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TLO Restaurant Review: Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q

“I saw her today, I saw her face, It was a face I loved and I knew I had to run away…” - Jackie DeShannon

While not the “best” anniversary, it’s been a full year and a day since I had my most recent stroke. A full year. I have been trying to claw my way out of this toxic hole, watching every step and trying not to repeat my missteps, for what seems like as long as I can.

But, to be honest, I have been pretty lonesome lately, thinking about Maria—not her real name.

We were together about three years, and off and on since then. While we were not ‘official”—her esoteric religious convictions about the Catholic faith and so on always were against the odds—but we were actually good, for the most part.

I, you know, miss her.

After the recent hospitalizations and the brutal aftermath, I tried to give her a ring and how she was doing. After the customary greetings and salutations, she told me that she met someone. Since then, it has been a flat tone on the dial.

I stopped at Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, 3450 Chautauqua Ave. in Norman, for some medium-grade gasoline—they have gas there, you know—and I thought about it her, because we always did like the place. We would stop at the Norman location, but I have seen them in Texas, and with locations in New Mexico and Arizona.

So, I parked the truck and thought I would go again, for old times’ sake.

Walking past the filling station with Cokes, candies, and barbecue sauce, I waltzed into the big dining room.

Across from the iced river of bottled sodas, and after you make your meat decisions, your order is given to you in a big, blocky tray, along with a collectible plastic cup for your troubles.

I went with a main course trio of Spicy Chop, Jalapeno Sausage Link, Green Chile Stew, paired with with fixings like sliced pickles and onions, and a buttermilk pie for dessert.

I began my conquest with the half-pound Spicy Chop ($8.99) – a rollicking side of barbecued beef, cut up, recycled, and renumerated until it is mostly spiced mush.

It's pretty threadbare for what you get. The meat is seemingly dried out of most of its nourishing juices, but, with a handful of pretty white bread, it was a good enough sandwich, for the most part.

I next turned to what I really wanted to try – the pair of Jalapeno Sausage Links ($7.49) sweltering in the February winter. Packed with astounding heat, they are pretty explosive, for the most part. With every bite having a dynamite charge, it might be the salvation in waiting for…if not for their Green Chile Stew ($2.99)!

Where has this been all of my life? Potatoes and other stew-ish vegetables, with a heathy dash of lean beef and worthy green chiles, this is a new revelation. Despite my small cup, I think it might be the best thing on the menu—possibly more than the barbecue!

I had a bit of Buttermilk Pie ($4.29)—it was okay, but not necessary—and I finally left Rudy’s Bar-B-Q just how I found it, with an old heartbreak but a new favorite dish. But, even more, just to say “Vaya con Dios…” to Maria and, sincerely, wish her the best. Cómpralo ya!


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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