Thursday, January 5, 2012

Burger joint of the week: Razorback Ribs

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 8:11 AM

SMOKY:  The Ernie Burger at Razorback Ribs.
Smoke is great for ribs and brisket and chicken — but how about a burger? Yah buddy, smoke applied to a burger is excellent, and it’s something you’ll enjoy at Razorback Ribs in Yellville.

We stopped in a couple of weeks ago on our way across the top of the state. The joint is located next to the bridge on Highway 62 in the downtown area. It looks like an old Dairy Queen or the like, but inside it’s comfortable and red and full of t-shirts and posters and other schtuff inside. The t-shirts were masterpieces of double entendre: “Best Butts in Town,” “Save a Vegetable, Eat BBQ” and “Wanna Smell My Pit?” High class there.

Started off with a couple of appetizers, after the waitress insisted we needed to try them, fried mushrooms and fried pickle slices. I’m not much on just any average pickle slices but my dining companion was enamored with these, cross-cut battered and deep fried dills served up with Ranch. I was better with the mushrooms, big button ‘shrooms just salted and then battered. Pretty decent.

My dining companion chose something I would never have chosen, to be honest with you — the Personal Fowl ($6.99). It’s a big plate of round yellow tortilla chips covered in baked beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, smoked chicken and barbecue sauce. It just didn’t appeal to me, you know. But it did give me a chance to try the smoked chicken — and THAT, my friends, was pretty good. Chances are next time I’m through I’ll order up the BBQ Chicken Sandwich.

I do have to tell you before going any further, there is this item on the menu that will either titillate you or disgust you. It’s called Don Allen’s Slop Bucket ($5.99) and it is… well, it sounds like something weird you’d get at the State Fair. It’s layers of pulled pork, baked beans and coleslaw drizzled with barbecue sauce. No, we didn’t try it.

No, what I tried was the Ernie Burger ($5.99), a third pound Black Angus burger with one side. I got waffle fries at the insistence of the waitress. They were pretty good.

The burger… well, Angus burgers in my humble opinion tend to come out a bit leaner than other burgers. Not this one. In fact, it bordered on being a little too juicy. While it hadn’t crusted up all that much, it was just about wet from the cooking process. It had been char-grilled and piled on top of green leaf lettuce, tomato, pickle, red onion and a squirt each of ketchup and mustard. A slice of American cheese had been plopped on top (a little disappointing, since the menu calls for Cheddar) but hadn’t quite melted all the way into the meat.

It didn’t matter, and I’ll tell you why. That burger was smoky. It had been cooked within sight of those ribs likely. It had notes of hickory and paprika and a little brown sugar and some onion in it, and it was tasty. Tasty enough to even mention in my 50 Best Arkansas Burgers I Tried in 2011 list. That good.

We passed on dessert. A third pound burger with fries will really fill you up. But while I was checking out at the counter I noticed this cup. It’s a paper cup that has survived all these years. Turns out I had the right call on what the restaurant used to be — a Dairy Queen location. When construction was happening a few years ago, this cup was found inside an old concrete block. I dunno, I just found this interesting.

Razorback Ribs is open 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Sunday. You can call them at (870) 449-7427 or go check out their Facebook page.

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