Blake Shelton's Ole Red Menu Items Ranked

Country music star Blake Shelton started Ole Red restaurant and music venue as a place you could come to enjoy both good food and live country music. There are six Ole Red locations around the U.S., so you never know when someone famous might be playing while you eat. And since Shelton is from Oklahoma, some of the menu items -– like the Oklahoma onion burger, chicken fried steak, and sweet skillet cornbread -– come straight from his food roots. But you're also likely to find items on the menu like Northern Alabama white barbecue sauce, Nashville hot chicken, and even Canadian poutine (with a Southern twist). 

If you're not sure what to order when you visit Ole Red, we're here to help. We poured through hundreds of reviews from multiple Ole Red locations and tallied the percentage of good versus bad reviews to come up with scores for 16 frequently ordered menu items. That way, you can avoid the items more people dislike or ones that occasionally come out less than great and head right to the very best items on the menu. The menu differs at each location and tends to change, so if you don't see one of these items on your local menu just yet, simply check back later. Armed with this list of ranked menu items, you'll have a better idea of what will end up appealing to you as well as what you might want to think twice about before ordering.

16. Trash talkin' taco salad

Ole Red's taco salad is one of its best sellers, but lots of diners are trash talkin' it. It starts out with a bed of lettuce. Then comes avocado, sour cream, black olives, jalapeños, kidney beans, and shredded cheddar cheese, which are placed in individual piles around the bowl. A handful of Fritos corn chips goes in the middle. So, ultimately, you have to toss the salad yourself. You also get small dishes of fire-roasted chipotle salsa and sweet Catalina dressing and a couple of lime slices. It comes vegetarian and gluten-free. However, you can ask to add Beyond Meat to it, or even make it an omnivore's meal by asking for taco meat or hot chicken.

You'll want to keep in mind that adding meat costs another $5, which can make a $16 salad fairly expensive. Plus, it's not a huge salad, so coming without meat and being a small salad has left a lot of customers disappointed because of the price. In fact, nearly half of the reviews we found from various locations were negative. Sure, some people loved it, but the venue probably needs a rethink if half the people who get it leave disappointed.

15. Austin brisket sandwich

There's not an Ole Red in Texas yet, but Texas is still on the menu at Ole Red with the Austin brisket sandwich. Not only does this sandwich come with Texas-style smoked brisket, but it also comes with chorizo hot links. Vinegar slaw and fried onion straws give it added texture and flavor. Despite it being Texas-inspired, it also includes the tang of North-Alabama-created white barbecue sauce. But Austin is an adventurous place for food, so it's a plausible flavor combination.

Meghan Hays says in her Google review of her visit to Ole Red that her boyfriend "got the Austin Brisket Sandwich and he said it was in his top 5 favorite meals." That's a glowing review if we've ever heard one. Of course, you want to be sure you're a fan of chorizo hot links before you give it a try because it's a $20 sandwich. While many people have raved about the sandwich, others have gotten stuck with meat that's too dry, tough, or fatty, and they didn't think the meal stood up to really good brisket like you'd get in Texas.

14. Chicken fried steak

A man from Oklahoma can't have a Southern restaurant without putting chicken fried steak on the menu (especially if he's going to open up a restaurant in his hometown). This one has all the right ingredients since the chicken fried steak is served with cheddar smashed potatoes, and both are smothered with white gravy. Plus, you get bonus corn on the cob.

Unfortunately, some diners say it's obvious that the chicken fried steak started out frozen rather than being handmade. Curt Golden said in his Google review from the Tishomingo, Oklahoma, site: "In the words of Alan Jackson 'It ain't like Mama fixed it.' It was some sort of pre-assembled mystery meat patty, kind of like what you would get in a school lunch." One customer said they could get better and cheaper chicken fried steak at Cracker Barrel. On the whole, it's a mediocre rather than an outstanding meal. Although, it seems like customers had much better things to say about it when it first showed up on the menu in 2020 than in 2023.

13. Honey-drizzled skillet cornbread

Since Blake Shelton is from Oklahoma, you get Oklahoma's version of cornbread on the Ole Red menu –- the sweet variety. So, if you're a Southerner expecting savory cornbread, you should know what you're getting into before biting into cornbread that leans closer toward the dessert side of the culinary spectrum. The uninitiated may be surprised to find that it has some strong similarities to cake. Honestly, the serving is big enough that you'll probably want to share the cornbread. The fun thing is that the cornbread comes in an iron skillet straight from the oven and is topped with whipped honey butter, which makes the cornbread taste even sweeter and yummier as it melts.

When it's hot and moist, customers love this cornbread, but the experience doesn't seem to be consistent. There are far too many nights when customers complain about it coming to the table too cold or dry.

12. Honky-tonk crispy chicken salad

The honky-tonk crispy chicken salad doesn't have a lot of surprises. It's your typical crispy chicken salad with lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. It also comes with sliced red onions and shredded cheddar cheese, which ramps up the flavor. Along with crispy chicken, you'll get a side of honey mustard dressing. Of course, you could switch the dressing out for another variety you see on the menu, like ranch, Catalina, or balsamic vinaigrette.

This salad is fairly large, which makes customers feel like they're getting a better deal than with the trash talkin' taco salad. However, some people find that it's pricey at $16. Prices hovering around $15 have become standard for any menu item these days, so it shouldn't be too surprising anymore. While the menu lists romaine lettuce, you may end up getting a substitution like iceberg lettuce, which can be a little disappointing. However, with romaine lettuce being an often-recalled product, it's best to be safe.

11. Kiss my country grilled chicken sammich

The name of the kiss my country grilled chicken sammich actually comes from a Blake Shelton song called "Kiss My Country A**" about being a "backwoods redneck." Oddly enough, it's a fairly sophisticated sandwich since it comes with jalapeño peach jam, white cheddar cheese, and pickled red onions -– a combination you're not likely to find elsewhere. The chicken breast gets a barbecue-flavored dry rub and is soaked in a balsamic marinade before grilling, so it ends up with a smoky taste. These flavors seem to work best with a potato bun.

The jam and pickled onions are really what makes this sandwich memorable. Ella Spence's review on Google explains why this grilled chicken sandwich is nothing like you've ever tasted before. "I loved the peach jalapeno jam, the heat from the jalapenos was perfect with the tartness of the peach. The pickled onions came in lastly and kind of cleansed the palate but gave it a little bit of tartness as well."

10. Grilled bacon-wrapped meatloaf

Meatloaf can be hit or miss, but it's a hit at Ole Red, according to customer reviews. Being grilled and wrapped in bacon takes this meatloaf over to another level beyond the type that you would get at your local diner. Coming with sweet barbecue sauce instead of ketchup also makes it different than most meatloaves you've ever had. It's a given that your meatloaf should come with mashed potatoes, but these are cheddar smashed potatoes, which are even better than ordinary mashed potatoes. Cheese makes everything better, right?

Mitchell McKie says in his Google review that eating this meatloaf is "like angels dancing in your mouth!" Even people who don't normally eat meatloaf seemed to be huge fans. While many people gush over this meatloaf, there have been a few complaints like getting it cold or finding that the serving size is too small for their liking.

9. Fried chicken wings by the dozen

Even though the wings come as an appetizer you can share around the table, you'll probably be just as happy making it your main meal. They're reasonably impressive as wings go in both flavor and size. Customer Mitchell McKie was impressed with their size, saying in his Google review that they were "so big they must come from 40 pound chickens."

When you order wings from Ole Red, you get four sauce choices. The wings come pre-coated in sauce, and it's the perfect amount of sauce, some diners say. Two of your choices are Ole Red brand hot sauce or barbecue sauce. However, if you're more adventurous, you may decide to order your wings with peach habanero or Korean barbecue sauce instead. If you're not looking for a candy-like sweet experience with your wings, you might want to skip the barbecue sauce and try one of the other sauces. You'll also get ranch dressing for dipping your wings and celery.

8. Bluetick burger

Despite the name, the bluetick burger doesn't come with blue cheese or anything frou-frou. Instead, the bluetick burger is your basic, classic hamburger with standard ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onion. Plus, it comes on a thick sesame seed bun. So, if you're looking for a basic hamburger with no frills, this is what you want to order. However, some people have been disappointed by how basic it is.

While it tastes great plain because of the quality of the burger, you can still make it your own with add-ons like American or cheddar cheese (other locations offer white cheddar and pimento cheese). You can make it a bacon burger, add an extra beef patty to it, or even top it with smoked brisket or a fried egg. Of course, each of the add-ons come at a price. There are also bun substitutions so you can make to make it gluten-free, and choosing a Beyond Burger makes it vegetarian.

7. Honey bee hot chicken & waffles

Chicken and waffles have been a thing for longer than you probably realize, with one of the first restaurants to serve the yummy pairing probably being the Well's Supper Club in Harlem in the 1930s. In addition to buttermilk-fried chicken breasts on your waffles, you will also find fried onion straws on the dish at Ole Red. Some of the best chicken and waffles we've had have included spicy syrup, which is an option at Ole Red since it comes with either regular or hot honey and bourbon maple syrup. Occasionally, you may find Nashville hot chicken on the menu for your waffles instead of the plain buttermilk-fried variety. Although, if Nashville hot chicken is anywhere else on the menu, you can likely ask for a substitution.

Nearly everyone who has tried Ole Red's chicken and waffles has loved them, according to online reviews. Twitter user @straw_hat_samurai declared them the "best chicken and waffles I've ever had, at least top 3."

6. Catfish & smoked gouda grits

Every good Southern restaurant needs catfish on the menu, and if it comes with cheese grits, it's a double win. In addition to the cheese grits with smoky gouda, Ole Red's catfish and smoked gouda grits come with something you almost never see in a restaurant — tomato gravy. Sure, good Southerners make it at home, but this culinary wonder gets forgotten on restaurant menus. The catfish has a light breading and is nice and moist inside. Ole Red gets it right by frying it to crispy perfection and normally gets the seasoning just right. Some even say it's the best they've ever had.

Of course, there have been some off nights where customers complained that it tasted like the chef forgot the salt. People who are accustomed to eating their catfish with tarter sauce are also sometimes disappointed that it isn't an option. But, overall, the reviews are positive for this menu item.

5. Oklahoma onion burger

Blake Shelton is from Tishomingo, Oklahoma, so it was a no-brainer for him to put an Oklahoma-style onion burger on the menu. The burger was invented during the Great Depression in an attempt to make ingredients stretch further. The most basic Oklahoma onion burger is a hamburger meat patty piled high with thinly sliced grilled onions and placed in a hamburger bun. We've even seen the onions stuffed into the burger in some places in Oklahoma like Goldie's Patio Grill. Ole Red's Oklahoma onion burger is a cheeseburger that features beer onions. It also comes topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. The bun has sesame seeds for added flavor, but you can actually request a gluten-free bun if you'd like.

It's hard to be disappointed with an Oklahoma burger. If you like burgers and grilled onions, you're going to love it. Ask for some barbecue sauce for it, and it's going to be near bliss. Enjoy.

4. Fried pickles

Anything can come fried in the South, so seeing fried pickles as a starter in a Southern-based restaurant shouldn't be all that surprising. It's also a great appetizer choice for vegetarians, and the portion is huge. Sometimes, the fried pickles come with green tomatoes, but you may just find them on the menu alone. They're also likely to be some of the best fried pickles you've ever had and one of the best and most popular appetizer offerings. However, some people find them too greasy.

When you order fried pickles, you get to choose which sauce you would like to eat with them. Ranch dressing is probably the sauce you'd think of first for dipping something fried. However, you could also try contrasting the tanginess of a dill pickle with the sweetness of Ole Red's barbecue sauce. Another dipping option that you'll probably end up wanting to practically drink is white barbecue sauce, which was popularized in the northern part of Alabama. If you're not familiar with white barbecue sauce, it's a tangy mayonnaise-based, slightly sweet sauce that gets a kick from spices like garlic and onion powder as well as Worcestershire sauce or mustard and sometimes horseradish.

3. Pulled pork bar-b-que sandwich

You can't have a good Southern restaurant without pulled pork on the menu. This pulled pork bar-b-que sandwich goes a step above ordinary barbecue sandwiches with vinegar slaw stacked on top of the pulled pork. It also comes with pickles on a potato bun. Since the pulled pork comes with the chain's signature barbecue sauce, you'll want to note that the barbecue sauce is a sweet one. However, the vinegar in the slaw should help to balance out all the flavors for you.

If you'd like a little more spice in it, you can ask for a bit of hot sauce to add. Depending on where you're from, the pulled pork may remind you of home. Or it may just turn out to be the best you've ever had. It tends to be one of the most talked about and liked orders at Ole Red. So, if you like sweet barbecue sandwiches, it's going to be a pretty safe bet for you.

2. Redneck nachos

Once upon a time, Ole Red's redneck nachos were made with kettle chips, chicken, barbecue sauce, and cheese. Customers seemed to universally love that version, according to online reviews, but the redneck nachos seem to have undergone several evolutions, including a tortilla chip version in 2022 featuring pulled pork, beer cheese, pickled jalapeños, avocado, sour cream, tomatoes, and green onions. Redneck nachos in 2023 start with tortilla chips and taco meat as the base. Then, they get covered in white queso, black olives, corn salsa, and cilantro. Pickled red onions and pickled jalapenos give it a vinegary and spicy kick, while a drizzling of the restaurant's yummy avocado cream completes the experience.

No matter the ingredients, customers seem to love this enormous platter of nachos that is perfect for sharing. Two people (or maybe more) could make a whole meal from a single order of these nachos. Many declare them the best they've tried anywhere.

1. Southern tot poutine

Poutine is definitely not a traditional dish of the South, but it's a Canadian export that has started to filter its way into the states. Traditional poutine comes with french fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy, but this version at Ole Red substitutes tots for fries and Southern white gravy for brown, plus extra goodies. Even if you've never tried poutine or cheese curds before, one look at this ingredient list will have your interest piqued.

When @doublej21 described Ole Red's "unique tater tots" on Tripadvisor, they said they were "almost like a ball of hash browns." Alone, tots are one of the most popular side items at Ole Red, and they're also popular in poutine. The tots come stacked with ingredients, including pulled pork and fried cheese curds. Poured over these ingredients are white gravy and the restaurant's special hot sauce. An over-easy fried egg tops the whole culinary invention, along with a sprinkling of chopped green onions. Puncture the yellow of the egg, and it will run over the sides of the dish to become a second gravy.

The Southern tot poutine is the cheapest appetizer, and it will stretch your money further if you want to eat it as a main dish or share. It's also unique to Ole Red. If you're trying to decide between nachos and the Southern tot poutine dish, we suggest going for the poutine because it's incredible.