Whether you are getting married or just have an outdoor Cowboy BBQ, Tanque Verde Ranch at the far eastern point of Speedway Blvd. in Tucson has it all. And of course if you want a BBQ and a marriage ceremony, you don’t have to choose!
That is how I met Monica and Scott, both members of the US military. The outdoor BBQ is held every Wednesday (with ribs) and Saturday (with steaks). They shared our table, just 4 days before their wedding at the ranch. They only have a short time together as Monica leaves for an overseas posting in just a few days.
One reason they chose this place to get married is because of a TV show, Hey Dude, that ran from 1988-1991. She was a big fan of that Western comedy series, shot on site. Some of the original sets can still be seen, a little bit of late 20th century nostalgia that brought her here for the big day.
Tanque Verde Ranch got started on this site in the 1860s and now comprises 640 acres, with an additional 60,000 acres leased for its cattle operations. There are also 150 horses, with horseback riding experiences available to those who visit or choose to stay for several days.
The busiest time of year for the BBQ is from now till May. It attracts anywhere from 100 to 300 people, who are regaled before and during dinner with a singing cowboy (he takes requests, but only cowboy songs). It was Bill when I visited, but you might hear Andy. Sometimes bands make an appearance too.
The BBQ is excellent, with a wide choice including corn on the cob, cowboy beans, cornbread, macaroni, baked potato with all the fixings, and two cobblers for dessert. The meat is served by a ranch hand, while you help yourself to the rest – as much as you want! A special treat is roasting your own marshmallow over an open fire, and then placing it between graham crackers and chocolate. Yes, it’s a S’more (a contraction of ‘some more’). The cash bar opens at 530, with dinner at 6pm.
Don’t forget to have your picture taken in front of the covered wagon, and tell all your friends that’s how you got there!
For details on booking the BBQ or a visit to the ranch, visit the website: www.tanqueverderanch.com
Photos by C Cunningham