On highway E just past the turn off for Fraternity drive, there is a sign reading “Randy’s Roadkill - 3.5 Miles”. The sign isn’t impressive, and the name of the restaurant isn’t the most appetizing, but some people in Rolla know better. Three and half winding miles down highway E later, there is a small gravel parking lot and a sheet metal building. Another sign advertises this unassuming building as the location of Randy’s Roadkill, BBQ & Grill. The restaurant is surrounded by green pastures with cows grazing happily. Behind the building there is a pond with ducks swimming around and enjoying the water. In front of the building there is a large stack of wood, ready to be put to use creating delicious barbecue.
I made this voyage North of Rolla on a Saturday to enjoy what I believe is the best Barbecue in Rolla. AsI entered the cozy seating area I was immediately hit by the savory smell of smoked meats. It served as a mouth watering reminder that I was about to have another tasty meal.
The interior is decorated with trophies and old timey hunting equipment. A few signs with tired jokes hang on the walls giving the room a rustic feel. Plenty of sunlight illuminates the room, especially at the window tables which offer a pleasant view of the pond and woodland outside. The owner, Randy himself, is ever-present. He works his way in and out of the kitchen, checking on food and guests. Randy is the head chef as well as the owner, and his friendly, comfortable demeanor reflects his confidence in his food.
I decided to give one of the appetizers on the menu a try, the Jalapeno Bottle Caps, a dish of fried jalapeno slices served with ranch. The breading was tasty and offset the spice of the jalapenos slightly. Other good appetizers on the menu include the Roadkill Loaded Chips, Smoked Gouda Mac-n-cheese bites, and the thematically-named Dead Chicken Chunks.
After enjoying the basket of fried jalapenos, I was ready for the main course: A half rack of ribs with a side of green beans and mac and cheese. The ribs were arranged neatly on a metal saucer, the outside glistening and smoked to a dark red perfection. Inside the meat was red and juicy. The macaroni in its smaller plastic bowl was sprinkled with bacon bits, which were scattered over the soft golden cheese.
I had to taste the ribs first, and so I dug in. The meat was juicy and tasted deliciously smoky. The hours of preparation and smoking did not go to waste, and the meat was well flavored and easy to pull from the bone. Because Randy uses oak to smoke his meats it has an interesting flavor that sets it apart from mesquite or hickory smoked barbecue. I enjoyed the ribs so much that I almost forgot about barbecue sauce because the meat has enough flavor to be tasty dry. That’s not to say that I don’t love the sauce options. Randy makes his own regular and spicy sauces, which are each great compliments to the meat. He also provides KC masterpiece for a sweet and smoky option.
The macaroni as well tastes amazing, and I found myself wishing there was more. Unfortunately the green beans left me disappointed, as they tasted almost the same as canned green beans without any extra seasoning or flavor. If I had another choice, I would have gotten the baked beans, which are much more flavorful and contain a bit of the smoky flavor that makes Randy’s other food so great.
Randy’s Roadkill may be a bit out of the way, but it is definitely worth the trip.