FOOD: Smokin' Okies

 

Written by Melanie Phillips Clemens in the November 2011 Issue

Larry Starns has been in the catering business for two years but smoking meats until they’re tender and delicious has been his passion for more than 35 years. Starns praises his wife, Nancy, for ‘nudging’ him to share his cooking with more than just family and friends. "I used to cook for free for companies I was employed with. My wife, Nancy said ‘You’re not doing what you really want to do. People love the food you fix so let’s do something with it.’ We chose to start Smokin’ Okies Catering instead of a restaurant because we wanted more free time while doing what we love," said Starns.

As a young boy in the Boy Scouts, Starns first learned how to smoke the meats that are now the highlight of Smokin’ Okies. "Back in the 60’s when Boy Scouts went camping, they learned to cook. Of course being outdoors meant learning to cook outdoors so we smoked whatever meats we wanted and I’ve been doing it ever since," said Starns.

Smokin’ Okies specializes in smoked brisket and ribs though Starns’ homemade potato casserole is one of many items high in demand. "My potato casserole is so unique, my wife doesn’t even know every ingredient. Our old-fashioned green beans are like the ones’ grandma used to make," said Starns. Nancy brings her own signature to the menu with homemade coleslaw, one-of-a-kind deviled eggs and cheesecake cupcakes that Larry declares "will knock your socks off."

Smokin’ Okies’ homemade sauce has a spicy flavor that appeals to even the most delicate palate. "We have one sauce and people love it. We sell so much that we now have a company that makes it for us. We’re working on marketing it and hope to have it in stores by this time next year," said Starns.

Smokin’ Okies’ menu is much like a traditional barbeque restaurant but their mobility is an attribute that sets them apart. "We deliver food for business meetings or cater events on-site. We cook everything in our fully stocked 24 foot trailer. We’ll set up and serve or drop off and let them serve themselves, however the customer likes it," said Starns.

As with any public food service, mobile food trucks are inspected. "The pictures you see on our website show how our trailer looks inside and out, we keep it clean," said Starns.

Early days that end late are just part of the package that enable the Starns to do something they enjoy. "We’ve never had so much fun in our lives. When you do what you love, it never feels like work. Being a husband and wife team that works together is unique and it works well for us. We’ve
become friends with other food truck vendors and attend
festivals together. " said Starns.

A loyal following in the Edmond community is one of many reasons Smokin’ Okies loves staying close to home. "I’ve been around Edmond since 1960. The community has been good to us and we love this area. We have a calendar on our website so our customers know where we are," said Starns.

For your catering needs or more information visit their website at www.thesmokinokies.com or call 615-6830 and find them on Facebook.

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