By SHAUNNA DUNDER HERSHBERGER
THE BUDS were on a mission: taste the Ruttenbucks ribs that eluded them at the Chefs' Auction a few weeks ago. You may recall, by the time the Buds made their way to Ruttenbucks' booth, the rest of the public had gobbled up all the ribs. The Buds intended to find out why they were so popular.
With Bud Em on vacation, Bud Shaunna rounded up a guest Bud very willing to take on the rib mission - her hubby.
Just off the Dallas Pike exit in Valley Grove, Ruttenbucks sits in a very busy area across from the truck stop. The whole restaurant had a welcoming western theme - complete with antlers as door pulls on the outside, wooden booths and western decor.
The Buds were seated and were immediately taken aback by all the choices on the menu. What? We had to narrow it down to just one entree each? This was going to be difficult.
Several of the appetizers caught our eye, including wings or boneless chicken tenders in a variety of flavors, a frystack, which are fries loaded with chili, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, bacon and jalapenos, and the Backwoods Bruschetta. Ruttenbucks also offers soups and salads, including chili, a turkey club salad and black and bleu, which is black peppered steak topped with fries and a side of bleu cheese.
If you're in the mood for a sandwich, you're in luck! Choose from a variety of burgers including the Hillbilly Hollers which feature two four-ounce burgers topped with cheddar, bacon, honey BBQ and deep fried jalapenos, chicken stacks including a chicken philly and a chicken frisco, and more sandwiches like roast beef and pulled pork.
Bud Shaunna finally narrowed down her choices to a combo, like Jim Beam steak and chicken or the sizzlin steak and shrimp, or the pico chicken, a grilled chicken breast topped with tomato-basil seasoned pico de gallo and crumbled Feta cheese. She ultimately chose the latter, as it was the Feta that sucked her in.
This meal did not disappoint. The chicken breast was huge and juicy, and the pico and Feta added a delicious zing. With a generous side salad and steamed broccoli, this large dinner rang in at 11 bucks.
Bud Hubby was tempted by the steaks, especially the Tipsy Filet, a diced steak served on a mound of buttered noodles and topped with brown mushroom gravy, but he eventually decided to get what we came for - ribs! Luckily for the Buds, it was rib night, and the special featured $2 off a full rack of ribs. With only a three buck difference between half a rack and a full rack, Bud Hubby went whole hog and ordered the full rack.
The menu boldly states that the ribs are "darn good" and it's not kidding! The ribs, slow cooked with a secret seasoning and then charbroiled with a honey BBQ sauce, were so tender that the meat was falling off the bones. The slightly sweet, slightly smokey flavor had Bud Hubby licking his fingers - until he couldn't eat anymore and requested a to-go box. His meal rang in just under 20 bucks and included a side salad, seasoned fries and a soda.
For those healthy eaters that might still have some room left, Ruttenbucks also offers chocolate chip cookies, an ice cream sandwich and hot apple pie. The Buds couldn't possibly eat another bite, which makes that the perfect reason to go back again!
Make the trip to Valley Grove and visit Ruttenbucks - it's definitely worth the trip!
The Buds can be reached at tastebuds@timesleader online.com