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THE BEST BBQ IN THE AREA - RANGER'S BBQ

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My neighbor recently attended a fundraiser for the La Ola Casa Hogar orphanage and told me about Juan Mata who owns Ranger's BBQ in the El Salto/El Verde area, and how wonderful their food was. Juan donated 70 lbs of ribs, plus provided potato salad and BBQ beans for the event. So I went online and found Ranger's and paid them a visit. I HIGHLY recommend their BBQ! I've eaten at 3 other BBQ joints in Guadalajara and Ranger's is THE BEST BBQ AROUND BY FAR! I know a thing or two about "Q" having lived in Kansas City, MO for over 25 years. Juan, who was born and raised in Texas, cooks his meat slow & low for over 6 hours! And you can taste the difference from what so many places here at lakeside call "BBQ ribs." This is the real meal deal! 

Ranger's Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/BBQ.Rangers 

To get there, head up Chapala Highway and take the El Salto exit. Go about 3.5 km until you see a BIG Urrea plant on the left. At the next stop light go left (north) towards El Verde. Go about 6 km until you go past a Honda plant on the right, go a little further and then just past a Pemex on the right you will find BBQ Nirvana. 

Juan not only donated 70 lbs of ribs, he also got up and drove down to Ajijic before 6 am with his smoker so that the food would be ready by noon. He is truly a generous man and a great BBQ cook! Go up there and give something back to Juan. You'll be glad that you did!

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Thanks. I know a thing or two about BBQ. Hours, days open/closed?

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4 hours ago, tomgates said:

Thanks. I know a thing or two about BBQ. Hours, days open/closed?

Rangers BBQ is awesome. We went 2 weeks in a row. You will think you are in a BBQ joint in Texas with peanut shells on the floor. Grab your peanuts out of the barrels of them when you come in. Juan Mata is very proud of his restaurant and he has a right to be. Many, many choices of beer too. Worth the trip to El Salto.

he is open every day 12pm-9pm and Sunday 12-7pm

 

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9 hours ago, Joyfull said:

Rangers BBQ is awesome. We went 2 weeks in a row. You will think you are in a BBQ joint in Texas with peanut shells on the floor. Grab your peanuts out of the barrels of them when you come in. Juan Mata is very proud of his restaurant and he has a right to be. Many, many choices of beer too. Worth the trip to El Salto.

he is open every day 12pm-9pm and Sunday 12-7pm

 

Gracias Joyfull. They also have live music every Friday night, but I'm not too keen on driving on the Chapala highway after dark. ;-) 

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OK, lets get into a bit more detail. Ribs--Spareribs or BabyBacks? Pulled pork? Brisket? (Costco Galerias stocks USDA Choice Angus briskets). Sausage? Chicken?

Thanks.

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34 minutes ago, tomgates said:

OK, lets get into a bit more detail. Ribs--Spareribs or BabyBacks? Pulled pork? Brisket? (Costco Galerias stocks USDA Choice Angus briskets). Sausage? Chicken?

Thanks.

That's why I included a link to Rangers BBQ's Facebook page in my post. Their menu is on their FB page, https://www.facebook.com/BBQ.Rangers/menu?ref=page_internal 

I've only been there once so far, but I'm going back again tomorrow, and again and again. I had spare ribs that were delectable and so BIG that I had to verify that there were indeed cerdo not res when the waiter brought them out. On my next trip I will sample the pulled pork sandwich. I do not see brisket on the menu, but I'm going to ask Juan about that. Being as he's from Texas, one would think that brisket "should" be his signature dish. But I was so happy to find great tasting, deep-smoked ribs that I forgot to ask him about brisket on my first visit. :-/ I will mention to him that Costco Galerias stocks them.

No baby backs, no beef ribs, no salchichas, no *smoked* chicken. He does have some very nice looking Sonoran rib eyes, and the hamburgers are YUGE! He offers a number of salads too for those less inclined towards carne. Provecho! 

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It takes about 40 minutes to get there...........but the drive is worth while, in my

opinion. 

3 of us ate the rib eyes tonight and they were excellent. Cooked exactly as we

ordered and with a delicious rub. The side dish of salsa too was delicious.

I am going back

 

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The OP didn't mention it was local. 

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I made my second mecca up to Rangers on Saturday (8/20/16). This time I got the pulled pork sandwich, but I also had to order spare ribs para llevar. The pulled pork was excellent! Lean, smoky, juicy and without a spec of fat or gristle, and the bun was a high caliber foundation that held up to the last bite even those I doused my sandwich with BBQ sauce. The sandwich came with potato salad and onion rings, both excellent as well. But I just had to have some of their BBQ beans too, so I waddled out of there.

I just had the ribs warmed up for my Sunday dinner and they traveled very well! 

Now for the best news. Rangers BBQ is going to donate and cook all of the food for another fundraiser for La Ola Casa Hogar, and this time Jaun will be serving brisket! Did you hear me Tom Gates? :-) Like the last fundraiser, this one will also be held at Hotel Perico on October 27th. That's all I know at this point. Perhaps someone can post more info and how people can to attend.

Tom, Juan told me that he had both brisket and beef ribs on his original menu, but that his largely Mexican clientele just didn't order either enough to justify keeping them on the menu. He said that if more lakeside folks started coming up and asking for brisket, he might put it back on the menu. He will also smoke a brisket, or half a brisket, to order with a couple days of notice.

HE COOKS HIS BRISKET FOR 12 HOURS!!! I can't wait to see and TASTE the deep smoke ring on that meat. 

 

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OK, thanks. Several of us are headed there tomorrow for lunch.

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Quote

Went there today and it was good.

 

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First off, an easier way to get there is to take the bypass just past the airport, marked Zapotlanejo, and go 4 km to first exit. Not sure if there is a left turn after you exit. If not, then go right (south) to first opportunity to make a U turn. Rangers BBQ is less than a mile from the bypass, on the right by the Pemex.

Now the review. Our ribs were not smoked that morning but rather left over from (the day before?). He does't use a rub as I would do. The sauce that comes with them is very odd, with some kind of cumin or other spice in it that is not real good. The sauce at the table is better but might be too picante for some. It would be better if he smoked them every day and when they sell out, they sell out. That is how good BBQ places do it. I am sure the ribs would be 10 times better if they were hot off the smoker with sauce on the side. The ribs might be better if he bought the USDA spareribs from Costco rather than the ribs from the local pigs. The beans were very good, the potato salad no so good. $175p for the plate with 4 ribs, beans and potato salad. 

I admit to being a tough BBQ critic. I smoked my own briskets for our wedding reception in 1987. I was a certified BBQ judge in the Pacific NW the past 6 years. If the food trucks from Guadalajara ever get down here, look for one from Wabba Texas BBQ. They have a restaurant in the north part of Guadalajara. 

He has a mesquite grill for the steaks and burgers and one table was having them and they looked really good. A sign indicated a happy hour 2 for 1 drinks M-F, 12-1 and 5-6.

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I would like to offer my response to Tom Gates review of Rangers BBQ.

 

First let me start by saying, When reviewing a restaurant one should unbiasedly review the restaurant and not include another restaurant in the review.

 

 

Secondly you have stated that you were a BBQ judge for 6 years in the NW of the United States. Now with that said, I do not see anywhere in your review of the ribs from Rangers BBQ that you used the judging criteria that all BBQ judges use in the US. In  case you didn't know what the criteria for judging ribs are, I have provided that for you. None of the criteria do I see in your review.

 

Here is what the Judging is based on:

 

Appearance. When rubbed, smoked over wood, and then glazed with a tomato-based sauce in the traditional fashion, Amazing Ribs have a deep ruddy glow with a glistening saucy sheen. The bones stick out only slightly, and the exposed marrow has usually turned black. If you pull two bones apart, the meat splits into long fibrous chards, dripping with moisture. Just below the sauce and the dark brown crust, called the bark, is a bright pink layer, about 1/8" deep, called the smoke ring a stamp of authenticity that comes from smoke, humidity, combustion gases, myoglobin in the meat, and magic. The rest of the meat is a khaki tan, glistening with moisture from meat juices, melted collagen and fats

Scent. The first thing to grab you by your nose is the seductive, aphrodisiac scent of hardwood turned to smoke. It is ethereal, sweet and fragrant - better than the best pipe tobacco. Woven in is usually a hint of caramelized sugar, like roasted marshmallows. And tieing it all together is usually a sharp vinegar thread. There should be an elegant undertone of wood smoke, perhaps with a hint of bacon, but not so much that it dominates, and definitely no bitterness or ashtray flavors. All this hovers above the bass notes: The seductive scent of roasted pork.

Pork flavor. Pork has a wonderful flavor, particularly some of the better breeds of pork. Whatever we do to the meat in the prep and the cooking should not kill the delicate essence of pork. That's the biggest problem with restaurant ribs. So many of them are boiled or held in warming ovens for so long that their natural meatiness is destroyed. They taste, and look, gray.Scent. The first thing to grab you by your nose is the seductive, aphrodisiac scent of hardwood turned to smoke. It is ethereal, sweet and fragrant - better than the best pipe tobacco. Woven in is usually a hint of caramelized sugar, like roasted marshmallows. And tieing it all together is usually a sharp vinegar thread. There should be an elegant undertone of wood smoke, perhaps with a hint of bacon, but not so much that it dominates, and definitely no bitterness or ashtray flavors. All this hovers above the bass notes: The seductive scent of roasted pork.

Seasonings. The seasonings, usually a spice rub, brine, or marinade must embed in the meats surface and enhance it, but not overwhelm it. Salt and pepper are usually big players, as are paprika, brown sugar, garlic and other essences.

Sauce. The sauce must complement and compliment the meat and smoke flavors. It is usually rich and slightly sweet to counterbalance the saltiness of the rub, but not cloying, with a zippy pepperiness and an acidic bite to counterbalance the sweetness. A hint of savory from herbs is a nice touch. It must remain subtle so as to not overwhelm the other components, and there should not be so much that it is gummy and goopy. In some places, especially along the Carolina coast, sauce is tart and vinegary, with heat and no sweet.

Texture. Below the sauce, the surface of the meat should have a crusty bark, a little crunchy and a little chewy. It should be tender yet still retain resistance and resilience when you bite into it, like a steak. It should pull off the bone cleanly and with little effort, leaving behind bare bone, but it should not fall off the bone. If it falls off the bone, chances are it has been boiled or steamed.

Moisture. The meat should be moist and juicy but not wet or mushy. The juices should come out during chewing, not cooking, and coat the tongue with flavor. Your salivary glands should not have to work too hard to spread the taste and lubricate the meat for swallowing.

Balance. The sum of all the parts must be harmonious. A glorious complex symphony of textures, aromas, and flavors, with none so strong as to dominate and mask the others. The sum of the parts should be greater than each piled on top of the other

Now, with that said, I am a professional Chef from the US. I have worked for some of the top restaurants in the US and have a very broad knowledge of most international cuisine. I have lived here in Mexico for 3 years and have been to Rangers BBQ many times since it has opened. I am from Alabama, and I too know what BBQ is.  

 

Now let me address the BBQ sauce, as you should know there are 4 regions in US for BBQ and that includes but not limited to the BBQ sauce. Each region has its own sauces which are very distinct to that region. I will give you Rangers BBQ sauce is not tradition from any of the regions as a purist would like. The sauce is a basic BBQ Sauce with a twist towards the Mexican palate (since we are in Mexico) and most of Rangers clients are Mexican. So with that said, I think you should have recommended to Rangers that maybe they should offer an alternative classic BBQ sauce for those who do not like the more picante style sauce.

 

I would agree with you that eating ribs right out of the smoker are not exactly the same as ribs reheated the next day, however I have eaten ribs the day after they are cooked on the smoker and it is very difficult to tell the difference between the two if they were reheated correctly.

Now as far as smoking ribs or any other cut on a daily basis, it is next to impossible wit the costs involved. I would Guarantee you that the other places do not smoke using real Mesquite wood for their product on a daily basis except for one. That is the The Brisket house and they are only open for service 3 days a week and are totally dedicated to BBQ

 

You also kept eluding to USDA products from Costco. Well sir I would agree with you if you were talking about beef but, we are talking about pork spare ribs. As we both know or should know the ribs are defined by the cut of the ribs, meaning to say the trim of the rib like St. Louis cut or full spare rack and as we know Baby Back are from another part of the pig.

 

So with that said, I would defy you to tell me the difference to spare ribs purchased fresh here in Mexico and the Spare ribs purchased at Costco. I will smoke both types of ribs on the same exact smoker with the same rub and I will challenge you to tell me the difference. (if you are up for the challenge) in front of your peers.

 

I do not see anywhere on your posts where you have reviewed Wabba (Oh let me see the same rules don’t apply) because of your bias opinion.

 

Bud Randolph, CEC

Certified Executive Chef

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Oh, good grief. Who are you, Chefbud, and why are you taking your first post ever to attack this benign little review?

tomgates is qualified, by any standard, in part because most of his discussion was about COMMON SENSE. Throwing in a page full of contest rules would have done nothing to help him, and would have bored us all anyway. He merely pointed out that "he knows from ribs". As far as I'm concerned, from a rib-lover (and cooker) point of view, he's right on all counts.

His mention of a worthy BBQ place, by way of comparison, is SOP, especially here where we use this board to garner helpful information. I could shoot so many holes in your comment, but I will randomly point out just one: he said it was pretty easy to tell they were not freshly-cooked ribs, so your own comment about "reheating properly" comes into disrepute right there. Not to mention that there are meat places nearby that do get your meat to you fresh off the grill/BBQ, so...

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ChefBud, this is a local webboard where people share their dining experiences. No one needs credentials to give their opinion (biased or otherwise) on a restaurant. And, that is all it is: their opinion. They do not need to apply the same rules to all reviews because, guess what, there are no rules. We're just here, enjoying eating out, telling each other what we like, don't like and sometimes why. No rules, credentials or criteria needed (or wanted) so get over your bad self and ratchet it down a notch or two. 

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Xena,

Thank you for you response, If no one needs credentials why was it thrown into the review, "I have been a BBQ judge for 6 years in the NW"  

I believe those are credentials are they not?  Plugging another restaurant in the review is not a common practice. However, I appreciate your comments and adjust accordingly.

 

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Again, I must point out that his is just a chat room. Most of us here are not professionals in the topics we discuss. And in La Cocina, you can't consider these as anything but commentary from friends (or enemies), so as Xena rightfully notes, there are no "rules", so mentioning any number of places for comparison is just par for the course.

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Computer Guy your point is taken. I will structure my views and comments accordingly. I look forward to interacting with those on this board on a more positive note. Thank and Have a Great Day!

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