As it gets close to one year since I discovered Chowhound on the web and began my quest for quality BBQ in OC and the outer edges of LA County, I decided to head back to Tulsa Rib Company, the first BBQ restaurant I visited when I moved to OC.
I'm not sure why it's taken my this long to visit again, having now been to at least 20 different BBQ places over the past year, but I felt it was time to see how their Q stacks up to all of the other nearby options.
Tulsa Rib does indeed hold its own, and I might consider it the best OC option for BBQ. On a slow weekday at work, I decided to give myself a 1.5 hour lunch break so I could spare extra time to make the 20 minute drive each way.
The restaurant was pretty slow this afternoon, only having a couple of other tables occupied. This place looks like it's been renovated since the last time I visited.
The prices are very reasonable for their lunch plates, as I ordered the beef rib entree. It came with a salad (which I choose tabooli, an intriguing option I've never seen in a BBQ joint), cornbread, Tulsa potatoes (look like fat potato chips), and baked beans. This entree was $9.25, which is a bargain for BBQ in OC.
Now how about these beef ribs. Absolutely excellent. I get two huge beef ribs with the entree, probably 10"-12" in size. Large meat-to-bone ratio, about the largest I can recall since Joey's BBQ in Pomona. Most BBQ places have a 15-20% meat content, compared to the size of the bone. Here at Tulsa Rib, it is about 25%. It doesn't match Joey's, which was about 30%. Little bit of fat, but not much. The meat is extremely tender, almost melting in my mouth. Almost braised short-rib quality good. Almost fall-off-the-bone tender, but not quite. Still, excellent top notch beef ribs that have moved into 2nd place as best beef ribs I've tried in SoCal. Still behind Joey's, but Tulsa Rib moves into #2 position, displacing the Rib Nest and Johnny Rebs. Burrell's beef ribs don't even come close. Chris and Pitts give you 4 beef ribs for the same price, but the quality of the meat isn't even close to Tulsa Rib.
As for the sides, I've never had tabooli before. Coleslaw was the other option, but I've had that so many times that trying something new like tabooli was intriguing. Not sure of its origins, but it tastes pretty good. Flavorful and zesty. Cornbread is top notch, being soft and hot when it arrives in a cupcake-type wrapper. Baked beans are just OK, nothing to write about, while the Tulsa potatoes were pretty good, like fat home-made fried potato chips.
I guess when I started my quest for BBQ last year, I wanted to try new places before I headed back to old places with which I was already familiar. I should have made an exception for Tulsa Rib, because they got some excellent BBQ here. Can't wait to go back to try their baby back ribs, which they have multiple flavor options of smoked, Caribbean, spicy, and Cajun. Even got country fried steak on the menu.
Tulsa Rib Company
954 N Tustin Ave