BBQ, Barbecue, Bar-B-Cue, however you spell it. The cuisine should bring about strong emotion if you were raised anywhere in the rural south. Where I was raised; there was only two kinds of food served on the picnic table at family reunions, fried catfish (noodled) and BBQ. Yes from a young age I was taught the fine art of real BBQ and corrected if I ever referred to grilling as Barbecuing. Most of the teaching came from the family pit master, my uncle Rick Peters. I have revered this man from a young age for his ingenuity and culinary expertise. He just recently fabricated one of the largest mobile smokers I’ve ever seen (see photos), from which to serve friend and family alike. After many years of hands on training, he has passed down to me the smoking techniques and recipes needed to create great BBQ. So, needless to say I’m born and bred BBQ, and I know a good rib when it hits my taste buds.
I travel ALOT and I can tell you that some of the finest BBQ in our great country is served in Oklahoma. One such establishment is Van’s Pig Stand in Norman, OK (original Van’s is in Shawnee). Occupying a former service station of Highway 77, it has the vintage BBQ look to match the taste. I always order the rib plate and “make it a van” which means, add a side of fries. Throughout my travels, I’ve found this to be an Oklahoma BBQ thing. The ribs never fail to exceed by high BBQ standards by falling off the bone and having just the perfect char on the outside, not to hide the beautiful, pink, flavor filled pork underneath. In addition I could write another whole entry on the sauce itself. It’s the kind of BBQ sauce that is good enough to put on a piece of bread and just eat by itself. It’s has the perfect smokey/spicy mixture. The BBQ served at Van’s pig stand is second to none in the country, trust me I’ve tried it all.
Van’s (as Norman locals call it) also holds a special place in my heart. It’s sentimental value came about after countless mid-day lunch meetings with my then girlfriend and now wife, Cassi Peters (the Okie Foodie!). Over a plate of ribs and smoked sausage we discussed our days events, trials and tribulations. Van’s tasty dishes clang to mine and Cassi’s stomachs through mid-term tests and over time football games at Memorial stadium. For these reasons, nothing comes close to Van’s Pig Stand for me!