Watts BBQ: Delicious family recipes put to use at food trailer
BY SCOTT CHERRY World Restaurant Critic
Thursday, September 29, 2011
6/28/12 at 8:10 AM
Derrick Watts is a welder by trade, but a recent career move was sparked by a desire to return to his childhood roots.
"For many years my dad owned Watts BBQ on Lake Eufaula," Watts said. "I grew up in the business."
He said he used to sell homemade barbecue sauce on job sites, but it wasn't until he was working on a project in Muskogee that he began thinking about cooking barbecue for a living.
"I started selling pulled pork and chopped brisket sandwiches to the guys when we got to work in the morning," Watts said. "That was usually about 5:30, and a lot of the guys went ahead and ate them for breakfast. That seemed odd to me, but the thing was the sandwiches sold."
He said he didn't have the funding to open a full-fledged restaurant, so he started looking into stand-alone trailers. One day he stopped by the Babbs Boys trailer at 31st Street and Sheridan Road just to ask them for advice about going into the business.
"They told me they were looking to sell the trailer, so I got with my banker and we made the deal," Watts said.
Watts painted the trailer red and white, put up his own signage and opened for business June 29.
We stopped by the trailer on a beautiful evening and ordered two two-meat dinners ($8.99 each) and a serving of peach cobbler ($2) to share.
My two ribs were long and meaty, almost charred on the outside, tender inside and barely holding to the bone. Sausage was mild, yet flavorful, and both pulled pork and chopped brisket were moist and tender with a slightly smoky flavor.
Dinners come with a choice of two sides, and, as a group, they were among the best I ever have had at a barbecue joint; at least, they hit my wheelhouse. They all had a simple, homemade quality to them.
The coleslaw was a mix of crisp green cabbage, purple cabbage and carrots, lightly seasoned and perfectly balanced. Baked beans were dark, meaty and a little spicy, while the mayo-based potato salad tasted very near to what my wife makes for family gatherings - a blend of mostly mayo, potatoes, bits of pickle and a pinch of mustard.
Watts BBQ has two sauces, sweet and mild, although neither was what I would call sweet, and both had a little bite. The flavors complemented the meats and didn't taste like something off the grocery shelf.
Watts said he uses a dry rub with 15 seasonings for his smoked meats and bastes the meats with his sauce during cooking.
My wife is not exactly a big fan of peach cobbler, but she battled me for spoonfuls of this one. Again, it was not a complicated dish, but the flavor and texture were excellent.
"The cobbler is my mother's recipe," Watts said, "and I think it's amazing."
In addition to the meats we had, Watts BBQ also offers bologna, hot links and a turkey leg. Family packs, party packs, meat by the pound and catering services also are available.
Watts said he is a nephew of former football star and Congressman J.C. Watts and cousin of Trey Watts, who plays football at the University of Tulsa.
"Trey hasn't made it here yet, but J.C. came by for something to eat before the OSU-TU game," Watts said.
Original Print Headline: Delicious family recipes put to use at barbecue trailer
31st Street and Sheridan Road
Atmosphere: food trailer
Service: walk-up counter and
(on a scale of 0 to 4 stars)
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday,
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday-
Long, meaty barbecue ribs are a star attraction at Watts BBQ. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
Derrick Watts gave up a welding career to open a barbecue trailer at 31st Street and Sheridan Road. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World