Great State: They Sell More Sauce Than Gas These Days at Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ

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DAVIS, OKLAHOMA -- Somewhere between slow cooking, and smoky flavor lies the dividing line between hunger and the quickly passing thought that the stuff of barbecue used to be nothing more than parts of a pig, chicken or cow.

The ribs, tenderloin, and brisket we love; that's the real barbecue and that's how Bobbie Wells and any other purveyor of 'Q' wants you to think about it.

"We really want you to leave feeling like you sat at our kitchen table," she says.

Until a few years ago you had to wangle an invite from Papa Joe to eat the family barbecue.

The Wells family businesses involved building homes, running RV lots, and gas stations.

"Do you still sell gas," asks a restaurant visitor?

"We do. We do," smiles Wells.

No one really gave much thought to serving food until they brought a smoker to their service station in Sulphur in 2007.

Bobbie recalls, "The line for the kitchen got longer than the line for the gas which was kind of awkward."

In the mid-1930's there was an old motel and camp site near Turner Falls called Jollyville, Oklahoma.

People still park RV's here, but most people come to the Wells property for the food.

The line to Smokin' Joe's stretches out the door on weekend nights.

Their secret is simple.

Papa Joe or one of his kin is always around to tend the fire.

Wells says, "We realized it was going to take all of us. It was going to take the family. It was going to take the whole village to get this thing up and running."

Their businesses used to be so far flung Bobbie and the rest of her family had trouble getting together.

Now the center of everything is the ancient human tradition of gathering for a family meal, and inviting everyone who wants to come to eat at one of the best new barbecue places in Oklahoma.

Smokin' Joe's opened in their Jollyville location just north of Turner Falls in 2011.

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