dining times to avoid the rush more often.
Since our visit had been pre-scheduled, we were planning on sampling a variety of the dishes available at Bedlam Bar-B-Q. We still took time to review the menu, so we could see if anything unusual popped out at us. They have a good selection of plated dinners to choose from. We found that owner Jeff Watt has chosen the brisket and hotlink sandwich as his favorite. The range of smoked meats was quite familiar, but we were surprised to see the addition of smoked bologna. Now that’s not something you see at most barbecue joints. They also offer up half of a smoked chicken, still on the bone. That sounded like the makings of a good dinner for two.
#5) The Decor
Now that we had seen a sampling of the dishes available, it was time to check out space. If you have ever visited Oklahoma and spent some time in the state, then you know it has quite a storied history. At Bedlam Bar-B-Q, they embrace this colorful past, and it shows through in the decor. The walls are covered with memories of days gone by when cowboys and Indians still roamed the lands. It is easy to get caught up in checking out the decor, and before you realize it, your food has arrived.
#4) Seating Choices
At most restaurants we visit, we find a couple of choices in seating. Usually, it will be tables or booths. Sure you can find both of those at Bedlam Bar-B-Q, but it doesn’t stop there. Looking for a real conversation starter? Why not belly up to the piano table, where you can dine with friends in real style. Since it was just the two of us, we didn’t sit there, but don’t think it wasn’t tempting. I did plop down on one of the stools, just to check it out. By the way, the photo of the laser cut stool at the top of the page is located at the piano table.
#3) Connect With Nature
Since we are on the subject of unusual seating choices, let’s not forget the outdoor patio at Bedlam Bar-B-Q. This wonderful setting is used for special events and most frequently in the evenings. We can imagine sitting in the shade of the willow tree, as the gentle Oklahoma breezes flow by. Nearby, the sounds of live music would play, by one of the local bands that frequent this place. Of course, there would also be the tempting aroma of the smoky dishes being prepared nearby. Man, we wish our visit would have allowed for a firsthand taste of that experience.
#2) Sides Galore
Okay, it’s time to talk about the food at Bedlam Bar-B-Q. While most places you will visit focus on the meats, the staff at Bedlam offer up some of the best sides we have sampled. When they delivered our food, they wanted us to have a good assortment to choose from. Clearly, they know how much we can eat. The flavors they pack into their dishes bring pleasure with each bite, even from some old standards. For instance, the creaminess of the Mac & Cheese makes it melt in your mouth. We found the same attention to detail with their Baked Beans and Cowboy Beans.
These sides, while exceptional, are commonplace at barbecue joints. When they delivered our dishes, there were a couple of sides that stood out from the field. Seeing Tabouli Salad served caught my attention immediately. This Mediterranean based dish is a mix of finely chopped vegetables and Bulgur wheat. With olive oil and a lemony base, it offered a refreshing lightness to our meat-heavy meal.
Sitting next to the Tabouli was a dish that clearly came from a casserole-style creation. Our server was quick to point out that this is their famous Green Rice. It is made with a recipe that has been handed down through Jeff’s family. Our first bite told us that it was a dish we were very familiar with since it is one that Crystal often makes at home. The mix of rice, broccoli, and cheese offer a delightfully creamy texture. The taste had us coming back for more bites, and this was the first dish to be emptied.
#1) The ‘Cue
While all of these sides offered plenty of reason to visit Bedlam Bar-B-Q, let’s not overlook the main attraction. The top reason we visit barbecue restaurants is to sample the smoky meats that they produce. Even before our first bite, we were already savoring the smoky scent found when we approached the parking lot. Once everything was laid out in front of us, it was hard to refrain from tasting it. I learned firsthand what Crystal goes through whenever I ask her to pose with the food. I feel like I earned an extra portion just for my patience.
Our plate was filled with pulled pork, smoked turkey and chicken, tender brisket, and some of their notable dry-rubbed ribs. With so much going on, they had to put the Polish and hotlink sausage on its own plate. Finally, it was time to dig into this smorgasbord of smoky goodness. With each bite, we could taste the care and time put into making the taste delicious without the need for sauce. To us, this is the sign of a confident barbecue chef, who has mastered the ability to replicate his dishes daily.
You can only imagine the smacking lips and satisfied taste buds that took place this day. The tasting passed far too quickly, and soon we were noticing dishes become empty. We each gravitated toward our favorites, but the delectable flavor still tempted us to mix in some of our less frequented cuts. Even though we gave it our best, there was just no way that we could complete all of this food. After thanking the staff for this unbelievable meal, we rolled ourselves out to the car, to begin our journey home. As the mile markers whizzed by, we chatted about our successful venture in Oklahoma City. When is your next trip scheduled for this amazing destination?