At many restaurants, when the food supplies start to run low, it’s easy to chop more salad, cook more pasta or procure more hamburger.
The barbecue business is different — creating tender meat with a smoky flavor takes time, a lot of it. That means that when the racks of ribs are sold, when the chicken has flown the coop, when the pork butt is no more, that’s it for the day — regardless of how many customers are still in line.
While this is often frustrating for hungry diners, running out is better than cooking too much food one day and trying to sell it old and rewarmed the next.
At Richard’s Roundup BBQ, owner and award-winning competitor Richard Copeland is dealing with that tricky supply-and-demand issue with varying degrees of success.
On our first visit, the half rack of ribs ($12.99) were tender and had a good smoky flavor although slightly on the dry side. With the addition of one of the barbecue sauces, this was easily remedied. On the next try, however, the bones were chewy, tough and lacking in flavor, rendering them virtually inedible.
Similarly, slices of beef brisket and a mound of pulled pork (part of the two-meat platter, $10.99), dried out before my eyes — possibly because it had spent time in plastic wrap and a warmer.
The highly recommended smoked salmon ($11.99) was once a fine piece of wild fish, and while moist and smoky, it also had a mushy, gelatinous texture.
Happily, the smoked chicken ($9.99) was tender, juicy and well-seasoned and the smoked kielbasa sausage still had snap to it and plenty of spice.
Burgers and smoked meat sandwiches are also on the menu at Richard’s. The Button Buster burger ($8.49) was a dining experience to remember. A 1/3-pound burger, is topped with thick-cut bacon and the aforementioned smoked sausage, then smothered in cheese and grilled onions. Your buttons will definitely be busting. Add a side and a drink for another $2.99 for a combo meal.
Sides, all $1.79, are among the more successful items at Richard’s and deserve more than just a cursory nod. All the recipes were developed by Richard’s wife Elizabeth, owner of Elizabeth’s Catering. The broccoli salad was crunchy and savory. The fried okra side celebrated this Southern vegetable favorite without being gooey or drowned in oil. Creamed corn was in fact, real, fresh sweet corn. The star of the show, however, was the Twisted Tater. A whole potato is spun through a thin slicer and dropped into hot oil for housemade, perfectly salted potato chips.
Turn a Twisted Tater into an order of Pigtails ($7.99) by adding pulled pork and cheese — which makes these “nachos” a Richard’s original.
Between my first and second visits to Richard’s Roundup BBQ, the cornbread recipe changed from a traditional to a gluten-free variety. The newer, gluten-free option was less bready and slightly sweeter—resulting in a better mouthfeel and consistency.
As we sat at the table and looked at the eight years worth of competition barbecue awards lining the walls and listened to classic country from George Jones, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, I wished that Richard’s could find that elusive balance between customers and smoked meat inventory so that every bite was as juicy and fall-off-the-bone tender as the next.
Until then, if you happen to find yourself in Grantsville, Richard’s Roundup BBQ is a good option for some inventive sides and delicious smoked chicken and sausage.
Salt Lake Tribune restaurant reviewer Heather L. King blogs at www.examiner.com/lunch-in-salt-lake-city/heather-king. Send comments about this review to firstname.lastname@example.org or post a response at facebook.com/nowsaltlake.
Richard’s Roundup BBQ
Food • Hhj
Mood • Hhj
Service • HH
Noise • bb
Competition barbecue has arrived in Grantsville at Richard’s Roundup BBQ. Noteworthy sides support smoked ribs, brisket, chicken, sausage and more.
Location • 196 W. Main St., Grantsville; 435-579-3742
Online • richardsroundup.com
Hours • Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Sunday.
Children’s menu • yes
Prices • $-$$
Liquor • No
Reservations • No
Takeout • Yes
Wheelchair access • Yes
Outdoor dining • Yes
On-site parking • Yes
Credit cards • all major