A $40 steak dinner with all the trimmings? Just look off the beaten path

XXL Ranch & Steakhouse boasts a deal for those able to reserve a table… and then make it down the dirt road leading to it.

By Casey CheekNovember 28, 2023 10:32 am, ,

If you are a frequent traveler of the roads of Texas, you may have spotted the big billboards around Amarillo: All-you-can-eat steak for an hour, or some kind of contest like that. It’s the contest that seems to be the big part of the fun.

But amid all the fun, there are also some serious deals to be had off the beaten path.

Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor of Texas Monthly, joined the Standard to talk about one such establishment where an excellent steak dinner can be had for $40. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.

This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:

Texas Standard: Daniel, where’s this dirt road?

Daniel Vaughn: All right, well, you got to be headed out from Dumas or Stinnett – either one. It’s right in between the two.

The dirt road is… there’s a sign out front for the XXL Ranch & Steakhouse and a phone number in case you’re confused or maybe if you haven’t made reservations yet. Or you can just head the two miles down the dirt road to find the restaurant that’s sort of tucked back in there.

What’s so special about the XXL Ranch & Steakhouse when you got all you could eat steak just up the road, huh? 

Well, it’s really about the atmosphere and the service.

I mean, Charles and Linda Stevens run the place. It is only on Friday and Saturday nights. You got to make reservations ahead of time, often a couple of weeks ahead of time to get yourself a seat in there.

And when you make the reservation, that is really when you order your food. There really isn’t much of a menu. They expect most customers just to get the regular order, I should say, which is the steak dinner. But they do offer a few other things. You know, if you don’t like beef, you can get some salmon or shrimp or pork tenderloin. But most every diner there is going to be eating that ribeye steak.

Daniel, I thought you were the barbecue guy. What are you doing eating steak and writing about it? 

Well, you know, it’s still meat cooked over fire.

So the building there used to be a catering operation, really, for a cowboy. And he would do dinners for hunters and, you know, for oil company folks as well.

But when Charles took this place over, he kept the old wood burning stove there that he thinks has been around for over 50 years. And that’s what he uses to cook all the steaks. And it’s a wide open kitchen. So sitting in the dining room, you can see him sweating over that fire because it’s about 700 to 800 degrees cooking all those steaks.

Is it a cut above?

It is. You know, I mean, it’s an incredible value as well.

It’s a locally-raised, choice grade, 16-oz bone-in ribeye steak. Comes with all the trimmings. And that $40 price tag, you know, you go to the steak house these days and that’s the price for the steak. But this, I mean, it includes the massive baked potato, the garlic bread, the salad, even a hot link of sausage, iced tea, dessert and coffee if you want it. So it is a heck of a deal.

Talk about off the beaten path, though. I mean, you know, you write that were it not for the rental SUV, you might not have made it past the dirt road, huh?

That dirt road can get washed out to a point that Charles will even offer to drive the two miles up to pick you up at the highway to drive you down to the restaurant. So, I mean, it is like you’re following a dirt cloud of the drivers in front of you who might have a reservation at the same time as you do.

How do you find these places?

Well, this one, he actually reached out to me because I had written about 4B Meats nearby in Gruver, Texas, and they rais Wagyu cattle. And about 3 or 4 times a year, Charles has a big Wagyu steak dinner, and he was doing one over Father’s Day weekend and I thought that if I like that 4B steak so much that I might like to have it at his XXL Ranch & Steakhouse.

And he was right. It was a great location for it. And he certainly knew how to cook up that strip.

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