Oklahoma’s Still #1 In BBQ Nationwide
If I were to tell you that Oklahoma was #1 in BBQ nationwide, odds are you'd call shenanigans. You'd say something like "Meth? Sure... BBQ? I don't know about that." Truth be told, the numbers are skewed, but Oklahoma is #1 in BBQ in the United States... here's the skew. Oklahoma has more BBQ restaurants per capita than any other state in the nation. I'm not saying we have the best BBQ, but we have more of it than any other state. That's the report that came out in 2014 anyway, and it hasn't yet been revised to show any other state taking our top spot. Oklahoma reigns BBQ supreme.
Since we're on the subject, Oklahoma used to have the best BBQ in the world here. There was a little hole-in-the-wall smokehouse restaurant in Ponca City, Oklahoma called Dougan's Bar-B-Que, and they made the best BBQ in the entire world. Straight up, no competition. It was run by a man named Paul, who got his start in BBQ smoking meats for Head Country BBQ (the people who make the world renowned sauce) located about three miles North of Dougan's in that same Mayberry of a town. Rumors swirled in a small town like they do, there's was an alleged disagreement over recipe royalties, and the one company split into two. I don't know if it's a true story, I just know that was the rumor. Doesn't matter really, both joints are/were legit.
Head Country BBQ is still there. You just follow the smell of smoke and you'll find it right next door to a Rib Crib franchise. As you can guess, the franchise restaurant doesn't do so well next door to the legendary smokehouse. Of course, it's not called Head Country BBQ anymore, it's called Danny's BBQ Head Quarters. It's the same Head Country BBQ people have ate since the 70's, just under a different name. The famous sauce is still mostly owned by Oklahoma investors, and it's still made in that tiny Oklahoma town. If you decide to make the trip for the best chopped beef in the world, know the ribs and brisket are good too. If you're a hot link fan, don't waste your money on 'em. They're not worth it.
If you want to become a pitmaster yourself, you need to know three things...
1: You cannot skimp on the quality of wood you need to smoke meat.
2: You don't baste BBQ in sauce while it cooks. Salt, pepper, smoke. That's it.
3: BBQ sauce isn't supposed to be sweet. Grown adults don't eat candy for dinner.