CowboysRomance Novels

The Truth about Tyler’s BBQ Joint in Midnight Ride

Midnight RideMidnight Ride is the lead-off title in the Midnight Cowboys series, which is a spin-off of my Oklahoma Nights series and set in the same world with crossover characters.

The second book in the Midnight Cowboy series, Midnight Wrangler, is Rohn’s story and releases Tuesday, Nov. 24th, but before it does, here are some fun facts about one of the book’s locations.

You probably already know that Joseph’s Fine Foods, the restaurant in One Night with a Cowboy (Oklahoma Nights) where Tuck and Becca eat fried bologna, jalapeno hushpuppies and smoked brisket, is real and really located in Drumright, Oklahoma just as I wrote. But did you know that Tyler’s favorite barbecue place in his home town is also real? But this time I cheated a little.

The actual inspiration for Tyler’s BBQ joint is not in Oklahoma. It’s right here in New York State and it happens to be my favorite local place to grab dinner.

The story in Midnight Ride of how Tyler found his barbecue joint is exactly how I found mine…Driving past a rundown hardware store, seeing the generic OPEN flag flapping along the road, and smelling the smoker.

Enjoy this excerpt from Midnight Ride as Tyler enjoys his brisket and jalapeno mac & cheese, and then watch the video I made of the actual place and food!

MIDNIGHT RIDE (Midnight Cowboys) by Cat Johnson

“Packs a powerful emotional punch” Publishers Weekly
“Johnson is a master at pushing boundaries, and the opening of her Midnight Cowboys series is no exception.” RT Book Reviews

One bucking bronco…Oklahoma ranch hand Tyler Jenkins is too young, too sexy, and too damn wild to be tied down by any single woman—for more than a few steamy hours…

One hard-working widow…Widowed rancher Janie Smithwick is too busy paying off her debts to play rodeo with a reckless young cowboy like Tyler—no matter how hot he gets her…

One midnight ride they’ll never forget…As a rule, Janie should be dating a man her own age, like her handsome neighbor Rohn—not the twenty-four-year old ranch hand he employs. But once Tyler gets Janie alone—held tight in his arms, pressed against his hard muscled body, burning with desire—the widow realizes that some rules, like broncos, are meant to be broken…

Midnight Ride Chapter 1 Excerpt

There was something about a really good, down-home barbecue joint that made Tyler Jenkins happy, deep down all the way through his stomach and to his very soul.

Of course, to meet his very high culinary standards, it couldn’t be one of those bullshit places that pretended to be real. It had to be authentic, or why bother? If all the restaurant did was slap some sauce on a piece of meat and call it barbecue, he might as well go to a fast food chain.

To be worth his time and money, there had to be smoke, and lots of it. He wanted to smell it in the air as they slow-cooked the meat out back. He wanted to taste it the moment the food hit his tongue.

Like most things worth doing, getting that kind of result took time. Hours. All day, in fact. Only the best places devoted that kind of time and effort. Where he sat now was one of those places.

It looked like nothing from the road. A run-down shack with an old RV parked next to it. A couple of wooden picnic tables inside and a couple more out front by the parking lot, each with a roll of paper towels set out on top for customers to wipe their hands and mouths.

That was the extent of it, except for the most important part—the smoker. The big steel barrel pumped a mouthwatering cloud of meat-laden smoke into the air.

Yes, sir, there was everything right with this place. Incredibly good food that was fast and cheap—everything Tyler looked for.

As he sat with the sun beating down on his shoulders and the wide brim of his cowboy hat shading his eyes, he was in heaven. He shoved another piece of marbled brisket between his lips, and a burst of flavor filled his mouth. He couldn’t help the sound of appreciation that rumbled from deep within him.

It might very well be hereditary in the Jenkins men—this appreciation for fine barbecue. Tyler’s older brother Tucker had his own favorite place in Drumright. Tuck would travel quite a distance if he had to, and drive hours to get his favorite smoked meat. It must be in their genes, right along with the other Jenkins traits—dark hair, blue eyes, an appreciation for the gentler sex, a love of all things rodeo, and, of course, the ability to sniff out good food.

Closing his eyes to better enjoy every subtle nuance, he absorbed how the smoky taste stuck around for a while. He could feel it settling in on the back of his throat for a nice long stay, even after he’d swallowed the beef.

Another sound of pure appreciation grumbled from within him. Two things made Tyler purr like a house cat from pure contented satisfaction, but only one of them was something he could do out in public. “Mmm, mmm. This right here is good enough to make you want to smack your own ass.”

With a forkful of jalapeño macaroni and cheese poised in midair, Tyler’s boss let out a laugh. “YouWomen and Food Quote ain’t kidding. How’d you find this place to begin with? There isn’t even a sign out front.”

Tyler laughed at the older man. “Rohn, please. There are two things I can always find—women and food. I’ve been working for you at the ranch for long enough, you should know that by now.”

The truth was, the scent of smoked meat and the telltale trail from the smoker rising into the air like a beacon had first led him here.

The building was partially hidden from the road by a hardware store in front of it. The OPEN banner blowing in the breeze from a pole stuck in the dirt along the road hadn’t told Tyler what the hidden establishment sold, but the scent in the air sure had. He could sniff out good barbecue a mile away. He was certainly glad he’d swung the truck onto the dirt of the parking lot that day.

MIDNIGHT RIDE in Paperback, eBook & Audiobook