Fork in the Road: Harley Davidson and BBQ go hand-in-hand in Topeka

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - If you're looking for some good baby back ribs, you might want to consider test driving a Hog - because, in Topeka, Harley Davidson and mouthwatering bar-b-cue go hand-in-hand.

Henry's BBQ Grill sits inside the Historic Harley Davidson at SW 21st St. and Topeka Blvd. But, don't let the name fool you. Henry's name is on the door, but all those hearty dishes come from owner Ray Morehead's kitchen.

“Henry Patterson was the originator of Topeka Harley Davidson back in 1949, and so we kept his name as part of the diner,” he explains.

With his son-in-law Jeff by his side, Morehead has been running the restaurant since 2006, drawing hungry crowds and motorcycle riders from miles around. And, every Friday, diners come for a Henry's specialty - the baby back ribs.

“We have a lot of people who love our ribs and they sell out pretty quick,” Morehead says with a smile. He credits a smoker filled solely with hickory logs. The ribs are smoked for seven hours outside the store, then marinated with just salt and pepper. The unique taste is all in the sauce, he says.

“There’s tomato paste. There’s brown sugar,” Morehead listed off. “A lot of things that normal bar-b-cue sauce has in it. It’s just a little mixture that we do that makes it special for us. And people seem to love it.”

They love it so much, he sells it by the bottle - the appropriately named Ray'z Rezipe.

While the ribs are the star of the show, they need signature sides to make them shine.

“Bacon sausage and beer beans. Yes there’s beer in them. You have to be 21 to... eat them," Morehead joked. "And then we have our own coleslaw which is a coleslaw recipe that I designed over the years and people seem to love it too.”

Henry's BBQ Grill is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 to 2 and breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.