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Which is better- Tulsa Rib or Rick's Secret Spot???

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Yes, I know I am the queen of indecision but I must choose a caterer. Please please please help me decide between these two!!!!

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  1. I have to admit I have not eaten @ Tulsa's in 5-6 years. The food was good but, on a couple of occasions, didn't have the pizazz it once posessed. @ both places, you'll find quality meats. Quality ingredients. And, well developed recipes. Tulsa's coming from the mid-west and Rick's is more a fusion of Memphis, Louisiana, Southern influence. Different flavors to be sure. Those things being equal, I'd give Secret Spot my dollar. One of the advantages with working with a smaller operation is their ability to work with you. I wouldn't be afraid to ask Ricky what's off menu that would make your get together memorable. Secret from the Secret????

    1 Reply
    1. re: SCgolf

      I feel totally bbq traumatized! I had pretty much decided to go with Tulsa because of all the good reviews. I am a southern style bbq lover as I am from the south so now I am second guessing. The other thing that made me think Tulsa might be better is that they seem to really have their stuff together on the catering- big catering department with someone that manages only catering, I can't have some snafu where the food doesn't show when I have 50 guests!!! Oh what to do, what to do.....

    2. Neither. A better choice (although a different product) is Buckboard Catering. I don't have any afiliation with them, but Chino Wayne turned me on to them, and they've got good food and it tastes fresh and authentic. Had Tulsa Rib at an event and it tasted like oven cooked meat with bbq sauce.

      I think if you call one of the salespeople at Buckboard, they'll walk you through it, and may even arrange to have you come in to taste the food. The only drawback is they are in Upland/IE but they will cater to wherever your party is.

      http://www.buckboardcatering.com/

      2 Replies
      1. re: robl

        Upland is 50 miles away so I don't think that's a good alternative. Both Tulsa and Rick's are local and are in my price range so I have narrowed my choices to these two. I would love to be able to sample both and really dive into this decision in an optimum manner BUT it is a surprise party for my husband AND I have an infant to take care of right now- between these two I really can't pull off going to do the necessary research so I am dependent on the internet and any help I can get from fellow chowhounds!!!

        1. re: chowesq

          Wow, I don't know how I missed seeing this thread when it was posted as it talks about 3 of my favorite places for food in SoCal.

          If it's southern-style BBQ you want, then I think the choice is easy...you go with Rick's. Not sure how big your party is, but Rick provides the personal attention that might be missing with other places...there is a very personal pride in whatever he does. The food is good and he does some great sides and desserts as well.

          That being said, Tulsa Rib Company is my favorite "BBQ" place in all of SoCal...and they are very experienced at handling catering. I "discovered" tri-tip 15+ years ago when the Buckboard owner, Steve McFarland, had a booth at the Taste of Orange County where the Irvine Spectrum Center now sits. Been hooked ever since and I haven't found any better tri-tip and Santa Maria-style BBQ than what Buckboard does (and that includes in and around Santa Maria!). If you haven't already, I would also check out Bad to the Bone in SJC...I think it's pretty good.

          Back to the bottom line, if it's southern-style BBQ you want, Rick's (or Burrell''s in Santa Ana) are probably the best in and around the area.

          P.S. Can I have an invite to the party? Yum!