When: November 24, 2015, 7:10 PM
Verdict? Not recommended
The very first post on this blog was Lunch @ Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue. I covered the basics of (and my love for) the restaurant at that time, but suffice to say that I think lunch at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue is one of the best dining options in the park.
With lunch under my belt, I (finally) went back to try dinner.
My advice? Stick with lunch.
Look, Big Thunder has two menus: lunch and dinner. The core of the menus are identical, but dinner adds two items not found at lunch: smoked sausage and corn cob wheels. For those extra goodies, the price jumps from $23.99 to $31.99.
While both the sausage and the corn are OK, neither are standouts. And that means it’s hard for me to recommend the dinner option, because you’re not getting good value for your (extra) money.
In terms of sausage: it’s very mild. It comes pre-sliced. It’s served mixed in with the barbecue ribs and chicken. The smoke flavor is faint, and the texture is fine. It’s not remarkable. Fundamentally, this is a side.
The corn cob wheels are pre-cut sections of corn cob. I didn’t care much for these – they’re boiled and fairly salty (boiled in salt water, perhaps?). They’re a tad on the mushy side, and not very fresh. Of the various sides (beans, slaw, cornbread, sausage) they place last for me. Given that the restaurant is “all you care to enjoy,” this is just unnecessary competition, a distraction, for the space in your stomach that should be dedicated to rib/chicken awesomeness.
So. Big Thunder for lunch? Hell yes. Big Thunder for dinner? I’d say pass. You can get all the good stuff for a lower price during daylight hours. I can’t recommend it, based on how little you get for the additional dollars.
One more aside: if you don’t know, Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue is closing permanently in January, 2016 to make way for the upcoming Star Wars Land. If you’re inclined to try the restaurant, I’d suggest you hurry: time is running out.
UPDATE: As of January 2016, this dish is no longer available.