Thursday, June 16, 2005

Feeling Saucy

I haven't had Dink's Barbecue sauce in about twelve years. After that amount of time, I'm afraid I may have forgotten what it tastes like.

That doesn't mean I don't crave the stuff.

There is a portion of my brain where proteins have etched a memory of the pure bliss and satisfaction that occurs when eating anything with this sauce on it. That's why I had to call up Jesse in Bartlesville, Oklahoma (I don't know Jesse, he's just the guy they put on the phone). He's going to ship four bottles to me.

I was introduced to the sauce back in the early 90's when I went on a business trip (my very first) to Nowata, Oklahoma. We drove to Bartlesville for lunch at Dink's. I don't know if the place has changed much but it was pretty non-descript back then. It could have been any restaurant that offered any bill of fare, anywhere. But it wasn't just any restaurant and they served barbecue in Oklahoma.

After we sat down in the restaurant I didn't really have a chance to order. Our hosts just told the waitress to bring out platters of meat. I remember along with the usual smoked brisket, pulled pork and ribs there was barbecued bologna on the tray. Mmmmm. . . barbecued bologna.

Everyone at the table was wearing a suit (or at least sleeves and ties) and I was trying to display my best business manners. That's when I noticed the other people were grabbing at the meat on the trays like starved chimps at a banana festival. So I started grabbing at the meat myself. It was wonderful. Every bite was juicy, delicate with an incredible, smoky flavor. Everything on the trays was the work of a true artisan. Then the waitress put a bowl of Dink's sauce in front of me. "They just smoke the meat here. That way you only get as much sauce as you want," I was told.

I suppose it goes without saying I liked the sauce. I would have been happy to have just sat there and lapped it up out of the bowl. But marrying the meat to the sauce made this meal the gold standard for what barbecue should be in my head.

I'll share my sauce with you when it arrives. But I'm not giving away any bottles this time around. You'll have to get your own. I Googled Dink's Barbecue to find the number. It's there, but there's not much more information about Dink's Barbecue. I guess I'm kind of happy about that. It means Dink's hasn't taken the leap into Tony Roma's territory. It's still a special, little place. But they do have a Web site now: They aren't quite ready for e-commerce so if you want to order the sauce you'll still have to call 918-335-0606 and ask for Jesse.

He'll ship you the bill in the same box your sauce comes in.

They know you're good for it.

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