Monday, January 18, 2010

One Star Ranch (7/10) - 25 Irby Ave., Atlanta, GA 30305

To celebrate the passing of the recent frigid stormfront that decided to park itself atop the eastern seaboard over the past month, I took myself out to a barbecue lunch at another Atlanta barbecue joint that I had yet to frequent.  One Star Ranch has operated in Atlanta in excess of 20 years (formerly named the Rib Ranch) and although its located right in the middle of the Buckhead bar district, I can't recall ever seeing it on any occasion out and about during some of my typical late-night debauchery.  It was the middle of the afternoon, the temperature approximated 65 degrees, and I headed straight to One Star Ranch to try its Texas style barbecue.

I was excited to see an outdoor patio for dining.  Since I was eating alone however, I thought it'd be more appropriate to settle up at the counter and eat in the company of a bartender or waiter whom I hoped would enjoy talking about barbecue, Atlanta, or Texas.  The inside decorum definitely screamed that both the place had history and the owner loved Texas.  The references to the Lone Star state were numerous:  beef ribs on the menu, cow skulls on the wall, numerous Texas state flags, Texas' anti-littering campaign "Don't Mess With Texas" bumper stickers, Lone Star beer signs (although there was no evidence that Lone Star beers were sold on site), and UT Longhorn stickers.

I typically have zero interest in the beef rib.  While one beef rib generally weighs in at over two pounds (inclusive of the massive bone), the meat usually tastes braised and lacking a natural smoky flavor.  The braised consistency and flavor hardly works, but my interest in One Star Ranch's beef ribs was definitely piqued when a gentleman standing near the register swore that they were by far the best item on the menu.  The employee at the restaurant, Patrick, echoed the customer's recommendation and stated that the ribs were indeed the direction I should follow.  Per their collective recommendation, I chose the Normal Rib Combo (1 beef rib, 2 spare ribs,  + 2 sides -- Brunswick stew and cole slaw).

The ribs looked gorgeous.  The size of the spare ribs paled in comparison to the beef rib but looked equally as impressive in sight alone. Both styles of ribs appeared as if they had been perfectly slow smoked before hitting a hot grill for the final stage in their preparation.  The searing of the outside of the spare ribs resulted in  the outside glaze having a sweeter caramelized flavor at the expense of a slightly tougher external consistency.  The trade-off worked well in my opinion but I wouldn't be surprised if traditional barbecue enthusiasts were less impressed with One Star Ranch's alternative final approach.  I then turned my undivided attention away from both the spare ribs and the sides and focused all my effort and energy on the massive beef rib.

My first few bites initially confirmed my apprehension that the meat would taste braised and lacking a solid smoky flavor.  I was able to put my fears to rest once I dove a little deeper into the meat and started picking away at the meat nearest the bone. The combination of meat and fat provided an incredible flavor that I had previously never experienced in a beef rib.  I didn't divert my attention away at all until all the meat had been meticulously pulled away and devoured from the bone which I had to eventually remove from the plate so I could attack my sides.

The beef rib definitely exceeded expectations while the spare ribs and sides were comparative to the other meats I have sampled along my journey.  I'm excited to sample the sausage, pork and brisket over the upcoming weeks on a subsequent trip to One Star Ranch, and if those meats are executed well, I'll definitely increase my score for the Atlanta-based barbecue joint.

One Star Ranch on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. I was pleased to make your acquaintance today and very much enjoyed your post. I told the owner and his wife about you and your "Magical Mystery Meat Tour". They were disappointed that they missed meeting you. We all hope you make it back in soon to try some of our other menu items. We do carry Lone Star beer. Next time you're there, I'll make sure to buy the first one for you. Until then, I'll be checking out your posts. Great blog!

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  2. Thanks Patrick. I tried to make it back to One Star Ranch with the Atlanta BBQ Club but had a conflict that night. I'll definitely be back.

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Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.