June 25, 2019 – Big Sur doesn’t get new restaurants too often. Which makes the new Big Sur Smokehouse—and its grand opening July 4 (patience, please!)—a special bit of foodie fireworks.
The smokehouse will serve classic barbecue in the historic and iconic little red homestead that dates back to the 1800s and sits right on top of Highway 1, at the foot of the entrance to Ventana Big Sur.
But don’t expect creaky boards and splinters in your sauce. The remade interior has been impressively modernized, while picnic tables and familiar aesthetics remain on the outdoor patio.
Big Sur Smokehouse leadership says its approach to barbecue “pays homage to the hole-in-the-wall diners and roadside shacks that have long dotted the awe-inspiring drive along Highway 1.”
“It equally honors the legacy of the trailblazing Post family who was among Big Sur’s first homesteaders – and for good reason, as the restaurant is located in the meticulously restored Post family homestead built in 1867,” their statement continues. “The restaurant may be a Big Sur trailblazer in its own right in that it serves up an authentic slice of Big Sur history that is just as rich and inviting as its home-smoked meats and sauces, nostalgic side dishes, homemade pies and canned wine & cocktails.
“And all the roadside storytelling that comes with it (#IfTheseWallsCouldTalk!).”
The menu simmers together traditions from across the U.S., including Texas-style brisket and Carolina barbecue, while prioritizing California accents starring produce grown by Gardener Pete’s organic farm up the hill.
Tasty elements to anticipate, many smoked over California oak, include:
• Barbecue platters with two sides, house-made pickles and Hawaiian sweet rolls, anchored by a choice of smoked brisket, smoked chicken, pulled pork, hot links or abalone mushrooms.
• Sides like burnt-end baked beans, braised collard greens, chili coleslaw, baked mac and cheese and potato salad.
• ”Apple + cinnamon” and seasonal berry hand pies for dessert.
• A signature cocktail, “The Best Margarita in Big Sur” – Nepenthe fans take note, or take umbrage – made with Altos Blanco tequila, fresh squeezed lime juice, hibiscus tea and agave nectar. Draft and bottled beer; wine from regional Central Coast vineyards available by the glass, canned, or in full bottles to go; and canned cocktails from San Diego-based Cutwater Spirits round out the drink offerings.
• Finally, one of the most important elements at any self-respecting barbecue spot, which has become a true rarity anywhere in wider Monterey and Santa Cruz counties: sauces. Here they’re house-made and include Coffee-Stout BBQ, Tangy N’ Sweet Pineapple Mustard BBQ and Spiced Carolina Cider.
Happy smokey Independence Day.
Big Sur Smokehouse is located on Highway 1 at Coast Ridge Road (48123 Highway 1) and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with full menu starting Thursday, July 4. In keeping with barbecue-joint tradition, reservations are not accepted.
Mark C. Anderson is a freelance writer based in Seaside (and in his backpack). Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @MontereyMCA.