Tuff Ranch BBQ

Update: Tuff Ranch is now McNary Restaurant & Lounge
Oh my word!  How long had it been since N and I enjoyed a good date night?! There are no good excuses, other than stresses at his work making it tough to justify taking him out of the comfort of home. Aha! This calls for his favorite--barbecue!

After a recent comment on Tuff Ranch's preview post I wanted to see how things were going now that they'd been open for a few months . We arrived on the late side, around 7:45 PM.  We were surprised to see 3 or 4 tables still occupied in the dining room.  It was tempting to go sit in the bar, where most of the diners were, but a table by the inviting fire was even more tempting.  Perfect for a chilly, rainy day!

We both chose a glass of Widmer Pitchblack.  It didn't have the complex flavors I'm accustomed to when drinking a porter or stout, but it was smooth and rich.  A good match for barbecue.  I ordered the barbecued chicken with a side of green beans ("greenies") and a side of sliced apples cooked in amaretto and cinnamon ("saloon apples").  N picked their tri-tip, with a side of green beans and a side of baked beans.  Instead of our usual salad we couldn't resist the German beer and cheese soup.

The rich and flavorful soup didn't disappoint.  The cheese flavor was strong enough to balance with the beer--savory and hearty.  Our nicely put together plates arrived a short while later with a basket of corn bread.  My green beans, cooked with onions and bacon, were young and tender, but still with a slight crunch.  The saloon apples were a welcome change from the usual barbecue sides.  They also were cooked just to my liking, with just a slight crunch without being mushy.  The cinnamon flavor overpowered the amaretto, but was still delicious.  My barbecued chicken leg was succulent served with a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce.  While I enjoyed my dinner and the atmosphere, I'm not swayed by my belief that Adam's Rib does bbq better.  Although, next time I'd like to try their ribs to see if that will change my mind.

N's experience was different from mine.  He attributes it to his brain still dealing with work, but I think it's only fair to add his opinions.  Over eight years ago, we ate at a then popular bbq spot in Eugene, West Brother's BBQ.  Ever since that meal, we haven't found a tri-tip that can match theirs (not even at the present day West Bros).  He wished that his tri-tip had been served with the sauce on the side and that the sauce had been less sweet.  N also wished his tri-tip had been more tender.  Plus, he said it was too much with the same barbecue sauce in the baked beans.

We decided to share a piece of their carrot cake.  The two of us agreed, it was a delicious ending.

165 McNary Est. Dr.
Keizer, OR, 97303
Mon - Wed: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thurs - Fri: 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Sat: 8:00 am - 12:00 am
Sun: 8:00 am - 10:00 pm


Salem Man said...

BBQ sauce on the tri tip? Ugh! I wish a restaurant around here would cook tri tip Santa Maria style. Cooked over oak wood it is one of the best cuts. click here for videoandclick here for recipe. Salsa on the side instead of bbq sauce.

Tuff Ranch BBQ said...

KandN...Thanks for coming out to the Ranch..Little leauge kept me from going table to table last night. Our Tri-Tip is cooked for 12 hours over Oak and Maple and should have come with sauce on the side. We love a good BBQ challenge and believe our meat is as good as it gets!!!! I think there is plenty of room for two good BBQ joints in Salem....I'm a little partial to our place....but that other spot out South does a pretty good job too!!! Thanks for keeping an eye on us operators and come on out later this spring to enjoy our patio and some ribs..!!
John and Alaina

KandN said...

Salem Man, Yeah, N was sad not to have sauce choices with which to create something to his own liking.
Santa Maria style? Sounds intriguing!

John & Alaina, I'm so glad to see your comment/explanation! And now I'm thinking ... how fun would it be to have a BBQ throwdown between you and Adam's Rib down at Riverfront Park some Summer weekend?! Maybe Vegan's Nightmare could be one of the judges. Add Wandering Angeus Cider and we'd have the perfect party. :>) Hmmmm ...

Vegan's Nightmare said...

I STILL haven't gotten over to Tuff's yet, but I tell ya, it's in my near future. Like N, I'm picky when it comes to tri-tip. I'm looking forward to having meat that "is as good as it gets."

And I sure I could find a way to fit some BBQ judging in my busy schedule. It would be a sacrifice, but I'm willing to do what it takes to make the world a better place.

northwesthippie said...

One thing I would like to see from our local BBQ joints is the vinegar-based sauce that Smokin' Swine used to have...a different scene from typical BBQ, Carolina style, if I recall. Not sweet, not even reddish. It was great on the pulled pork. Not sure what happened to them, but they were pretty damn good.

KandN said...

VN, Now we need to get the two places to sign on to the idea. Where's an organizer when you need one??
NWHippie, I still miss Smokin' Swine and their Carolina style BBQ. (sigh) The last I heard they were going to put some kind of product on grocery shelves, but that's a difficult road to navigate.

TuffRanchBBQ said...

KandN...we couldn't sleep last night thinking about how fun it would be to have a BBQ throw down!!!! We would like to volunteer to host it on our patio this summer!!! We can seat about 60ppl out there and we can hold about 120 in that area in general....You put it together and we will make it happen. Let's get the mayors for Salem and Keizer as judges!!!!

FYI...We have three sauce choices available for each guest...honey, sweet & zesty, and Texas 4 alarm...I'm sorry the server missed that!!!!

Thanks again...Salem/Keizer is such a great place to be, we are sooo excited to be back!!!

John and Alaina

RyanDigsCoffee said...

I haven't had the tri-tip yet, but I had the BBQ chicken. Fan-freaking-tastic. I can't wait to bring the gf there to try the tri-tip.

KandN said...

John & Alaina, Please don't think we're ignoring you. We're brainstorming. May take some time. Have to say, this BBQ throwdown could be awfully fun. :>)

Vegan's Nightmare said...

I stopped in for lunch today (because of this dang review) and had the Montana Ranch Classic with Saloon Apples while my co-foodies each had the Tuff Ranch Burger.

While the prices are a bit on the high side for my normal lunch, the meals were absolutely SUPERB.

KandN said...

VN, Weren't those Saloon Apples great?

lori davis said...

That is where we meet Debby and Tim who drive down from Lake Oswego.We missed the place when it was closed but again going there.