Howling Coyote BBQ Co.
3264 Gateway St
Springfield, OR 97477
Update Feb 13, 2010: Howling Coyote BBQ appears to be out of business. I drove by yesterday, and it looks completely shut down, and the phone number is disconnected also. If you are still desperate for great BBQ, check out the newly crowned king, Wagon Yard BBQ.
Break out them apostrophes, today we’s writin’ a review of a good ol’ Texas BBQ restaurant located righ’ chere in Sprangfield!
But first: ATTENTION ALL BBQ RESTAURANT OWNERS IN EUGENE/SPRINGFIELD. THE COMPETITION IS NOW OVER. PLEASE CLOSE UP SHOP AND MOVE TOWARDS THE CITY EXITS IN AN ORDERLY FASHION. HOWLING COYOTE BBQ CO HAS BEEN DECLARED THE WINNER. NO, NOT JUST THE WINNER, THE KING. NOW ALL THE REST OF YOU CLOWNS SHOULD JUST SHUT UP AND LEAVE. AM I SHOUTING TOO LOUDLY?
Yes, you heard right, Howling Coyote is the winner. But before I tell you about the excellent food at Howling Coyote, allow me to first say somethin’ about smoked meats: Howling Coyote specializes in smoked meats. Since the smokin’ process takes ten or more hours, you know that they’re not cookin’ your food to order. Everythin’ smoked is made far in advance and warmed up when you order. So there you have it: one of the least attractive sounding food preparation methods used in any restaurant today. But it sure makes fer good eatin’! Just know that most of the food will not be pipin’ hot when it hits your table. And don’t expect it to be drippin’ in pre-slathered BBQ sauce a la Tony Romas. Real smoked meats are just moist and have a nice slightly crunchy bark on the outside. Sauce (BBQ sauce that is, red gold, Texas tea) is added by the end consumer.
OK, so we’re all clear now, right? This ain’t no Tony Romas so don’t give me any of your trash talkin’ and/or whinin’ about “Tony Roma’s ribs are covered with sauce” or “Tony Roma’s ribs are pipin’ hot from the microwave” or “Tony Roma’s is an Italian name so what the hell do they know about BBQ ribs?”
Now a few words about marketing skills: In a nutshell, the owner of Howling Coyote is long on cookin’ skills and short on marketin’ skills. Aside from the beautiful smokish aroma that hits you when you open the door to this place (A+), just about everythin’ else is a marketin’ miss. The outside looks to be a bankrupt old-school Taco Bell (C-). Neon signs in the window, cheesy as they may be, are just ’bout the only thing that indicates this place is actually open for business (C). Inside, you’re faced with a somewhat confusin’ menu up on the wall, plus some white boards with colorful felt pen announcements of specials (C-). Good ol’ blackboards and chalk would have been much more suitable for the correct Texas feelin’. Even a big sheet of butcher paper with grease pencil writin’ woulda done the job better. The seating booths are somewhat Texas-y feelin’, and there is a roll of papertowels on the table, so at least that’s not too bad (although the papertowels-on-the-table thing has been done to death in so many places, it is almost a cliche now). Last but not least, why is Howling spelled with a g when it coulda been easily replaced with an apostrophe? Come on! That’s just plain ol’ obvious…So, again in a nutshell, marketin’ is not the strong suit of the owner of HowlinG Coyote. (Have you ever noticed that the spelling of “coyote” is totally different from the pronounciation? What’s up with that?)
And finally, a few words about the food: It’s excellent. No, seriously, it’s really really good. The ribs are moist inside and have a nice section of “bark”, the crispy stuff that grows during the smokin’ process. Don’t go near the BBQ sauce on your first bite. Try it without a drop of sauce to really taste the scrumdelyicious smoked flavor. Yum! Brisket (cuts o’ beef with only a little fat along the edge) also have that wonderful smoky flavor, but may be a bit on the dry side for straight eatin’. Not to worry. Slather on some o’ dat BBQ sauce (4 kinds to choose from; all are winners in their own way; mustard sauce is also shockingly good tastin’) and you’ll quickly arrive at food heaven. They also have pulled pork this and that. Again, really great taste, but slightly dry (as it should be), so go for a little BBQ sauce. The sides are all excellent as well. Great BBQ beans, tremendous fries, wonderful corn bread, crispy onion rings, rich potato salad, etc. etc. I have nearly used up all of my positive descriptive word quota for the next month of reviews, otherwise I would keep going on and on about the food at this place. Trust me. It’s the opposite of terrible.
Final ratings: 3 stars for decor, 7 stars for food. Adding them together and dividing by two gives Howling Coyote a 5 star rating. Yeehaw!