If you love a good rack of ribs or barbecue sandwich, you may just want to pay a visit to one of Palm Desert’s oldest dive bars.
For the last four months, Reggie Martinez has been operating the California Barbecue Company inside the Red Barn and serving up some delicious smoked meats and sides. Yeah, you heard me. There is good barbecue at the Red Barn.
No matter what the temperature is outside (I visited on a day when it was 120 degrees), Martinez is outside manning the smoker so you can have some delicious St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork, tri-tip, chicken, and more.
In addition to cooking, Martinez is a one-man band who will take your order and bring it out to you. You can have a beer or two from the bar while you wait, I opted for a Green Flash West Coast for six bucks, which was nice.
The California Barbecue Company has a simple menu with a few sandwiches – tri tip and chicken – along with rib plates and barbecue plates. Martinez also cooks up a brisket once a month – which is a damn good time to pay a visit.
The sandwiches will run you eleven bucks and the rib and bbq plates $13 and up – which is not bad at all for barbecue.
In addition to your meat or sammy, you also get sides. Martinez makes all of his sides fresh and you can choose from several options including fries, baked beans, and mac and cheese (get this, it’s good!).
You can also ask for off-the menu items, unless you are not into delicious things like this mac and cheese / tri tip / french fry platter!
“I love to see that smile when someone bites into my BBQ, it’s pure euphoria!” Martinez told Cactus Hugs about what keeps him motivated to keep working over a hot grill on a scorching Palm Desert day. “That and I have a 10 year old named Lili that keeps me motivated every day!”
The California Barbecue Company is currently open from 5 – 10 pm Tuesday through Saturday and gets a perfect 5 star rating on Yelp.
You may want to plan on getting there earlier in the evening as they just might be out of ribs later in the night. Also, if dives bars aren’t your thing, you can always grab some grub to go.
The California Barbecue Company, 73290 Highway 111, Palm Desert, (760) 863-6971