Destination California: BBQ mecca in Kern County

Destination California

KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KGET) – In this week’s Destination California, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy some of the best BBQ in the country – it’s right here in our backyard!

It’s a meat-lovers paradise – brisket, pulled pork, and sausage links galore.

No, this isn’t Texas. This is the Central Valley and it’s home to amazing ‘cue.

“We want to let people know we really do think we are the capital of BBQ. We’ve got some great restaurants, all different flavors. That’s the beauty of BBQ, it’s not one size fits all. Everyone has their own twist on it and their own flavors,” said Jeff Salters, owner of Salty’s BBQ & Catering.

At the beginning of summer, Salters got nine restaurants to join him in creating the BBQ Tour of Kern County.

“When you think of Kern County, you think Bakersfield. The BBQ world is cutthroat, everyone is trying to beat one another. But the great thing about the BBQ world is we all reach out and help one another,” said Mano Lujan, owner of Red House BBQ.

The tour takes you from the heart of Bakersfield to the mountains of Tehachapi, to the valley of Taft and Shafter.

I decided to take on the task myself – all in a day!

It’s an immense goal, but I persevered, ending my day with a full belly and bidding farewell to my shirt after multiple BBQ stains.

But the BBQ is unlike any other.

You can find just about everything – whether you like Texas-style, Southern-style, West Coast, or a mix of everything – Kern County has a taste for you.

“There’s a lot of good food here. A lot of people don’t know of Roots or Red House, the outskirts like Willow Ranch,” said Branden Slichter, owner of Porkchop and Bubba’s BBQ.

The Golden Empires BBQ has even caught quite the attention from outside the county.

A writer for Eater LA made his way over the Grapevine to check it out for himself, concluding that he sees why Kern County is a BBQ destination.

So, if you want to see what all the hubba is about, come with a big appetite, and enjoy!

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