5 Gourmet Wine Country BBQ Joints

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The aroma of slow roasting meat awakens a primal hunger that can't be denied. Whether you like your barbecue smoky or simply grilled, sauced, or dry-rubbed, read on for surprisingly elegant 'cue picks in Wine Country.

Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ


The enormously popular, brick-chic spot draws crowds in for messy meats done on the Southern Pride smoker out back. Pile up the napkins and dive into feasts like pulled pork spiced with a secret rub, wood smoked beef brisket, gnaw-worthy St. Louis ribs, and shredded beer can chicken that's impossibly juicy and served—yep—with a can of Tecate inserted in the whole-bird's keister. // 975 First Street (Napa), bountyhunterwinebar.com


The Q R&B

Memphis style barbeque rocks at this stylish, industrial-rustic stripmall spot, emphasizing local ingredients like Mary's free-range poultry, along with upscale presentations like roast chicken marinated in Round Pond Cabernet vinegar, butter, garlic, and herbs. Adding a bit of floral sweetness, the smoking wood of choice is cherry, producing sumptuous proteins like baby back ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and sausage. Savor it all with knockout cast iron skillet cornbread, plus red beans & rice stocked with plenty of ham and sausage. // 3900-D Bel Aire Plaza (Napa), barbersq.com/


Burgers & Vine

Fancy stuff, indeed—the brisket is fashioned from American Kobe and smoked over French oak barrel wine staves for 12 hours, with a generous helping of spicy barbecue sauce alongside. This is top-notch, succulent eating, saluting all the favorites from nicely marbled pulled pork to five-hour slow-roasted, spice-rubbed Mary's free range chicken and four-hour smoked, grill-kissed baby back ribs. The historic Sonoma Creamery setting keeps things extra classy. // 400 First Street East (Sonoma), bvsonoma.com


(Yelp)


The BBQ Spot

This establishment may look a little divey, but this friendly joint was named a “Michelin Recommended" restaurant for 2013. Those honors are thanks to falling-off-the-bone St. Louis pork ribs, juicy pulled pork, smoky chicken, and hot links glistening in a caramelized sweet glaze. Crowd the plate with tangy-sweet baked beans and moist cornbread, and plan on leaving sticky and happy. True 'cue lovers know to come in on Wednesday nights for the chicken wing eating contest—a cash prize and bragging rights are at stake. // 458 B Street (Santa Rosa), thebbqspot.net


Sweet T's Restaurant + Bar

Founded by consulting chef Mac Edwards of the Memphis hot spot The Elegant Farmer, this is Southern style cooking. Think crispy cornmeal-coated fried green tomatoes, shrimp 'n grits low country style with Tasso ham, and sweet peppers and onions over stone -round cheese grits. On the meat side, the smoker cranks out tooth-tender beef brisket, pulled pork butt (try them as smothered nachos), baby back ribs, and barbecue chicken (get it with waffles). // 2009 Stagecoach Road (Santa Rosa), sweettssr.com

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