Day 168: Dinner at Big R’s BBQ

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Daughter Elissa and grandson Dayan took Greg out to dinner tonight, for Father’s Day. They all graciously allowed me to tag along! I’ve eaten lunch before at Big R’s, many years ago. And I’ve stopped in for a slice of pie to go. This evening, for my first, I ate dinner at Big R’s BBQ, located at 1220 E 15th Street in Joplin.

This restaurant, which features smoked and barbequed meats, and their famous homemade pies, has a quaint and interesting building. The exterior is unimposing and fashioned from wood. Inside there are two cozy rooms, with wooden booths and tables, and a small bar area. The walls are decorated with plaques and signs with funny quotes and vintage items. It’s a down home place for delicious home style meals. Iced tea, water and sodas are served up in large mason jars. The dishes are purposefully mismatched. It’s a fun, casual place to dine. As I looked around, I wondered why I don’t eat here more often. I intend to remedy that.

According to their website, Big R started preparing meats, in 1983, in a homemade smoker, fashioned from a refrigerator shell. What started as a hobby soon became a fledgling business. Big R created a larger smoker using a retired Guy’s Potato Chips truck. He traveled the Ozarks, selling his hickory smoked meats to local businesses. After perfecting his own barbeque sauce, it was time to open a restaurant. That was in 1985. The first Big R’s BBQ opened on Main Street in Noel, MO. This very small place gave Big R the outlet he needed to perfect his loinback ribs, brisket, chicken and pork. His hard work and dedication paid off. A larger restaurant was opened in Anderson, MO. Mrs. R had the kitchen space to create wonderful sides and those incredible pies, using her family’s recipes. Today, daughter Twyla continues the traditions and service, established by her father and mother, in the Joplin restaurant.

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We had a wonderful dinner. I tried the grilled barbeque pork chops. They were so tender and the serving was very generous. I brought half my meal home. Dayan had a cheeseburger with bacon, and the largest plate of curly Q fries I’ve ever seen! It was great to chat and laugh and catch up on each other’s news. We were all full, but you can’t eat at Big R’s without having a piece of pie! We each ordered a slice to go. Keeping with my theme of first experiences, I selected the pie of the month, Strawberry Lemonade Pie. I had one bite before boxing it up. It was a wonderful blend of lemon cream filling with a center ripple of sweet glaze and freshly sliced strawberries.

That bite of tangy sweetness was the perfect end to a great meal. And sharing that meal with family was the perfect end to the day. Thank you, Elissa and Dayan!

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