The faded sign reads “Lew’s Bar-B-Q,” but Lew Strong is not there anymore, so it’s actually Randy’s Bar-B-Q these days. He has a sign too, but the legendary sausage stuffed jalapeños that were a Lew’s trademark are still on the menu. Also on the bill of fare are some of the best barbecue sandwiches in Texoma.
The barbecue, peppers and a pretty good potato salad, are dispensed from the window of a portable building sitting on concrete blocks with a step up made from an old railroad tie. Off to the side is a separate little building that houses the cooker. Cords of firewood, a thin cloud of smoke wafting from the building, and the unmistakable aroma of meat on the smoker verify that some serious cooking is going on here.
There were several cars and trucks in the gravel parking lot, and a short line of customers waiting to step up on the railroad tie to place an order when I arrived around noon. There is no place to sit, so it is either eat in the car or take the food somewhere else, but Randy’s customers don’t seem to mind. Watching Randy Johnson trim the beef, you will see a lot of the meat tossed in a waste bin. Only the top of the line barbecue flies out that sliding window. You can also get barbecue by the pound, sausages and sausages on a stick.
I picked up three sandwiches — chopped beef, ham and rib that had been pulled off the bone — and four stuffed peppers, and headed back to the office to share lunch with my colleagues. The sandwiches are huge, toasted buns piled high with beef, ham and rib meat, douse with a swirl of sauce — slightly sweet and not too hot — pickles, and onions if you want them. The peppers, which are battered and fried, are packed with sausage, and leave your mouth tingling after a big bite.
One of these sandwiches and a pepper is all I can manage, but occasionally I’ll add a small spoon of potato salad for variety. Most of the time, I eat in the car. Unlike revenge, which is known to be best served cold, well-sauced barbecue sandwiches are best eaten hot, so I waste no time getting down to business.
There is nothing fancy here. The entire operation is about as basic as they come, sort of like this review. But the best barbecue is usually pretty basic as well. Meat, smoke, time and patience is the formula, and Randy’s does it well.
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