Montana’s Cookhouse (Langley Bypass)

Restaurant: Montana’s Cookhouse
Cuisine: American/BBQ/Steakhouse
Last visited: January 2, 2010
Location: Langley, BC
Address: 20100 Langley Bypass
Price Range: $10-20

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3 (from what I tried)
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 3
Additional comments:

  • Canadian franchise
  • Famous for ribs
  • Very affordable
  • Casual
  • Great for carnivores
  • Big portions (for Canada)
  • 15 min. express lunch menu
  • ALL YOU CAN EAT ribs every Wednesday
  • Kids eat FREE every Tuesday
  • Kid-friendly
  • Family-friendly
  • Healthy options available
  • Made in house desserts
  • Sports bar/TV available
  • Free appetizer
  • Lunch/Dinner

**Recommendations: Hickory Smokehouse Ribs, Ribs & Chicken Combo

It totally looks like an American chain, but it’s actually a Canadian franchise owned by the Cara Group (Canadian Airlines). They also own other Canadian franchise restaurants like Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, Kelsey’s, and Milestone’s Grill & Bar. It was my first time coming to Montana’s Cookhouse and I actually thought it was going to be fancier, like the old The Keg, but it was more like the old Cactus Club, back in the day when it first started. Yes, I was old enough to remember…

It’s very casual and fit for families and I felt like I was in the States. It definitely has a Southern/Langley/Cloverdale feel and you can colour/eat on butcher paper. The prices are very affordable and the portions are pretty big especially for Canadian standards.

They have a whole bunch of deals going on every day of the week like all you can eat ribs every Wednesday. The menu is quite large with lots of variety and new items too. It’s a great no-fuss place for low maintenance people who like simple food that will fill you up at a cheap price. The ribs and chicken go beyond that though, and I was most impressed by those and would come back for them, but I also wouldn’t go out of my way to get them again.

I decided the best way to sample what they could do was aim for the classic favourites and try all the types of meat. So I ordered chicken, beef and of course the Montana’s famous pork ribs!

On the table:

**Ribs & Chicken Combo

  • A half rack of our Hickory Smokehouse Pork Ribs or one of our Big Beef Ribs, and a 1/4 of our BBQ Rotisserie Chicken, glaze in your choice of BBQ sauce. All ribs and combos are served with beans or cole slaw, choice of side and our famous cornbread.
    • Pork Back Ribs Combo $24.99
    • Pork Side Ribs Combo $22.99
    • Beef Rib Combo $23.99
    • *White meat $0.99 extra
  • BBQ sauce: Texas Bold, Honey Garlic, Apple Butter, Cracked Black Pepper, Chipotle Honey
  • The combo looked like a full back of ribs and 1/2 a chicken. I asked for white meat and it didn’t matter because it was 1/2 a chicken! I think it’s worth it.

**Hickory Smokehouse Ribs – 5/6

  • Montana’s famous pork ribs are hickory smoked and grilled to perfection with your choice of signature BBQ sauce.
  • BBQ sauce: Texas Bold, Honey Garlic, Apple Butter, Cracked Black Pepper, Chipotle Honey
  • I found the ribs delicious and the best out of the meats I ordered.
  • It wasn’t the best ribs of my life, because my cousin in law and friend make killer ribs, but it was still delicious! However I also like the ribs at The Keg and Joey’s, but they’re not as hearty and big as the ones here.
  • I actually found these pork ribs to be better than the ones I had in Texas from the famous Salt Lick Bar-B-Que, although their beef ribs were the highlight there.
  • These ribs were falling off the bone tender and juicy and not pre-boiled first. They were slowly smoked for hours and the smoky flavour was infused throughout.
  • They were seasoned first and then glazed repeatedly with your choice of BBQ sauce as they were char-grilled.
  • I loved the charred charcoal crispy crust on the ribs which enhanced the smoky flavours and I really tasted like it was done in an outdoor smoke pit.
  • I could really taste that pork flavour and the ribs had lots of meat. They were excellent and not too greasy as well.
  • I got the Texas Bold BBQ sauce and I found it very ordinary. I’m a huge fan of BBQ sauce and I like strong flavoured ones that are very tangy, sweet and smoky followed by a kick. This one was more ordinary and it didn’t do anything for me. The ribs didn’t really need the sauce, but I like BBQ sauce so I still missed it.

**Chicken – 4/6

  • Slow-roasted in-house daily, our rotisserie chicken is seasoned with herbs. Available while quantities last.
  • I didn’t really expect anything from this rotisserie chicken, but it was also very good!
  • It was well flavoured and it wasn’t really juicy, but definitely not dry and still very tender.
  • The chicken had a relatively crispy, charred and smoky skin and was rubbed with lots of dried herbs.
  • The dried herb rub was almost like a paste and it was coated on nice and thick. It could have been a dried herb pesto and it was savoury, woody and earthy and I actually liked it a lot.
  • I could really taste the rosemary, oregano and parsley, since they were dried they were almost more flavourful. However fresh herbs are always nice too and bring out a fresher flavour.
  • Tasty Twist: I squeezed a bit of fresh lemon over the chicken and that did the trick. It just made all the flavours come out even more.
  • I didn’t care for the chicken gravy they served on the side, which tasted too artificial. It was like a tango oregano instant chicken gravy.
  • On the wide scale of grilled chicken though, at this price level, I still prefer Nando’s.

Sides

  • Famous Cornbread – 3/6

    • The best cornbread I’ve had in Metro Vancouver is from Boonie’s Southern Soul. I’ve also had way too much delicious corn bread in Texas that almost anything I have here is put to shame… including this one.
    • If I don’t compare, this one wasn’t too bad, but it just seems like it’s been sitting there a bit.
    • The centre of it was very good, moist, tender, very buttery and slightly sweet, but the edges and outside seemed old. I like it to have a crispy crust and this one was a bit stale.
  • Kicked-Up Corn – 1.5/6
    • This is a new side and I really couldn’t care for it.
    • It’s frozen corn kernels and bell peppers in a slightly smoky mild watery sauce. It was very unimpressive and the frozen corn texture and flavour was really distracting. I don’t expect fresh corn here, but even canned corn or creamed corn made with frozen corn would be better. 
  • Cole Slaw – 2/6
    • This is a new side as well. It’s the most standard cole slaw, but better than the cheap grocery store kind.
    • I wasn’t a fan of this as a side either. It was really heavily dressed in mayo, but at least it wasn’t thick mayo. It was tangy and slightly sweet, but it was almost cabbage only.

Pot Roast and Yorkshire Pudding – 2.5/6

  • Tender slices of slow-roasted seasoned beef topped with gravy. Served with a traditional Yorkshire Pudding, mashed potatoes with gravy and seasonal vegetables $13.99
  • This is a “Montana’s favourite”.
  • The portion was huge and it came with at least 4-5 thick slices of pot roast, or roast beef.
  • It didn’t look appetizing at all and the presentation reminded me of hospital food so I was really turned off visually.
  • The gravy just called out “instant”, but I still tried to approach it with an open mind.

  • Roast Beef – 3/6
    • The roast beef was actually quite tender and not too bad, but my least favourite of the meats I ordered.
    • It wasn’t a juicy prime rib or anything and it’s not heavily seasoned, but it’s still tender and has a nice beefy taste.
    • I needed a knife to cut through it so it wasn’t falling apart tender or anything, but it almost tasted like what it looked like.
    • I preferred it without the gravy, but then it was only the beef taste and nothing else. I ended up using the BBQ sauce on my pork ribs for it.
    • The gravy just tasted too “instant” and heavy on the cornstarch and the colour was a bit scary.
  • Yorkshire Pudding
    • The Yorkshire pudding was okay, but not really authentic Yorkshire pudding. I had one in the UK before and since then I haven’t found anything similar.
    • Yorkshire pudding is made from flour, milk and eggs and the batter is poured into meat drippings and then baked until fluffy and the outside is crispy.
    • The one here was very soft, although very fluffy, airy and light with big holes. The inside is pretty moist and it’s doughy not flaky and it’s also chewy and stretchy (as it should be).
    • It was almost like a soft croissant though and it was bland in flavour and I couldn’t taste the meat drippings either and missed the crunchy exterior it should have.
  • Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
    • It really bothers me when mashed potatoes are served with an ice cream scoop. It just screams hospital food and the gravy didn’t help.
    • They didn’t taste bad though. They were made with red skin potatoes and they had some skins throughout. They were very creamy and they had some garlic in them as well. They were quite dense, but not dry and there’s almost no seasonings and spices except for garlic, salt and butter.

Desserts

The desserts are actually all made in house, but unfortunately I had to pass due to timing issues. I had my eye on pretty much everything besides the cheesecake (not in picture and not sure if made in house). I find places like these usually have classic reliable desserts that come in big portions and make me happy. Nothing fancy, but just satisfying and cheap. I was sad to miss out.

I wanted the Mile High Mud Pie (sounds signature) and the Skillet Cookie which is known as a “pizookie”, which BJ’s Brewery in the States started. I was first introduced to it in Vancouver at The Hub – see here, and now it seems to be popping up everywhere, like at The Shark Club and 100 Days as well. I also wanted to try the Shake ‘N Share Mini Donuts, which I figured is similar to the Drunken Donuts offered at Romer’s Burger Bar… but I still wanted to compare. I may come back for these if I’m in the area and looking for ribs and cheap dessert.

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