When you’re craving authentic and delicious barbecue, you don’t have to book a trip to Memphis, Texas, Kansas City or other smoked meat meccas. Take a short drive down Cerrillos Road instead to The Ranch House, one of the best restaurants in all of New Mexico serving up baby back ribs, smoked brisket, pulled pork and other bodacious barbecue. Even the sides here are superb, from the famous green chile slaw and green chile cornbread to sweet potato waffle fries, BBQ beans and more.
That’s because Josh Baum—who owns The Ranch House with his wife, Ann Gordon—is a master at smoking meats, a skill he honed while working with his uncle, Steve Seikel, helping him open his second Steve’s Rib restaurant in Oklahoma City. Baum also is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu-affiliated Scottsdale Culinary Institute who worked as a sous chef under one of Santa Fe’s most celebrated chefs, Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin and also did a stint at two Michelin-starred restaurants in France’s Burgundy wine region, Georges Blanc and Marc Meneau’s L’Espérance.
“My uncle was doing barbecue and I saw his operation in Oklahoma City and it was intriguing to me,” Baum says. “The way they did the meats, the slow cooking of the meats and how, once you cooked it, it was ready—it was a whole different cuisine. I just had not had a lot of barbecue in Santa Fe and I thought if I could take barbecue and cater it more to Santa Fe tastes, it would be a fun challenge. People didn’t grow up with barbecue here, so we use oak, a milder flavored wood, and incorporate chile. We get customers from Texas and other places who seem to like it, too. It’s a Santa Fe Style barbecue.
Locals and visitors alike flock to The Ranch House for Baum’s unique barbecue—signature dishes that include red chile honey glazed baby back ribs, green chile brisket and pork belly tacos with apple cider barbecue topped with green chile slaw. One of the most popular meals here is smoked prime rib with a choice of two sides, served only for Friday and Saturday dinners. For big appetites, there’s nothing like the Ranch House Platter, a feast of brisket, pork, baby back ribs and sausage, along with the famous green chile cornbread and two sides. Or try the “Grandpappi of Burgers,” the Ultimate Burger, piled high with Tillamook sharp cheddar, pulled pork, Hatch green chile, bacon, red chile honey glaze, crispy onions and green chile slaw.
The Ranch House also offers delectable seafood—BBQ shrimp pasta, salmon tacos topped with green chile slaw, grilled salmon with brown butter BBQ glaze—and New Mexico fare such as enchiladas with smoked chicken, green chile brisket and other fillings.
Don’t forget the daily specials, like chicken fried steak with house-made sausage gravy and Ranch House Steak Tampiqueña, a 10-ounce New York steak marinated in a secret blend of chipotle and beer, topped with chopped green chile and melted sharp cheddar cheese.There’s also a daily Happy Hour from 4 to 6 pm when you can sip signature cocktails—Prickly Pear Mojito, Smoked Pineapple Margarita—and savor Bar Bites—pulled pork and green chile slaw sliders; won ton tacos with chopped rib meat and red chile honey glaze; and daily specials, too. Regulars know to leave room for homemade dessert, as the bourbon vanilla crème brûlée, chocolate peanut butter mousse and other options offer a delightful end note to your meal.
Baum uses quality ingredients, sourcing a portion of hormone- and antibiotic-free beef from New Mexico ranchers and hormone-free dairy products from farms that promote open grazing. The menu includes gluten-free options and the kitchen is happy to accommodate diners with any special dietary needs.
For all of these reasons, The Ranch House is known as “Not Your Average Barbecue Joint,” but there’s more. Since opening in 2011 as a reincarnation of Josh’s BBQ (the wildly popular one-room eatery in a Cerrillos Road mall,), the restaurant has been an integral part of the Santa Fe community. The Ranch House hosts an annual Teacher Appreciation Day, when teachers eat for free, and participates in Angel’s Night Out, when a portion of dinner proceeds benefits Kitchen Angels, which feeds Santa Fe’s homebound.
“Once a month we try do something big for the community,” says Baum. “The restaurant also works with nonprofits in other ways, providing complimentary catering to a recent fundraiser for The Horse Shelter, for example, and donating money to area animal shelters. “Now, more than ever, it’s incumbent on small businesses to give back to the communities,” Baum says. “The community gives a lot to us and locals really support us, so we want to do as much as we can to give back and support locals and the community. We feel very blessed with this restaurant. With giving, we also get a lot back.”This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead