Dining options in Tehachapi are slim. But I’ve been hearing about a place on a few trips to Bakersfield recently that the best BBQ around was in Tehachapi. Red House BBQ in Tehachapi to be specific. Where the BBQ is fresh everyday, except Tuesday, when they’re closed.
Brisket is the name of the game here. Meaty chunks, not small slices, of moist delicious beef with hints of sauce all wonderfully smoked. I split a rib and brisket combo and had to wait 20 minutes for the ribs to come out of the smoker.
I spoke briefly with the owner, he claimed to use roughly 850 pounds of oak and hickory each week in the barbeques. As the season permits, he’ll rotate from hickory to apple wood. Wood from the surrounding area is the only wood used.
I thought the ribs were well prepared, but took second place to the brisket. I like a heavier seasoned rib and a bit more smoky to be honest. The brisket, as seen in the pics, is some of the best I've tasted. No shorting anyone of meat here. Big hunks and very tender. Well picked through of fat.
I did ask for a couple sides of BBQ sauce as well, one a little spicier than the other. They both went well with the ribs, but I lean towards the spicier of the two. The sauces have a combination of vinegar and tomato. The owner says "it keeps every BBQ lover happy."
All of the sides are prepared in-house. I chose classic potato salad and chili beans. The potato salad certainly didn’t lack mayo or mustard and was seasoned well. Less chunky, with small bits of potato and more “creamy”, this salad is a throwback to a 70’s family picnic when grandma or an aunt made potato salad by-the-book. Textbook Americana. Mayo, lots of mayo.
The chili beans were a hint spicy, but mild enough to be enjoyed by most who like bbq. Little chunks of meat , perhaps a combination of pork and beef were in practically every other bite. I know some purists (like me) say chili shouldn’t contain beans, but I’ll make an exception for superior quality and execution. The beans were tender, the spices and seasonings were well incorporated, and the consistency was thick.
Red House is worth a stop for Fresnans on the way back from Las Vegas. It’s also worth the round-trip from Bakersfield if you’re so inclined. It’s tough to find a reliable BBQ joint in the Central Valley that cooks fresh BBQ each and every day, but I know Red House BBQ does.