More than ribs

Hickory-smoked meats top tacos, potatoes, burgers and salads

Posted: April 25, 2014 at 6 a.m.

Rib Crib is a full-service restaurant that first opened in Tulsa in 1992. With more than 50 locations, the restaurant emphasizes preparing and smoking meats in house, using a rotisserie smoker fueled by hickory wood.

The Springdale location carries on the tradition that has made the Rib Crib chain so successful. The restaurant's location near Arvest Ballpark, along with a side patio, makes it a popular spot to stop before the Northwest Arkansas Naturals ballgames.

"Don't forget to come early before the ballgame. Some nights it gets really busy," managing partner Jim Johns said.

Johns has been with Rib Crib for nearly 12 years and was instrumental in the opening and operation of the Branson and Joplin locations. Johns now lives in Centerton and operates the franchised Springdale location.

In addition to the signature barbecue recipes, Rib Crib also serves fresh salads, fire-grilled burgers, Texas toast sandwiches, chicken tenders, catfish, chicken fried steak, tacos, baked potatoes and a variety of bar-style appetizers.

The seasoned, all-beef patties have a smokey, hickory-wood flavor and are a customer favorite.

"People go crazy over our burgers," Johns said.

Popular toppings for the burgers include barbecue sauce, thick-cut peppered bacon, pickle planks, a steakhouse onion ring, caramelized onions or a spicy hot link.

Daily and weekly specials help lure in the crowds.

Monday nights children eat free. All-you-can-eat ribs are offered Tuesdays 4 p.m. to close. On Wednesdays after 4 p.m., female customers get half off all entrees.

Rib Fest will launch in May, and all-you-can-eat ribs and sides will be offered all day, every day. Spare ribs will be offered for $14.99 and baby back ribs for $18.99.

Lunch specials are served 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The lunch menu lists a single-patty burger with seasoned fries for $5.49 or a double-patty burger with cheddar cheese for $6.99.

A smoked chicken salad piles slow-smoked chicken on top fresh greens with tomatoes, shredded cheese and crispy tortilla strips for $7.49.

There is also a smoked B.L.T., chopped beef tacos, crispy chicken wrap, smoked ham and cheese sandwich and BBQ sliders, among other offerings.

The standard menu includes baby back and St. Louis-style ribs, as wet (basted with sauce) or dry (seasoned, but sauce on the side).

There are several menu items with paired meat selections, as well as a create-your-own option. Pit-smoked meats include pulled pork, chopped brisket, chicken breast, St. Louis ribs, smoked sausage, smoked turkey, sliced brisket, smoked ham or hot links.

There is also barbecue menu items that include shrimp, catfish and baby back ribs.

Housemade side items include the signature Sweet & Smoky Beans, cowboy beans, Southern-fried okra, seasoned fries, fresh coleslaw, green beans, corn on the cob, Mac & Cheese, thick-cut onion rings or mashed potatoes and gravy.

About four times a year, Rib Crib offers a special menu with limited-time offerings.

The special menu provides a quick visual assessment of each order with a photograph of all the ingredients spaced out on a cutting board. The list of ingredients, photo and price make this an efficient way to order a quick lunch.

The Rib Crib is also well-known for their experience in catering events from 10-1,500. The largest events bring in the award-winning competition barbecuing team, the PigMen, who can grill everything from a whole hog to beef tenderloin.

Since everything is prepared fresh and in-house, advanced notice for larger groups is required.

Catering from the Springdale location comes with free delivery and setup, and pricing starts at $7.99 per person. Included with each catering order is bread, buns, pickles, peppers, onions, plates, napkins and utensils.

Standard menu selections include a choice of meat from chopped or sliced brisket, boneless chicken, pulled pork, smoked sausage, hot links, smoked ham or smoked turkey.

Side items include cowboy beans; Sweet & Smoky Beans; Mac & Cheese; mashed potatoes and gravy; coleslaw; green beans and potato salad.

The Smokehouse catering order, priced at $7.99 per person, includes an individually wrapped barbecue sandwich and a side order of the signature Sweet & Smoky Beans.

The Hickory order, priced at $8.99 per person, is served buffet-style and includes a third pound of meat and a choice of two sides.

A baked potato bar is priced at $8.99 per person and includes a baked potato weighing more than a pound per person, plus one smoked meat, butter, sour cream, bacon and cheese to top it off.

The Rib Crib order includes a half-pound of two choices of meat and a half-pound of two choices of side items, for $9.99 per person.

The Duke is served buffet style and offers a three-quarters of a pound of three choices of meats and a half-pound of a choice of three side items for $11.99 per person.

A rack of St. Louis ribs can be added to any order for $18.99.

Additional items, such as salads, desserts and drinks, can also be added.

The Smokin' Chicken Salad Bowl has 10 servings for $39.99. The Jumbo Garden Salad serves 10 for $19.99. A dozen of assorted cookies is $9.99. 20 brownies is $14.99. Homemade cobbler serves 15 and is $24.99.

Another popular add-on is tortilla chips with salsa and queso for $5.99.

Iced Tea or Lemonade costs 99 center per person and includes cups, ice, lemons and sweeteners.

Takeout, Family Packs and meat by the pound are also available. For added convenience, a pick-up window along the side of the building lets drivers pick up orders called in ahead of time.

The Springdale Rib Crib is located at 1120 Mathias Drive, inside the Ozark Center Point Place West Plaza. Hours of operation are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.

NAN Dining Guide Cover on 04/25/2014

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