Joe’s knows barbecue

Stillwater-born and Kansas City-bred Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue opens a location near the Bass Pro Shops in Broken Arrow, offering a variety of lip-smacking smoked meats.



Oklahoma Joe’s full slab of ribs feeds three to four people.

You could say I am in hog heaven — or cow heaven — for the legendary Oklahoma Joe’s barbecue has returned to Oklahoma. You many not realize it ever left, as the Kansas City location has claimed all the glory lately. That is about to change.

For the true history, I must digress a bit.

Joe Davidson started Oklahoma Joe’s, a smoker manufacturer, in 1987 while he was a graduate assistant in the agricultural engineering department at Oklahoma State University. In the next two years, sales grew to more than $1 million a year. In 1996, Davidson lured Jeff Stehney, his friend and a barbecue circuit competitor, into opening Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue in Stillwater. A few months later, Stehney opened a second restaurant in a Shamrock gas station in Kansas City, Kan., which he has run ever since.

The smoker business slowly became a burden, so Davidson sold it to Char-Broil. As part of the deal, he worked for the company for a few years, leading him to close the Stillwater location, but in exchange, he learned a lot about the corporate world.

He left in 2000 and started making barbecue instruction videos sold at Walmart. In that same year, Walmart approached him about launching a private-label charcoal and designing grills and smokers — all successful.

He went on to lead corporate team-building sessions for large companies, giving him time to focus on finding the right location for a new Oklahoma Joe’s so he could finally get back into the smokehouse.

On a trip to Bass Pro Shops in Broken Arrow with his wife, Page, he saw that the old Runt’s barbecue restaurant space was available. They secured the location within two weeks. After a whirlwind construction period, the restaurant opened in December. 

In Kansas City, perhaps Oklahoma Joe’s most famous patron is Anthony Bourdain, who exclaimed in his article “The 13 places to eat before you die,” “It’s the best BBQ in Kansas City, which makes it the best BBQ in the world.” 

The new Oklahoma restaurant features many items from the original location. In addition to recipes, the restaurants share meat providers, dry rubs, barbecue sauce and custom-made cookers.

These large smokers earn their keep. Davidson told me they smoke up to 3,000 pounds of meat per day. The brisket and pork butts go “night-night” in the smoker at 7 p.m. and don’t see the light of day until 12 hours later.

In my opinion, that is when the magic happens — the flat side of the brisket is sliced for service, but the point side is re-seasoned, smoked three hours longer, diced and sautéed in Joe’s famous sauce. Burnt ends, as they are known, are “the platinum of barbecue,” Davidson says, and are available daily.

Oklahoma Joe’s also features meaty ribs, smoked turkey and sausage, and smoked bologna.

“You couldn’t open a barbecue joint in Oklahoma without offering smoked bologna,” Davidson says, “but in Kansas City, we couldn’t give it away.”

The baked bean recipe is one of the few differences in the restaurant menus. Davidson and Stehney are still ferocious competitors, including their respective bean recipes, and both have been winners.

“I think mine are better than Jeff’s,” Davidson gloats.

Joe’s “best beans on the planet” feature three kinds of beans (pork and beans, black beans and kidney beans), bell peppers, jalapenos and a hefty dose of barbecue sauce, brown sugar and chopped brisket — the perfect blend of sweet, heat and meat. Davidson also decided to forgo the traditional creamy slaw for one laced with vinegar and spicy mustard — a nice companion to the rich, heavy meats.

Bottles of Oklahoma Joe’s original Kansas City-style sauce — mild and hot — decorate each table. The flavors of both are rich and complex, but personally, I think the hot sauce needs to have more of a kick. 

The restaurant also features counter service.

Before opening, Executive Chef Kelsey Knouse (formerly of Wolfgang Puck Bistro), along with some other kitchen staff, spent a few weeks in Kansas City learning from the experienced pitmasters.

By the time this issue hits newsstands, a second Oklahoma Joe’s will have opened in Cain’s Ballroom. It will serve barbecue sandwiches every show night, eventually opening to serve a full lunch menu. Davidson also hinted that he was keeping his eyes open for another Tulsa location. I think it’s time to get Mr. Bourdain a plane ticket to Tulsa.

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January 2017

Enjoy a story as you walk through the Garden! Every step will be a new page in a book and in your exploration of the garden. The Story Trail will take place on both Saturday, January 14th and...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12; 2 & under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
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Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
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Cost: free

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MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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910 S. Boston Ave.
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Tulsa, OK  74119
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108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
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Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
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Mabee Center
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another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

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MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Tulsa, OK  74119
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Tulsa, OK  74136
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In celebration of Tulsa Artist Fellowship’s first full year of existence, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is teaming up with 108 | Contemporary to host the first curated art exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
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Cost: free

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MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: mainline art bar
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. Oklahoma Center for Humanities Lecture “Beethoven’s World: Society and Culture in a Changing Europe” Panel Discussion featuring Historian...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Tulsa Tyrell Hall
2930 East 6th Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104-9700
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Telephone: 918-587-3802
Contact Name: J.J Cody
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Reynolds Center
3208 E 8th St
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To celebrate the completion of its inaugural class, the Tulsa Artist Fellowship will be exhibiting, Syncretic, at 108|Contemporary. Comprised of 12 visual artists, this class...

Cost: Free

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108|Contemporary
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Tulsa, OK  74103
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In celebration of Tulsa Artist Fellowship’s first full year of existence, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is teaming up with 108 | Contemporary to host the first curated art exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
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another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
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ALL KIDS 13 & UNDER – IT’S FREE! All children age 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will be allowed in to all 2016-17 ORU Athletics ticketed sports for free. This is strictly a...

Cost: $22, $17, $12

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Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
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The Loony Bin Comedy Club
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Telephone: 918-392-5653
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910 S. Boston Ave.
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Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
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To celebrate the completion of its inaugural class, the Tulsa Artist Fellowship will be exhibiting, Syncretic, at 108|Contemporary. Comprised of 12 visual artists, this class...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: 108|Contemporary
Contact Name: Krystle Brewer

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Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
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another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Kaleidoscope is a view into the work of the students who attend The Tulsa Girls Art School. Students attend the program for ten years, developing their visual art skills to a professional...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

More information

To celebrate the completion of its inaugural class, the Tulsa Artist Fellowship will be exhibiting, Syncretic, at 108|Contemporary. Comprised of 12 visual artists, this class...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: 108|Contemporary
Contact Name: Krystle Brewer

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In celebration of Tulsa Artist Fellowship’s first full year of existence, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is teaming up with 108 | Contemporary to host the first curated art exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
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another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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BARBER Summer Music, op.31 SPOHR Nonet, op.31 Rossitza Goza, violin Kari Caldwell, cello Marc Facci, double bass Lyndon Meyer, piano In January, bask in the warmth of Samuel Barber's...

Cost: Various Ticket Prices

Where:
FlyLoft
117 North Boston Ave
Suite 201
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Symphony
Telephone: 918-584-3645
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HULLABALOO REVUE - the inimitable MUST SEE event you've heard about RETURNS in 2017 with TWO ASTOUNDING, SPECIAL JANUARY SHOWS. Come and see what all the hullabloo is about! 8 PM on Friday,...

Cost: $10.00

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Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: Hullabaloo Theatricals
Telephone: 918-640-7170
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Take a tour with a Garden staff member to see what’s providing color, texture and form in the Garden. Cure your cabin fever and recharge with nature for unique views that only winter has to...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12; 2 and under are free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
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Join DVIS for Rooftop Rendezvous! The event will feature brunch menu items from some of your favorite dining hot spots, along with a mimosa bar provided by Mix Co, Bloody Mary bar provided by Inner...

Cost: 75

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15 E. 5th Street
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: Benefits Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS)
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Contact Name: Joan Anderson
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Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew Brady St
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Sponsor: 108|Contemporary
Contact Name: Krystle Brewer

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Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
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In 1917, the Mistletoe Girl Scout Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies  and sold them in the high school cafeteria as a service project. Making the first known sale of cookies by Girl...

Cost: FREE

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220 Elgin Street
Muskogee, OK
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Telephone: 1-800-707-9914
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Cost: $300 Individual tickets

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Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 918-599-7999
Contact Name: Melody Hughes
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Cost: $22, $17, $12

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
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Trivia Night

Cost: $300 for a Table for 10

Where:
Bishop Kelley High School
3905 S. Hudson Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Benefits Bishop Kelley High School
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Cost: $300 Individual tickets

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: The Parent Child Center
Telephone: 918-599-7999
Contact Name: Melody Hughes
Website »

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Toyland Ball, held every January, is The Parent Child CenterÕs annual signature fundraising event. This black tie gala with a whimsical theme offers an elegant evening of dinner and dancing, with...

Cost: $300 per person

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Benefits The Parent Child Center
Telephone: 918-699-0501
Contact Name: Melody Hughes
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another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

Make Comedy Great Again! Tulsa’s longest-running improvisational comedy program in the state of Oklahoma, Laughing Matter, will be performing Saturday, January 21 at the PH Community...

Cost: $8.00

Where:
PH Community House
306 South Phoenix
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Laughing Matter Improv
Contact Name: Jerry Henderson
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More information

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Cost: $10.00

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Hullabaloo Theatricals
Telephone: 918-640-7170
Contact Name: Deric Davis
Website »

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Cost: $35 - $70

Where:
River West Festival Park
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Tulsa, OK  74107
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Telephone: 918-492-3338
Contact Name: Tim Dreiling
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