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Ranger Texas BBQ (Legends) in Jackson Heights

I finally decided to give Ranger Texas BBQ a try last week and was pleasantly surprised...so much so that I decided to return again today for more. I had posted in an earlier message that from the outside, Legends Bar looks like a place only men would frequent. That is the primary reason why I stayed away for so long. Feeling brave, and having read some positive posts from other hounds on this subject, I decided to walk right in check it out. It was nice to see that there were two families eating in the sit down area. FYI, the seating area has approximately 7 tables that seat 2 to 4 people each. The service was very friendly and most helpful.

Being the cautious person that I am, I ordered the beef short ribs on both occasions. The meat was tender and had that beautiful smoky flavor and aroma that accompanied me all the way back home. I added a bit of the BBQ sauce that they serve on the side, and the taste was a nice complement to the natural flavor of the meat. I also tried the potato and coleslaw salads. Both were very tasty....not overly drowned in mayo and with a mild sweetness to each salad. I think I may have detected chopped apples in the potato salad? Someone please confirm. O.K., so 2 lbs. of loaded beef short ribs along with 1 pint container of potato and one of coleslaw cost me $43. The ribs were loaded with meat, and again, delicious. Next time I'll have to try the pork or brisket.

Thanks to all those who recommended the place. I can't believe that I used to travel to Pearsons back in the day when they had a location in Long Island City, and having Legends so close to me never raised my curiosity until now.

By the way, does anyone know who or what is Bubba? While I was waiting for my takeout order, some guy who looked like the owner was offering the diners there a tour of the back where they prepare the BBQ. He said he was surprised that no one had seen Bubba. I was curious but in a rush, so Bubba will have to wait.

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  1. The Texas Ranger bbq is actually former Pearson's - after LIC he moved his operation to Legends, before opening up his UES restaurant, which had closed, as I understand (UES was just ok for me not as good as his Queens que). I believe TX ranger is run by former Pearson's pitmaster.

    1. I didn't get a chance to meet bubba but I did try the short ribs. They were great. Tender, juicy and smoky with plenty of meat. The brisket was good. Very good flavor but the texture was a little drier and chewier than the ribs. Potato salad seemed to be Sally Sherman's. Nothing special. The onion rings were crispy and flavorful and were the perfect compliment to my Bass ale. The short ribs alone were worth the trek from Brooklyn. My next trip will have to be about the cole slaw and sandwiches.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jimstark

        It's so good to hear there's still delicious beef short ribs at Legends! That was my favorite place to eat short rib but it sure has been a few years...

        It used to be that they only serve beef short ribs on weekends, is it still the case? Or are they available all days of the week now?


      2. Congrats on venturing into what definitely looks like a local-males-only bar, Sandrina! Getting a little out of your comfort zone in the name of good food is what being a true hound is all about. Next stop, monkey brains in a Russian roulette parlour with Anthony Bourdain!

        1. Oddly enough, I have been to Legends a few times but haven't had the beef short ribs. The pork ribs are SOO good. Also have liked the brisket.

          I like their salads (I need veggies with my meat, sometimes) but damn they use a lot of cheese.

          1 Reply
          1. re: fiammetta

            not sure if they still make it, but i've had a tasty -- and very southern-style -- corn side dish with plenty of cream and bacon, kind of like a maque choux, but not quite. one of the better unhealthy veggie dishes i've had in a long while!

          2. Have gone back and had the short ribs-- tender and sweet, soo good. And it is on the regular menu, so they probably offer it every day.

            I have never seen this place full. I hope it does enough take-out business, at least, to keep it open. The BBQ is just so much better-- and rather better-priced-- than anything I've found in Queens or Manhattan.

            3 Replies
            1. re: fiammetta

              Thanks for the update regarding beef short ribs availability!
              Most BBQ places don't seem to offer the short ribs. The one time I had it from the upper westside's Rack N Soul it wasn't anywhere near how good Legends was. Looking forward to it in the near future.

              1. re: fiammetta

                Is Ranger still open and doing well?

                1. re: damon

                  Still open as of a couple of weeks ago when I went there for the first time. Some people seemed to be there for the food others the beer, but there were plenty of people for a Sunday evening (edit: now that I think about it I am not sure what day of the week it was)

              2. Bubba is their smoker!!!!! I love BUBBA!!!!!

                Right behind the door of the prep area for The Ranger is where Bubba is, it's massive and lovely. I wish to have it's offspring.

                If anyone goes to the Ranger you should look to order the Beef Short Rib Flaunta's. Shortribs shredded, sauce added, rolled in tortilla's and deep fried :)

                If I had to say there was one negative thing about The Ranger is their pork ribs, usually dry and a touch overcooked but great flavor none the less.

                Brisket is great there, so is their keilbasa. Lot's of beer on tap and the original poster said it best, it's a place on the outside that looks like only men would go to.

                To my understanding since my father has been friendly with Legend's owner for many years is this...
                Pearson's was there first, along with their shop in LIC, when they moved to Manhattan, they closed the Legends joint in the back.
                The owner and his brother are big bbq fans, and what the did was not renew Pearson's lease I've been told. Then, they kinda sorta poached the pit master who is this Mexican guy who's name I forget but he's usually the guy behind the counter @ the Ranger.

                A few months back I was chatting it up with the owner and he mentioned that he and his brother have been looking for space in Manhattan to open a full scale restaurant, however there are zoning issues with the smokers etc and some building code that the smoker exhaust has to be X amount high above the buildings, but they have considered cooking everything in Queens and driving it over to the city.

                I forgot to mention their pulled pork is my favorite. Never to fatty, and they favor the eastern NC style of a smokey vinegar (no tomato) based sauce which I could and have dipped all my food in while @ Legends.

                Damn, now I'm hungry.

                2 Replies
                1. re: dnm3k

                  just went to legends for some bbq after googling about it.

                  i have to say, i was a bit weary about getting food here after reading about it. but all in all, it was pretty good. the bar had about dozen people watching the game

                  my gf and i ordered the sampler with onion rings and creamed spinach on the side.

                  - the pulled pork was okay. not the best but it was good.
                  - the sausage was very yummy. i could eat many many links.
                  - the pulled beef was good.
                  - the brisket was tasty. a bit try. but the fattier pieces we go was very tasty.
                  - onion rings were run of the mill frozen rings, but very tasty and crunch
                  - the creamed spinach was very creamy. .loved it.

                  i have to be hones, the beef, and brisket were kinda dry. most of the food looks like it has been sitting there, but that aside, i will be going back again.

                  1. re: killerasp

                    good assessment --never adored the pork -- b ut since i've watched the making of the onion rings (onions dipped in batter) i=on every visit, i'd respectfullly disagree on that one.