Remembering Koky’s Barbecue Ranch en Hialeah

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Koky’s Barbecue Steak Ranch (4950 W 12th Avenue, Hialeah), or just Koky’s for short, was in my family’s restaurant rotation for dinner. I’m not sure how we piled six into one booth, but my sister and I were young.

My parents and grandparents were all about hickory smoked ribs and any of the Cuban comfort food side dishes. I was a little nugget then, so the burger was my main squeeze at Koky’s, along with their smokey fresh-cut fries.

By the time I was twelve, we had moved on to Casa Paco (R.I.P.) in Westchester and Molina’s in Hialeah. Yet, I always associated delicious fries with Koky’s, not the barbecue.

In investigating the location’s history, I found a mention of Culpepper’s Plantation Pit Barbecues. After a deeper dive, Culpepper’s address was 940 E 49th Street, about three miles away.

Koky’s had a good run. Not many restaurants can claim to be open for almost forty years. I mean, we’re talking about five different decades.

Before becoming Pincho Factory in July 2015, there was also the shortlived Tuscan Steakhouse BBQ. Apparently, members of the Koky’s Barbecue Ranch family attempted a rebrand which lasted a few months. The Yelp reviews tell that story.

Vintage Koky's Menu, part of my Burger Beast Museum collection
A salvaged Koky’s Menu, part of my Burger Beast Museum collection

After the newspaper clippings about Koky’s, below is a reprint of my only visit to Koky’s when this blog was only about six months old. So, please forgive me for the horrible pictures.

Koky’s Newspaper Clippings

Koky's in the Miami Herald 3-15-81
The Miami Herald – March 15th, 1981
Koky's in the Miami Herald 7-8-82
The Miami Herald – July 8th, 1982
Koky's in the Miami News 11-5-82
The Miami News – November 5th, 1982
Koky's in the Miami Herald 12-8-83
The Miami Herald – December 8th, 1983

Original Koky’s Write-up on Burger Beast

Koky's Barbecue Ranch in Hialeah, Florida
Koky’s Barbecue Ranch in Hialeah, Florida

March 17th, 2009 – Man, did I love Koky’s BBQ in the 1980s! I can’t believe this place has been around since 1976.

As a kid, I used to eat dinner at Koky’s Barbecue Steak Ranch with my family once or twice a month. Not much has changed at the place, it’s still a bit of a dive, but maybe that’s why it’s still around.

Or, it could be because the prices are relatively low compared to other food places, which would explain a few things. Marcela decides to go with an order of baby back ribs.

I order the Jumbo Double Cheese Burger with fries, and we also order some wings and a couple of corn on the cobs. Jumbo, the Jumbo Double Cheese Burger is not; as a matter of fact, it got lost in the bun. As far as flavor is concerned, it reminds me of a Burger King patty.

Double Cheeseburger with fries from Koky's Barbecue Ranch in Hialeah, Florida
Double Cheeseburger with fries from Koky’s Barbecue Ranch in Hialeah, Florida
Wings from Koky's Barbecue Ranch in Hialeah, Florida
Wings

The wings were slightly undercooked. The oddest thing was they were not grilled or fried.

Leaving only the dreaded oven-baked or microwaved options, which is what I’m leaning towards. The corn, well, it was corn, and it was bland even after we added butter and salt.

Rack of Ribs from Koky's Barbecue Ranch in Hialeah, Florida
Rack of Ribs from Koky’s Barbecue Ranch in Hialeah, Florida

Marcela’s baby back ribs were a travesty. There is no way they were made today. The ribs were so dry, I’ve got a feeling they were reheated, and that’s the feeling I get about Koky’s; nothing appears to be fresh.

The only thing I thought was good was their fries, but man can not survive on fries alone.

Koky’s
4950 W. 12th Avenue, Hialeah, FL
305-558-5512
Hours: Sun-Thu 10:30 AM-11 PM, Fri/Sat 10:30 AM-12 AM


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