small bites

Bedlam Bar-B-Q

By Lucas Dunn / Photography By Aaron Snow | April 26, 2017
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The facade of Bedlam Bar-B-Q on Northeast 50th and Lincoln is unassuming, but the best spots usually are. It had a past life as a mini-mart, and now is dishing out some of the most delectable smoked meats on the east side. Upon walking through the door, you’re greeted with a rush of smoky aroma that lets you know you’re in the right place.

It’s common for barbecue joints to be very tight-lipped about their recipes. While owner Jeff Watts refuses to discuss the particulars about his process, he opens all the way up about the lengths Bedlam goes in order to maintain their integrity. With many restaurants switching to cheaper ingredients to save money, Bedlam is holding its ground. “We are judicious about maintaining our quality,” Watts says. “We’re totally committed to our recipes and the quality of the ingredients we put on the plate.”

Bedlam uses a proprietary dry-rub recipe, and while they won’t tell you what’s in it, you’ll appreciate the secret when you’re biting into their tender and smoky ribs. The folks at Bedlam aren’t very concerned with belonging to a certain style, either. “People try to catalogue Kansas City, North Carolina, southern, southeastern barbecue, and I have a real simple policy that meat needs to be delicious with nothing on it,” Watts explains.

Their meats are what has made them famous, but Bedlam also has a unique assortment of side dishes to choose from. They serve all the standards, like cowboy beans, potato salad, and mac & cheese, but other offerings stray from the norm. Watts is very proud to serve their green rice, a recipe handed down from his aunt Ethel. It’s a casserole made with broccoli, cheese, and rice that he insists on taste-testing every day to make sure it’s perfect. The green rice is ultimate comfort food, reminiscent of something that would be served around the Thanksgiving table, and also provides a sneaky way to eat at least some of your veggies!

Recently, Bedlam has added homemade Vietnamese cha giò egg rolls. Watts learned to make these as a youth in a restaurant owned by his godfather. “I get some pretty funny looks from people that come in and see the Vietnamese egg roll on the menu, but it’s the most delicious thing ever, and it totally changes the palate when you have the pork brisket or the sliced brisket.”

> Bedlam Bar-B-Q, 610 Northeast 50th St, OKC

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