Update: Tuff Ranch is now McNary Restaurant & Lounge
As a lover of all things barbecue (not to be confused with grilling) it was high time Mr. and I headed out to Tuff Ranch to try some of their smoky meat goodness. As we maneuvered our way through the golf course parking lot I could tell by the look on Mr.’s face that I had not warned him this BBQ joint was not your standard smoke shack.
There is a certain image that comes to mind when we think of barbecue, usually involving soot stained smokers, bare wood walls and rolls of paper towels. Not to be deterred, Mr. and I entered what looked to be the McNary Clubhouse.
Once inside we decided to head to the bar for happy hour instead of to the more formal dining room. It was a happening place; the waitress was friendly and recommended me a specialty drink while Mr. ordered a happy hour beer. He was disappointed to find that the smaller happy hour price was actually a smaller beer.
We were hungry but not in a hurry, so instead of an appetizer we ordered a cup of their German Beer Cheese Soup. The soup had a nice flavor, but I was surprised to find it thin, I expected more of a hearty thick soup, but it was more of a broth with no noticeable cheese flavor. I actually wonder if they forgot the cheese. Mr. thought it was good, but it was also not what he was expecting.
The waitress offered for us to have dinner in the bar so we opted to stay where we were. For our main course I ordered the pork ribs with the barbecue sauce on the side. For sides I got the fire pit green beans and the saloon apples.
Mr. ordered the tri-tip with the branding iron beans and the cucumber salad. When the waitress came with our food, my ribs were covered in BBQ sauce, but she caught the mishap before she even set the plate down. As she headed back to the kitchen to fix it, I got the chance to steal some bites off Mr.’s plate. The tri-tip had a mild smoke flavor with a light rub, it was tender and moist and perfectly cooked, we were very happy.
The branding iron beans were packed with meat and were tasty, but the cucumber salad was the real surprise. It wasn’t that it was spectacular exactly, but the cool creamy salad was a brilliant side dish for the sweet salty smoky flavors of the meal. I will seriously be looking for a similar recipe to serve at my next smoke-out.
When the waitress returned with my ribs sans sauce, there were garlic mashed potatoes instead of the fire pit beans, so she told me to enjoy the potatoes as well and that she would bring me the beans.
The rub on the ribs was fantastic and they were perfectly cooked. I can honestly say these were the best ribs I’ve had in this town. Their Carolina sauce was my favorite of the three they offered, but I found the light smokiness of the meat to be overpowered by the sauce and ate most of my ribs without it.
The garlic red potatoes appeared to have been mashed mechanically and were gluey, although I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like. The apples had a terrific flavor, but the variation in sizes of slices meant some were undercooked.
When the waitress brought the fire pit green beans they were cooked well, still tender and crisp but oh my goodness were they spicy! I love spicy but I don’t know many people who could handle that level of heat.
The portions were large and we each took home half our dinners to enjoy later. Overall, I would return to order the exact same thing again, which to me is a pretty good indication of how I felt about the meal.
I can see myself craving those rubbed ribs one day and having to make another trip to the golf course…
Tuff Ranch BBQ & Catering
165 McNary Estates Dr. N
Keizer, OR 97303
Posted by Kristi_Nez