1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

California trip in the new year

Discussion in 'Messages for All Guests and Members' started by homeruk, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. homeruk

    homeruk Smoke Blower

    hi all
    not sure if this is the right place to post this so forgive me if its not right!
    am planning our first trip to the states next year, prob not the best place for smoking but plan to do a road trip from san francisco down the coast then across to las vegas..other half wants the las vegas bit sadly
    so was wondering if anyone has advice on places to go to for some good smoked/bbq grub stops, dont mind a detour or two if the grubs worth it, been watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on tv but always seems to be further south at smoke joints nearer the mexico border and a bit to south for our route
    found plenty of costco's though

    Thanks in advance
  2. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Best advice I can give is if you see a BBQ Joint o nthe way that isn't part of a chain and alot of what seem to be locals hitting it up..go there.
  3. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Since you're starting in SF and driving down the coast, I'm going to assume you'll be taking the scenic route. HWY 101 is the easy way, but take HWY 17 over the hill in the South Bay (San Jose area) to Santa Cruz, especially if you plan on stopping in Monterey. Just a couple miles south of Santa Cruz is Aptos Street BBQ, true wood-fried BBQ. It's a little place, but worth the stop for food, blues, and beer. You can find them online.

    Now you've got some directional choices to make. If you're going to drive south along HWY 1 through the Big Sur to San Luis Obispo, I don't know of anything along there except mind-blowing scenery. Hearst Castle is kind of touristy (and pricy) for sightseeing, but impressive. Read up on William Randolph Hearst before going.

    Should you choose the less scenic HWY 101 south from Monterey, we usually stop in Paso Robles at a place called Big Bad BBQ. It's pretty good after spending several hours on the road. We haven't been there in several years, but their website says they are still open.

    Non-BBQ, but a place my wife always makes me stop to eat, is the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo. They also have a website.

    Now, Santa Maria is just south of San Luis Obispo, and it is home to the only true California BBQ; tri tip. Grilled over red oak on an adjustable grate, it is the sirloin steak of BBQ. Santa Maria is filled with BBQ places, so do a little research, pick one, and enjoy. The Hitching Post, just south of Santa Maria, was in the film "Sideways." Pricy, but delicious. Avoid the places that are mixing other cultures into Santa Maria style BBQ.

    One more word of California culture; just because a place might say it's fancy, don't think you have to get dressed up. 95% of the places could care less what you are wearing. The other 5% don't get my business. I've been to some impressive restaurants wearing jeans and a Polo-brand shirt (well, a knock-off anyway). I wear shorts about 9 months out of the year, and the only time I ever put on anything other than jeans, is when I'm traveling back east or doing business.

    Have a GREAT trip!

  4. homeruk

    homeruk Smoke Blower

    thanks guys thats some great advice and tips :)
  5. towtruck

    towtruck Newbie

    If for any reason you go east from San Francisco a little ways you have to stop at CJ's BBQ in Fairfield for their pork ribs. It's a complete hole in the wall joint with BBQ's in the parking lot but it's some of the finest bbq on the planet. Prepare for no AC when it's hot and drinks from an old cooler. The Tv has been upgraded a couple years ago but the old one is still on the floor.