Article and photos by Savanah Mandeville

The folks at Big R’s BBQ know if you can’t stand the heat, then heck, just embrace it. That’s why they go all out in August, aka Barbecue Month!

“We take Barbecue Month seriously!” said owner Twyla Housh. “Around here, it’s our favorite month of the year.”

All month long, the team at Big R’s, 1220 E. 15th Street in Joplin, will pull out all the stops on their famous ribs, pulled pork, brisket, burnt ends, and all the fixin’s, sides and pies your heart desires.

With over 35 years in the business, you can count on the barbecue at Big R’s to be sheer perfection.

Their slogan is “we have the meat you can’t beat” because the meat is always premium and hand-cut daily.

“All sirloins are Certified Black Angus,” Housh said. “All ribs are lean baby backs, lightly seasoned, and smoked low and slow with hickory wood. Briskets are trimmed flats, smoked 12-16 hours. The burnt ends are always smoked 16-18 hours, cut, sauced and smoked again for another couple of hours for a caramelized finish.”

Needless to say, the smoker at Big R’s runs 24 hours a day.

The burnt ends of beef brisket is a somewhat new addition to the menu and quickly became a fan favorite. You can’t go wrong with scrumptious burnt ends and Grandma’s Potato Salad and from-scratch baked beans.

The restaurant’s Best Brisket Sandwich lives up to its name with tender, mouthwatering brisket and ooey, gooey melted pepper jack. Pair it with a side of twisted-to-order Suzi Qs and a house-made lemonade, and you’re all set.

Or opt for healthy and savory with a not-your-everyday chef salad. Big R’s piles it up with pulled pork and their original bleu cheese dressing. Yum!

As for the “pie you can’t deny,” choose from a bevy of flavors of pies made entirely from scratch. Treat your sweet tooth with the crowd-approved coconut cream, chocolate cream or the famous Mile High Strawberry.

The original Big R’s was opened by Housh’s father in 1983 in Noel. The restaurant moved locations a few times before settling in its current home in 1998. Housh bought the restaurant in 2000.

With a 36-year history and 21 years in one spot, Big R’s has secured its reputation as one of JOMO’s most beloved barbecue joints. Plus, Housh has had plenty of time to fill up the place with her aptly named “hillbilly chic” décor. Every wall is embellished with memorabilia and antiques to stir up nostalgia in the adults and confusion in the kids. Rustic light fixtures and string lighting create a cozy-cabin atmosphere where it’s easy to sit back, relax and get comfortable.

“Our mission is to make our guests feel right at home when they come to Big R’s,” Housh said. “Our passion is old-fashioned cooking, barbecue and making sure everyone feels welcome. It’s a standard we’ve always had and one we intend
to keep!”