Jackson Hole, Wyoming
By Barbara Booras
In the shadow of the majestic Grand Teton National Park, early morning you will find the kitchen staff of Bubba’s Bar-B-Que starting their daily ritual. Each shift begins with Bubba’s biscuits mixed carefully by hand and baked off to prepare for the day’s customers of familiar faces and tourists.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, home of Bubba’s Bar-B-Que, attracts skiers and snow mobilers in the winter and nature goers exploring the nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks come summer. The population swells with guests discovering the vast natural surroundings Wyoming has to offer.
Bubba’s made its name as a local favorite; a blue collar restaurant with generous portions feeding the working class customer. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily with a focus on hearty western and southern inspired food.
Original owner and former architect, James Shriver, had designed several Sonny’s BBQs, a chain located throughout the south. After falling hard for the concept, he was compelled to open his own southern comfort spot serving up three squares a day. Somewhere along the way, Shriver picked up the nickname Bubba and is now the BBQ joint’s namesake. Bubba’s Bar-B-Que has since changed hands and is a fixture of the aptly named, “Blue Collar Restaurant Group.”
General Manager, Brian Izard, oversees the smooth operation of the busy, 170-seat western decked restaurant open daily. Aside from out-of-towners, Izard says, any given day you’ll see construction workers, mechanics, and ranchers enjoying some of their signature dishes like slow smoked St Louis Ribs ($13). That’s right ranchers.
You’ll find Bubba’s bar room pouring a small selection of local favorite brews including Snake River Brewing’s Jenny Lake Lager, named for the lake in the neighboring park. In addition to the southern classics like pulled pork made with slow-smoked pork shoulder, beef brisket and locally made smoked sausage, Bubba’s Bar-B-Que’s offers what they call the best salad bar in all of Wyoming. “We make everything fresh every morning [and] we make our own dressings,” Izard says.
Bubba’s is a true local restaurant with a loyal local following. “There’s a group that comes in every single morning at 7:30 and that’s just for coffee,” explained Izard. Those seeking out the classic breakfast combination of warm biscuits smothered in homemade sausage gravy, may find themselves staggered by the sheer scale of their version. “They’re the size of my hand,” Izard motioned. Not unlike the scenery, Bubba’s fluffy Biscuits and Gravy are mountainous to match (full order $10, half order $7).
Credit for the biscuit recipe goes to James aka Bubba’s mother. Even decades since the restaurant’s opening, the recipe remains true to the original. “I’m not sure if James’ mom made them this large originally,” Izard laughed, “but everything’s bigger in Wyoming,” borrowing from the Texan catchphrase. “Well…we’re close to [Texas] and we’ve got some pretty big mountains.”
About four years back, when Brian first came on board as manager, he took a shot (several shots, actually) at making Bubba’s mom’s signature recipe. “If you don’t massage the dough just right, they don’t come out nearly as full. Plump,” Izard corrected himself. “I just couldn’t get it right. The first time was pretty bad. I didn’t sell those.”
These days, you won’t find Izard in the kitchen tussling with dough. He leaves that to seasoned kitchen staff including 15-year Bubba’s veteran and Sous Chef, Felipe Tzompa. Felipe or “Flipper,” as Brian jokingly calls him, can expect the kitchen to bake off 140 of these colossal biscuits on a busy summer morning. Volume nearly increases fivefold in the summertime.
Although the motto may actually go “Everything’s Bigger in Texas” it looks like the lone star state has got nothing on Bubba’s mom’s mammoth biscuits and Jackson Hole’s stunning scenery.
Makes Biscuits 24 Biscuits
What you need:
6 cups (1.5 quarts) all-purpose flour
1/2 lb (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
6 cups (1.5 quarts) milk
How you make it:
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Break up butter and fold into the flour by hand creating small pea sized pieces continuing until the butter/flour balls are all about pea-sized. Once finished with the butter simply mix remaining items in a large mixing bowl.
Once the biscuits have been mixed, roll out dough to about ¾” thick and cut your desired biscuit size.
Bake in preheated oven for 13 minutes. Turn the biscuits proceed to cook for another 13 minutes.
Tips: Unlike other recipes, this biscuit calls for room temperature butter. Careful not to overwork the dough creating tough biscuits. Sous Chef “Flipper” says enjoy with honey and butter.
Visit Bubba’s Bar-B-Que:
100 Flat Creek Dr
Jackson, Wyoming 83001
6:30 AM - 10:00 PM (Summer)
6:30 AM - 9:00 PM (Winter)
Barbara Booras is a Boston native and freelance writer based in New York City. She works in sales for a Mediterranean-inspired importer and producer. In addition to being a lover of all things gastronomy, Barbara is an avid runner and recently completed her second NYC Marathon running with City Harvest, a local food rescue charity. Follow her food adventures on Twitter and Instagram @Favoritenoodle.