Grubbing hard at the OTHER Ranch
Grubbing hard at the OTHER Ranch
Anne Marie Panoringan

50. Lunch At Big Thunder Ranch At Disneyland

Behold our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!

Purchasing a Disneyland Annual Passport was like investing in a small car, but we did it. The goal this year: Hit every ride. Unofficially, it's to also chow at every outlet. And despite summers and some seasonal employment via the Disneyland College Program (it exists!) a long, long time ago, there are still a few regions of the Magic Kingdom I have yet to conquer. One of them was Big Thunder Ranch.

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Not to be confused with the recently renovated ride attraction or THE RANCH off Ball Road, this is the dead zone between Fantasyland and Frontierland. Somewhere in between is a spot where you can pet (and later feast on) farm animals. The only food I used to remember in that 'hood was the shack sponsored by McD's serving fries and Cokes.

Now, while it doesn't advertise as being All-You-Can-Eat, it essentially is. Servers bring food and drink out to shaded picnic tables in family-style fashion. This ain't KCBS competitive level grub, but it's darn tasty for the cost ($24 at lunch, including beverages; half the cost for kids) and quantity you can consume. Barbecue chicken and porky ribs are thoroughly cooked and seasoned. The slaw reminds me of Wood Ranch BBQ, sans peanuts. Corn bread 'n beans do the job, but sneak your preferred hot sauce if you want heat. Drop in at dinner, and the extra cost rewards you with sausages and corn. Dessert options are extra. However, a bonus is that you can pre-order cakes to be served there-- perfect for the birthday we attended. With entertainment for the tots and a little country twang for big kids, you can seriously kill a couple of hours sitting, eating, relaxing . . . and did we say sitting?

Psssst: To dine at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue, you can learn more about reservations at this link and book up to 60 days in advance. And yes, they take Annual Passholder discounts.

The List:

51. Pescado A Lo Macho at Muelle Peruvian Cantina 52. Cemita de Milanesa at La Cemita Poblana 53. Meatballs and Polenta at 320 Main 54. Shellfish (Ốc) at Hien Vuong Da Kao 55. Basic Bol at Boldo Bol 56. Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill 57. 10-Item Plate at Thuan Kieu Noodle & Grill 58. Leche Frita at Cafe Sevilla 59. Happy Hour Sushi at Ginzaya 60. Red Beans and Rice at Disneyland's French Market 61. Consommé from Tacos y Birria El Güero 62. Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich at Little Sparrow 63. Breakfast Taco at Sapphire Laguna 64. Husky Burger at Husky Boy Burgers 65. Love Bagel from Koffee Klatch 66. Kouign Amann From The Crema Cafe & Bakery 67. Chili Lime Popcorn From Green Tomato Grill 68. PB & J At Hopscotch 69. Takuwan Sushi from AnQi by Crustacean 70. Ube Ensaymadas from The Ensaymada Project 71. Pork Bánh Mì at the OC Poultry and Rotisserie Market 72. Tacos Gobernador from Mariscos Los Corales 73. Dutch Baby at the Original Pancake House 74. Doughnuts from Sidecar 75. Lengua Tacos at La Chonita 76. Oysters from Carlsbad Aquafarm at the Orange Homegrown Farmers Market 77. Lemon Miso Crab Melt at Umami Burger in Laguna Beach 78. Pani Puri from Adya 79. The Pocket at the Pocket Burger 80. Gyro Sandwich from Paul's Place 81. Slice of Heaven at Pie-Not 82. Taquitos at El Toro Bravo 83. Peanut Butter and Jelly Donut at the Donuttery 84. Dan Dan Mian at Wei-Shian Noodle 85. Beef Burger at Rider's Club Café 86. Smoked Trout at Provenance 87. Small Plates at A&J Restaurant 88. Corn Cheese at Zoomak Asian Bistro 89. Pumpkin Curry at Bhan Baitong 90. Poke at Costco Tustin II 91. Pambazo at Tacos Radioactivos 92. Beef Pho at Pho Crystal Noodle House 93. Breakfast Burrito from Cafe Calacas 94. Koobideh Plate from Grill Cafe 95. Tacos de Cecina from Alebrije's 96. Jajangmyeong from Ching Chinese Express 97. Breakfast Sausage from Da-Le Ranch 98. Any Special Dinner by Old Vine Cafe's Mark McDonald 99. Tres Amigos Burrito from Piaggio on Wheels 100. Bacon-Wrapped Dates from Lola Gaspar

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