Sure, Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill sells a lot of barbecue, said partner Alex Benes, but too often it's forgotten that "grill" is part of the restaurant group's DNA.
"It's an American restaurant that features barbecue," said Benes, director of culinary development at Wood Ranch. "It's as much a great restaurant as it is a barbecue place, but I think that sometimes gets overlooked."
Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill has made an art form out of slow roasting, smoking and grilling. Certified Angus Beef® steaks and burgers, as well as fish and shrimp over oak. Barbecue items get finished over mesquite. Both provide a "kiss of smoke," said Benes.
"Many barbecue places use only one wood in a large smoker. We use four different kinds of wood to smoke our food," he said. "Culinarily speaking, we are pretty strong. We're about more than just putting things in a smoker and then putting them on a plate."
After 23 years, the two most popular items on the menu are still the Wood Ranch Tri Tip and the All-American Baby Back Ribs. The Wood Ranch Tri Tip is prepared from a Midwest, aged USDA choice cut, and then finished with Wood Ranch's original barbecue sauce. Guests can also request the Chipotle-Chery or Habanero-Peach barbecue sauces with the meat. The baby backs come in an order of five or eight bones or a full slab and are hand-trimmed.
Other local favorites are the Carolina Pulled Pork, served with a proprietary version of a Western Carolina barbecue sauce and tangy, creamy slaw. The Texas-Style Brisket has also become very popular. His favorite dish is the Fresh Rainbow Trout. Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill uses only sustainably-raised and boneless trout in the dish and will prepare it in one of three ways: simply oak-grilled, skillet blackened or pan-seared with Jim Beam, brown sugar and soy sauce.
The Brisket Burger is ideal for "the people who like something a little out of the box," said Benes. It is unique to Wood Ranch and is topped with the restaurant's Famous Shredded Onions and Chipotle-Cherry BBQ sauce.
Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill also has an award-winning kids' menu. "We offer more than the usual mac and cheese and French fries," said Benes. "Kids also get a choice of tri tip, grilled salmon, chicken, ribs, pretty much smaller versions of our core menu."
The flexibility and variety of the menu makes Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill able to serve many different needs, including takeout and family-value packages. The also restaurant offers tailgate service, which is its version of curbside delivery to your car.
It also hosts a happy hour from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, which features small plate and drink specials. "Wine With Us Tuesday" gives guests an opportunity to check out wines for half price, by the glass or by the bottle all day Tuesdays. .
Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill is at 7510 Hazard Center Drive next to the DoubleTree Hotel, and is open daily at 11:30 a.m. For more information, visit woodranch.com.