You don’t need to travel to Texas for awesome southern barbecue, because it’s right in our backyard. Hot summer weather is the siren call for some smoked meats, potato salad and a side of sauce. Read on to discover the best barbecue joints Sonoma County has to offer for the most devout meat-lovers.
Primal Cuts BBQ, Sonoma
A summertime pop-up barbecue at Cornerstone Sonoma (23570 Arnold Dr.) from former Horn Barbecue chef Oscar Gomez. His Primal Cuts BBQ is a weekend-only series from noon to 3 p.m., featuring beef brisket, turkey breast, pulled pork, house-made sausage links and other smokey goodness.
A part of Sonoma's Best Hospitality Group (including Folktable and Ramekins Culinary School), Primal Cuts can also be found at Sonoma's Tuesday Night Market (5 to 8 p.m.) and on a specialty platter at Folktable. For more details, visit primalcutsmeats.com.
Austin's Southern Smoke BBQ
Excellent Texas-style barbecue from a passionate pitmaster who knows his way around brisket and pork butts. Austin’s ’que is the real deal and worth a visit, and like any good barbecue spot, when the meat runs out for the day, it's out.
Make sure to try the Cali-inspired loaded pork nachos. From 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Friday and Saturday at Old Possum in Santa Rosa. You can find more locations on Instagram at @austins_smoke_bbq.
Coming Soon, Everett & Jones Barbecue
The iconic Oakland barbecue spot will open later this summer at Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park. Known for its unique sauce, chicken, pork ribs, beef brisket, mac and cheese and family-friendly vibe. Follow opening details at gratonresortcasino.com.
Sweet T’s Restaurant + Bar, Windsor
Sweet T’s continues to serve up the southern comfort food locals love. Aside from their acclaimed fried chicken and Mississippi mud pie, you can’t go wrong with one of Sweet T’s barbecue plates, such as the smoked tri-tip plate with fried okra, black-eyed peas and biscuits. 9098 Brooks Road S., Windsor, 707-687-5185
Butcher Crown Roadhouse, Petaluma
Serving up barbecued comfort food with a Latin American twist, this roadhouse blends flavors and ingredients that locals can’t get enough of. The burgers and Bodega Bowls are unique and packed with flavor, but you can really never go wrong with the street tacos, such as the smoked tri-tip and chorizo tacos with sweet potato and crumbled goat cheese. 1905 Bodega Ave., Petaluma, 707-559-3735
Lombardi’s Gourmet Deli & BBQ, Petaluma
Family-owned and operated for nearly 20 years, Lombardi's has long been a go-to spot for locals to gather provisions for picnics or cater family functions. From tender, dry-rubbed baby back ribs and flavorful barbecued oysters to gourmet deli sandwiches and fresh salads, Lombardi's barbecue catering is perfect for summertime events. 3413 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma, 707-773-1271
Southern meets western-style barbecue at KINSmoke, where grilling and smoking tender meats is elevated to an art form. With its finger-licking-good St. Louis-style pork ribs, succulent pulled pork and brisket sandwich, and sweet cornbread muffins, it’s easy to see why KINSmoke consistently gets rave reviews. 304 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-473-8440
Hamburger Ranch & BBQ, Cloverdale
Renowned throughout the region for its award-winning barbecue, Hamburger Ranch & BBQ has become a staple among locals and travelers alike for its slow-cooked and succulent chicken, brisket, pulled pork and baby back ribs. 31195 N. Redwood Highway, Cloverdale, 707-894-5616
Smokehouse Bistro, Sebastopol
What happens when a classically trained French chef uses southern slow-smoked barbecue techniques? You get the rich and savory creations of Sebastopol’s Smokehouse Bistro, including the Memphis-style barbecue pork ribs that fall off the bone and the 12-hour smoked North Carolina pulled pork. 6811 Laguna Park Way, Sebastopol, 707-575-3277
Ginochio’s Kitchen, Bodega Bay
From the striking views of the bay to the family-style Italian cooking, Ginochio’s offers a little something different than most barbecue spots, including their homemade ravioli and famous caramel bacon monkey bread in addition to their tender and juicy smoked beef brisket. 1410 Bay Flat Road, Bodega Bay, 707-377-4359
Red Bee BBQ, Santa Rosa and Windsor
Few, if any, places in Sonoma County offer Asian barbecue fusion the way Red Bee BBQ does, with meaty dishes like the St. Louis-style ribs, glazed barbecue chicken and the juicy pork shoulder cooked in a tangy Asian marinade. 750 Stony Point Road, Santa Rosa, 707-541-6536, and 8970 Brooks Road S., Windsor, 707-836-4099
Canevari’s Delicatessen, Santa Rosa
This quaint, old-school Italian deli on the corner is the best place to grab a gourmet sandwich for lunch (the tri-tip sandwich with dijon aioli is a favorite) and pick up homemade ravioli and sauce in bulk — but Canevari’s also offers fresh-off-the-grill barbecued meats, like the juicy Italian sausage and the tender tri-tip that never disappoints. 695 Lewis Road, Santa Rosa, 707-545-6941
Camacho’s Southern Style BBQ, Santa Rosa
Seriously spectacular mobile barbecue. You can find them frequently at local taprooms around Santa Rosa.
Jaded Toad, Cotati
A great location for tri-tip baby back ribs, chicken, linguica sausage and 'que sides in a family-friendly atmosphere. 500 E. Cotati Ave., Cotati, 707-242-3383
Written by Maci Martell & Heather Irwin