“The best brisket I’ve ever had!” said the young Australian man, snapping photos of Doug’s restaurant, adding that on his frequent visits to the US he seeks out brisket wherever he goes. The on-line reviews of Doug’s Steak and BBQ emphatically agree. So what is it about a brisket that produces this kind of satisfaction? Doug Whipple accords his recipe success to serious study and the learning process, with consistent application of the techniques that he has mastered.
Restaurants are not new to Doug and Karen Whipple, who own and operate the Peace Tree Juice Cafés in Moab and Monticello, both of which are flourishing businesses. They delight in providing great food and excellent customer service in their restaurants, as well as good working environments for their 50 or more employees. The Moab location has expanded during its 20 years from a tiny place with a few different smoothies to a unique establishment with breakfast, lunch and dinner. The 14 year old Monticello Café, once the Northside Grocery Store (complete with gas pumps in front), serves a more modest menu in a warm and welcoming eclectic SW atmosphere. Stop by and check out the jewelry in its gift shop.
Just across the side street in Monticello from the Café is a large, open lot with big trees. In the 40’s and 50’s it was operated as a trailer park, catering to uranium miners. Some years later, a new owner updated the small park’s utilities and built a restaurant on the property, an open air pavilion with a kitchen at one end. But out-door dining can be uncomfortable in Monticello’s frequent winds, and it closed. Doug, who is a licensed contractor in almost every facet of construction, saw a new restaurant opportunity in the old structure. Envisioning a home for the perfect brisket, he enclosed the pavilion and created a bright, clean, and inviting eating space within, perfectly suited to the straightforward menu of his Steak and BBQ establishment.
Initially the new restaurant had a reasonably sized kitchen, but the very day the doors opened for business on August 1st, 2018, it proved to be too small! A fine little lunch wagon meant for catering was mustered into service, and is now a permanent part of the restaurant. A new kitchen area was added, and very soon, a second brisket cooker twice the size of the first! These cookers, as well as two Traeger smoker grills which are used for chicken and pies, live in a large garage across the street.
What fueled this explosion? “Study and application” says Doug. For a year and a half, while building, he combed the web and read with notebook in hand until he understood most of the secrets of good brisket cooking. Then it was hands-on learning, dealing with the dry climate here, and experimenting with seasoning and time. It was mastering wood combustion to keep smoke and temperatures just right in his massive stainless steel rotisserie cookers. It was keeping records and eating the results daily. Doug says he put on 20 pounds during this process! Now, following his perfected recipe, every brisket (generally 8 to 10 a day) is cooked precisely the same. Meat goes into the cookers at 2 am, and from 8 am till 4 pm, the temperatures are checked hourly. The aroma of oak smoke fills both the garage and restaurant, promising great flavors!
Doug’s Steak and BBQ has been open only one year. Looking ahead, Doug sees inevitable growth. With its perfected menu, bar, and wide-screen TVs for sports viewing, its popularity is booming. The restaurant currently seats about 60-80; clearly, more seating space will soon be necessary. Come on in and join the fan club! Experience the taste of the best brisket ever, and chat with Doug about his recipe for success.
Located at the north end of Monticello at 496 No. Main Street (Hwy191). Open 4 pm to 10 pm, Thursday through Monday. 435-587-2255 www.dougssteakandbbq.com