The Wagon Yard BBQ
41301 McKenzie Highway
Springfield, OR 97478
(541) 896-3339

Wagon Yard BBQ website

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Eugenified.com rating: 1 vote, average: 4.50 out of 51 vote, average: 4.50 out of 51 vote, average: 4.50 out of 51 vote, average: 4.50 out of 51 vote, average: 4.50 out of 5

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Depressed that Howling Coyote BBQ has shut down. I along McKenzie Hwy drive blindly east. My vision is clouded and my mind too. My car begins to swerve ever so slightly. Left. Then right. Left. Suddenly I, tears streaming down my face, scream, “Oh why is there no real smoked barbecued meats to eat for me anymore?! Why?!” I begin to look for the nearest precipice off upon which to solve this problem permanently. But wait, I say to myself out loud. What is that up ahead on the left? Could it be the soft woody acrid smoke of a BBQ joint? Bright light shines down through the clouds. Cut to commercial.

Update Sept 2010: Believe it or not, in spite of the awesome review below, Wagon Yard BBQ has shut down their retail outlet. Still, you should read the whole review since, uhh, it took me a long time to write.

OK, OK, so I’m no Hemingway. But I do know BBQ, especially genuine dry-smoked, slow-cooked barbecue (as opposed to the fake slathered-sauce grill-cooked type that they serve at chain restaurants). And I’m here to tell you, a new dry-smoked, slow-cooked barbecue champion is about to be crowned for the Eugene/Springfield area.

Yes, that’s right, ladies and gents, Howling Coyote, the former crowned king of BBQ in this area, has hightailed it out of town for reasons unknown. But not to worry. I present to you: The Wagon Yard BBQ.

Situated on McKenzie Hwy outside of Springfield…err..maybe it’s actually in Springfield, but if so, then Springfield is one damn big town…The Wagon Yard is easy to find but takes some time to reach. About 25 minutes from Eugene’s Valley River Mall if you have a heavy foot (or if you are driving a Toyota…this joke will not be understood in a few years). The drive there is a bit “Springfieldish” in the beginning, but the later half is beautiful wide open country-roadish. Definitely worth a drive just to go there, wave at the owners (Rich and Donna), then turn around and go back home. But since we’re there already, we’d might as well order some food.

First check out the building. It’s cute. It’s quaint. It’s just like Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother’s house, except they serve delicious smoked meats inside instead of…uhh…the other white meat that big bad wolves like to eat. Before you go in, take a look at the smoker around the side of the building. It will be, not ironically nor surprisingly, smoking. Hence the name.

Now. Enter. Sit. Order. Brisket. Ribs. Two. Sides. (Pork-pulled sandwiches are for wimps with pocket change. We’re here for the real thang).

While we’re waiting for our food, let’s take a look around the joint…

Decor: Sufficiently woody, antiquey, and homesy. All appropriate “y”s accounted for.

Kitchen: Well-organized. Means the kitchen manager has a clue how to run a professional kitchen, and thus, the food will likely be fresh and bacteria-free.

Food arrives…Scorecard as follows:

Brisket: Dinner platter includes five, count ’em, five big ol’ slices of brisket. Mon dieu! Cooked perfectly. Slightly dryish (as it should be) and ready to be seasoned with one of three sauces available on the table. Delicious. Dare I say perfect? Yes. I dare.

Ribs: Reddish brown with smoked-in flavor. Not an ounce of fat. Dryish and waiting for sauce. Delicious.

Potato Salad: Fresh. Not too mushy. Nice tangy taste. Thumbs up.

Cole Slaw: Fresh and crispy, but a little on the bland side. Oh well, can’t expect perfection.

Baked Beans: Delicious. Bits of meat, not fat, mixed in. Tremendous smokey flavor.

Corn Bread: A bit dull and dense. Like that kid you sat next to in math class in 4th grade. I’ll try the biscuit next time.

Price: 11 bucks gets you the brisket plate with two sides and corn bread. If you can’t afford that, then you probably can’t afford the gas to drive out to this place. Instead, go to Gateway Mall and eat corporate grilled wet ribs at the Roadhouse. They’re hot off the grill and taste like gamey roadkill slathered in sauce. Yum.

Verdict: New king is crowned. Blah blah blah. I wish I was there now eating some more brisket.

Eugenified.com rating: 1 vote, average: 4.50 out of 51 vote, average: 4.50 out of 51 vote, average: 4.50 out of 51 vote, average: 4.50 out of 51 vote, average: 4.50 out of 5

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