Oklahoma City . . . from a Foodie’s Perspective

Story by guest blogger Ann McElfresh. Photos Copyright © Ann McElfresh.

My husband and I were lucky enough to take a criss-cross-country pleasure trip. One of the first stops we made was, oddly enough, Oklahoma City. I say “oddly” because it’s not exactly a tourist mecca. Well, it should be! What a fun, friendly town. There was so much to see and do . . . and eat!

Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City

Cowboy Hall of Fame

There were many reasons we wanted to visit OKC. To drop in on friends, to pay our respects at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial and to try Cattlemen’s Steakhouse.

Oklahoma City also has one of the largest collections of Western Art at their National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, also known as the Cowboy Hall of Fame. But don’t let the name fool you; it has something for everyone—movie memorabilia, history and museum-quality art. Fascinating. I could have spent a week there!

The beautiful, poignant and heartfelt Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial is a must-see. Most people see the outside garden with the chairs, but the inside museum is not to be missed. (Pictures are not allowed inside, so I have none to share.) It brings the event home and shows the resilience of this amazing town and their people.

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

Cattlemen’s Steakhouse has been in operation for over a hundred years. Located in the historic district of Oklahoma City, it’s right in front of the Old Oklahoma City Stockyards. They are famous for their aged beef—which they do in-house—their quality and commitment to homemade fare, and their salad dressing, which is a closely-guarded secret.

Oh, and they’ve had a few famous visitors! John Wayne, Gene Autry, Ronald Regan and George H. W. Bush to name a few. More recently Guy Fieri from Food Network featured it on his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, which is what brought it to our attention.

Cattlemen's Restaurant, Oklahoma City

Ann outside Cattlemen's Restaurant

The steak . . . superb and perfectly cooked. You can really tell the difference with the aging process. The salad dressing is the stuff of legends. The atmosphere is pure western and the service was top-notch. I highly recommend this GREAT steakhouse to anyone; it’s worth going out of your way for!

We both ordered a steak, potato and salad. By the time that was consumed—with glee—we were too full for anything else.

Old Oklahoma City Stockyards

Old Oklahoma City Stockyards: “Grab the horns!”

After dinner, we went to see the Old Oklahoma City Stockyards. I was taking a picture of my husband by the long-horn statue outside the building and a REAL cowboy walked up. He asked if I wanted him to take a picture of the two of us with that “wee cow.” I said yes and he said, “Grab the horns,” and snap! Just as he finished a truck full of cattle came up—his truck. I was thrilled. I had now visited cowboy country.

While I do not age my own beef, I know how to cook a good steak and I’d like to share my tips and tricks. Since I’m working hard to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle, I’ve lowered the fat and calories in the dishes.

Ann's version of the Cattlemen's salad dressing

Also, I’m going to bravely (or foolishly?) attempt to recreate their amazing salad dressing, which they could almost put in a bowl and serve as soup. And what steakhouse meal is complete without some sort of potato?

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Here’s what I came up with (links open together on one recipe page):

Seared Filet Mignon
Parmesan Potato Gratin
Steakhouse Salad with Cattlemen’s Steakhouse (re-make) Dressing


Ann McElfresh

Ann McElfresh has had the opportunity to travel and live overseas during the course of her husband’s career in the military and they didn’t stop after he retired! An enthusiastic home cook, she has an extensive “bucket list” of places to see, foods to eat and dishes to cook. A recent physical required that she focus her attention on cooking healthy foods and living a healthier lifestyle. At this time, she has lost 20 pounds and when asked how she lost the weight, she tells people, “By cooking like mad! Who knew losing weight could be so much fun?” Visit her healthy (and tasty) cooking blog at

Tags: ,


  1. Hi Ann!

    You’re right — I never would have thought of Oklahoma City as a tourist destination, per se, but it really does sound great! So does the meal… I’m particularly thankful for your steak cooking directions. It’s a skill I haven’t mastered. Every summer my partner and I buy a nice steak but somehow always over- or under-cook it. I’m going to try your method — particularly the tenting. Thanks for the tips! (Oh, and that dressing looks divine.)

    • Hi Lisa! I was amazed at how much there was to see and do in OKC as well and the people….SO friendly!

      As a general rule – all meat should rest for 5 minutes under foil after cooking. This allows the juices to re-distribute. It really makes a difference. Let me know how it turns out! The salad dressing was divine! My hubby was practically licking his plate!

    • Lisa – I’m the same: I know how to ruin a good steak. LOL! Ann’s tips really grabbed my attention. Nothing worse than chewy steak, particularly when it’s expensive to buy a decent cut. Thanks, Ann. 🙂

  2. BetsyV says:

    Oklahoma City! Wow! Who knew!
    It looks like so much fun…and I love great steak,
    I cant wait to try the dressing…If its like any of your other recipes from “cookinghealthyforme” Then I know it will be awesome! Thanks for the quick trip to Oklahoma! Couldn’t have done it without you! 🙂

    You should do a trip review on Tripadvisor, I have 3 reviews on there so far from my travels!

    Thanks Ann, and Thanks Milli, for inviting her. A great addition!

    • Hi Betsy – My thoughts exactly! It was SO much fun! You’ll love the dressing….it was even better the next day! I’ve never done a trip advisor trip – I’d love to see your reviews. I’m having a great time guest posting for Milli. With luck, I’ll get to post again!

  3. What a great article! I remember our family going to the Cattlemen’s Steak House in Des Moines…yummy!

  4. I loved this guest post, Ann! You did a wonderful job with letting us share your experience in Oklahoma city! I love the part where the cowboy came and asked if you and your husband wanted a picture together! =]
    If I ever get a chance to go there, I will surely stop by Cattleman’s for some good eats!! =]

    • Hi Juju! I’m glad you enjoyed it! Believe me the steak is worth going out of your way for! The stockyards is literally a block away.

  5. Wow this looks and sounds awesome!! You are becoming famous Ann! I am just loving it!
    The timing for the steak is the simplest I’ve heard, can’t wait to try it out, will be great when cooking 3 or 4 and everyone wants it different!

    • Awww, Nora – you are the best! I’m not famous….just an enthusiastic home cook who was lucky enough to meet Milli and her amazing blog!

      I hope you enjoy the steak! Mine was perfectly dark-pink and juicy. I ALWAYS set the timer…. remember that severely over-cooked one we had? NO timer used there and time got away from us! Each steak & stove is different, so keep an eye out and use your judgement! Don’t forget to rest the steak for five minutes!

      Thanks SO much for your comment!

  6. Ann…congrats on your guest post and it is a great write out. Thanks for sharing about your trip and I learned so much from it 🙂

    • Hi Elin! Thanks so much! We had a great time in OKC. If you’re crossing thru it – you should stop! I appreciate your comment and your kind words!

  7. Sounds like a lovely place to visit, Ann, I’m so glad it captivated you this much and we got to read all about your stay there 🙂
    *skips off to take a look at the recipes*

    • Hi Estrella! It was wonderful! We had so much fun! I hope you enjoy the recipes. They sure made a yummy dinner at our house! Thanks for your comment!

  8. What a cool place to visit! I’ve driven across the country too but unfortunately never through Oklahoma City because it sounds amazing! I would love to go to Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, too. Great post, Ann (and nice to see you at Milli’s place!)

    • Julia – It was because of you that Ann is here. I met her when I guest blogged for you at and then fell in love with her blog too. (Her recipes got me out of some cooking ruts.) See the cool ripples you create? 😀

    • HI Julia! Milli’s right – it WAS because of you that we met! Oklahoma City was a fun city – you’ll have to stop next time and go the Cattlemen’s steakhouse! Thanks for your comment!

  9. Pingback: Ogle Nuggets: 07/11/2011 | The Lost Ogle

  10. Randi Gay says:

    I am just loving it! You’ll love the dressing….it was even better the next day! Thanks for your comment!

  11. Yes, as an Okie, I can say that this was a great choice! I am digging your dressing recipe. I have seen people dining in Cattleman’s that dip EVERYTHING into that dressing—bread, French fries (and calf fries), steak, crackers, etc. Great post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *