Arizona > Goodyear: Rudy's "Country Store" Bar-B-Q

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
Rudy's "Country Store" Bar-B-Q
845 N Litchfield Rd
Goodyear, AZ 85338
https://rudysbbq.com/

Date of Visit: January 7, 2020

At the time of writing, Rudy's has 45 locations across Texas (35), Oklahoma (2) , Colorado (2), Arizona (3) , and New Mexico (3). The location in Goodyear was the first one we encountered on I-10 while driving from San Jose, CA to College Station, TX when I attended Camp Brisket at Texas A&M University.

My wife and I pulled into the parking lot around 6:30PM after a long day of driving. We were hungry, but I was wary of Rudy's for two reasons:

  1. Rudy's is a regional chain Texas barbecue restaurant, and my experience with another Texas chain that begins with "D" and ends with "ickey's" has not been great; and
  2. Experience tells me that barbecue that's been held until 6:30PM is usually not as good as barbecue served when a restaurant opens for lunch.
Our hunger overtook us, as well as the fact that this would likely be our only chance to try Rudy's during this roadtrip, so we gave it shot.

The restaurant was not super-busy on a Tuesday night during the dinner hour and we quickly made our way through the short line to the order counter. The size of the place and all of the visual stimulation was overwhelming at first...the bright colors, the signs, products, knickknacks, and flags hanging from the ceiling...there was something to look at on almost every surface of every wall...it was a lot to take in.

We were given a friendly greeting at the front door as well as at the order counter. The ordertaker asked if this was our first visit to Rudy's (I'm sure he could tell by the "deer in the headlights" look on our faces) and we said it was. He responded by going to the cutting table and bringing back small samples of brisket, turkey, spicy chop, and creamed corn for us to try. Liking what we'd tasted, we ordered half a pound of lean and fatty brisket, four baby back ribs, a quarter pound of smoked turkey breast, half a regular sausage, potato salad, creamed corn, banana pudding, and a slice of pecan pie. Four slices of white bread were included with the order.

I like to order smoked turkey breast when it's on the menu at a barbecue joint, and Rudy's turkey was moist and tasty. I'm sure it was injected with something, but that was OK, it ate just fine on a slice of white bread with a drizzle of barbecue sauce. We also really liked the fatty brisket (moist with a great crust on the outside, we remarked afterwards how good it was despite how long it must have been held for service at 6:30 in the evening) and the sausage was good but not special. The baby back ribs had a good crust on them and a nice flavor, but the ones we got were kind of runts even for baby backs. Least favorite was the lean brisket. It had good beef and smoke flavor, but it was a bit tight, a bit dry, and cut a bit thicker than the sample we'd had at the counter, all of which affected how it ate.

Rudy's offers two house barbecue sauces, an original "Bar-BQ Sause" (yes, with an "s" instead of a "c"...I guess that's part of the "country store" charm) and another called "Sissy Sause". The sissy version is sweeter than the original version, which has a bit more peppery heat. Both were fine when used sparingly on Rudy's meats. The stoppers in the bottle necks insured that you had to shake really hard to get just a little bit of sauce dispensed on your meat--there was no way Rudy's was going to let you oversauce their Texas barbecue! Both sauces were served at the table alongside a bottle of hot sauce, large shakers of salt and cracked black pepper, and a small bottle of toothpicks.

My wife really liked the potato salad, it seemed very similar to the kind she grew up eating in Michigan (that's part of North Texas, right?). Nice chunks of potato, creamy mayo, a little mustard and sugar, celery, sweet relish, and red peppers. We both liked the creamed corn...very creamy and piping hot, good corn flavor. Of the two desserts, the pecan pie was the winner. The banana pudding looked better than it tasted...a lot of whipped cream on top, the pudding and Nilla Wafers were fine, but the bananas had an off flavor, perhaps too green.

As for beverages, I had sweet tea in a souvenir cup, which was sweet but not overwhelmingly so, and my wife had a Shiner Bohemian Black Lager, a beer that she'd never tried before and really enjoyed.

--

At some of the older Rudy's locations, there's a sign out front that says, "Rudy's -- The Worst Bar-B-Q in Texas". I guess they're poking fun at themselves, but we didn't see that sign at the Goodyear location and I would have to say that it's not true. There's certainly lots of barbecue in Texas that's much better than Rudy's, but I've also had barbecue at some famous places in Texas that was worse than Rudy's. I'm not going to tell you to skip Texas joints like Franklin Barbecue or Louie Mueller, Snow's, Micklethwaite, Pecan Lodge or Cattleack and go to Rudy's instead. Heck, if you've got the time, you'll find better barbecue in Phoenix at Little Miss BBQ. But if you're passing through the greater Phoenix area on I-10 and you've got a hankerin' for some very serviceable barbecue, don't hesitate to pull off the interstate and give Rudy's "Country Store" Bar-B-Q a try. We'd do it again without hesitation!

P.S. I mentioned we tried a sample of "spicy chop", a finely chopped mix of brisket, turkey, pork loin and prime rib that's cooked in BBQ sauce and served on a plate or on a sandwich. I can only assume it's a way of using yesterday's leftovers...but very tasty. My wife would like to try it on a sandwich some day.

Here are some photos I took. Enjoy!



















Continued...
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member

Each meat was wrapped in paper, so it's hard to see on the tray.


Here's the last slice of lean brisket. Looking a bit dry here at the end of the meal.


Here's the last bit of fatty brisket. We ate almost all of it without getting a photo. While it looks a touch dry here, it had good moisture, a great crust, and good beef flavor.


I made a turkey sandwich on white bread with a drizzle of BBQ sauce. Enjoyed it!


Baby back ribs had good flavor, were moist, and had a nice crust on them. Size matters, however; these were smallish.


Sausage was tasty but average. Thought it was cut weird for half a sausage. Don't you?


Here's a shot of the sides and desserts.


My wife really liked the potato salad.


The last bite of the creamed corn.

Continued...
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member

Pecan pie was the winning dessert.


The banana pudding didn't eat as good as it looked.










Noticed this on the outside of the building as were were leaving. Not sure if it's really the pit firebox, but kind of cool either way!
 

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB All-Star
Great review ! We have a Rudy's in Norman, maybe 15 miles from here. I've not been there. The word here on Rudy's as a chain is similar to most chains, quality varies at each location. Lotsa people like the Norman location, however.

Brisket price was very reasonable, about 17 or 18 per pound. Most I've seen lately is $20 and above.

That's my favorite style of potato salad also, it sounds similar to my Grandmother's , chunks of potato, mustard and mayo, with sweet relish.

The wash basin reminds me of the old school barbecue joints I would visit with my Dad in the 1960's. From the town I grew up, we had one about 9 miles away and another 30 miles away. And they both had a wash basin out front. And great ribs.

How barbecue joints hold meats is a subject I've been specially interested in lately and have been looking for info. How they keep meats in warmers without carryover cooking. Travis Clark, of Clarks Crew BBQ team who just won the Jack Daniels and has won the Royal, has opened a joint here and I'm seeing a lot of complaints about dry brisket. And he's serving wagyu.

And whether a joint should even try to serve dinner. Is the extra evening business worth an unhappy customer or bad reviews ? And at some point, they have to compromise and serve reheated meat from the previous day. I don't see how they can measure demand with any accuracy.
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
How barbecue joints hold meats is a subject I've been specially interested in lately and have been looking for info. How they keep meats in warmers without carryover cooking. Travis Clark, of Clarks Crew BBQ team who just won the Jack Daniels and has won the Royal, has opened a joint here and I'm seeing a lot of complaints about dry brisket. And he's serving wagyu.
There was some discussion about this at Camp Brisket. Many Texas BBQ joints are finishing their briskets in the morning, several hours before they open at 11AM for lunch. The briskets are wrapped in peach paper earlier in the process during the night. When finished, they are left in the paper and placed on cooling racks to arrest the cooking process, but once down below 170*F they're moved into an electric warming box and maintained right at 140*F. This seems to be the optimal process for holding brisket even into dinner service.

Still, I'd rather eat a brisket fresh at 11AM than held at 6PM.
 

Jim Lampe

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Thanks for the review Chris...
Looks like a Texas "McDonalds" to me... I'll pass (by)
We're heading to Phoenix 1st week in March for BrewCrew Spring Training and yes, we will stop at Little Miss BBQ. (at least once)
 

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB All-Star
There was some discussion about this at Camp Brisket. Many Texas BBQ joints are finishing their briskets in the morning, several hours before they open at 11AM for lunch. The briskets are wrapped in peach paper earlier in the process during the night. When finished, they are left in the paper and placed on cooling racks to arrest the cooking process, but once down below 170*F they're moved into an electric warming box and maintained right at 140*F. This seems to be the optimal process for holding brisket even into dinner service.

Still, I'd rather eat a brisket fresh at 11AM than held at 6PM.
In Franklin's book, he says he pulls brisket at 1 am. He's not clear how long they rest before going into the warmers. But he's done serving by 2 or 3 pm. I gotta think if the brisket stayed in the warmer for dinner service, then that's not good.

But does that result in dry brisket ? Supposedly, over cooked brisket turns to mush. Me, I have a fault of pulling meats too early and I don't recall ever over cooking a brisket :)

I do know when I reheat brisket, it becomes dry, mostly very dry .
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Thanks for sharing Chris. Never been too Rudy's or Little Miss BBQ avoid the Phoenix area at all costs. Although if I had a good excuse I would like to try Little Miss BBQ I've heard some good things about them. Hope you had a good time and a safe trip.
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
I do know when I reheat brisket, it becomes dry, mostly very dry .
Brisket flat especially turns dry right before your eyes at the lunch table. It oxidizes when exposed to air and goes from moist looking to dry looking. That's just its nature...unless you do all the tricks that competition teams do with phosphate injections, etc. to hold moisture in the meat.
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for the review Chris...
Looks like a Texas "McDonalds" to me... I'll pass (by)
We're heading to Phoenix 1st week in March for BrewCrew Spring Training and yes, we will stop at Little Miss BBQ. (at least once)
I may be down around March 8, taking in Giant's, A's, and who knows.
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Mr. “Ickeys” has recently come here to Kalamazoo, went once, meh. Not awful, not spectacular either.
If I feel a serious crash coming on, I might stop again but, I’m only ten minutes from home from there too.
 

Phillip Moore

TVWBB Member
We have several Rudy's here in Austin, TX. They are separate from the chain and run by K&N management and have slightly different side options (and no potatoes) and from my experience are a bit better run than the corp chain. I like Rudy's a pretty good bit but as you say there are BBQ places that are better and are considerably harder to eat at (and there are many many many that are worse). When people come to visit and ask for a BBQ recommendation I try to gauge what their true interest level is. Franklin's isn't for most as its just so hard to eat there. Some other fantastic places could be likely to run out of food before your guest gets there. So Rudy's is a safe bet. It is "real" BBQ as in they are making it in a traditional way with wood and what not. Its pretty tasty and consistent.

I've learned from eating there over the years to just ask for what you want and you can have a better experience. Want moist with a lot of crust? Ask for outside cut. Want a good size rib and not the small end rib you might get randomly? Ask for center cut.

Thanks for sharing your review! Its fun to hear what other people think about places I go to all the time.
 

MikeLucky

TVWBB Fan
I live about 7 minutes from the OKC Rudy's. It's like others have said, it's nothing to make a special trip for as far as serious BBQ goes. But they are, in my experience, very consistent and they have a few things that are very very good. We don't go there often, but when we do wife and I get their super spud with pulled pork. Big potatoes always cooked well, pulled pork, and all the normal baked potato items sour cream/butter/cheese. Pulled pork is easy but they still do it pretty well. I also get their green chile stew which is always fantastic. It's a traditional recipe except they use their smoked pork in it and it is always good. The stars of their lineup are probably their breakfast tacos/wraps. They have a slew of options including traditional breakfast stuff but also brisket, spicy chop, and jalapeno sausage options.

Overall, it's a decent option for a few things, if it's convenient or somewhat near you but not any kind of destination BBQ joint. If you are visiting or passing through a city with them, their breakfast is worth the stop, for sure.
 

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