Restaurant of the Week: Buckboard BBQ

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Buckboard BBQ and Grill, 1386 E. Foothill Blvd. (at Grove), Upland

Opened in 1991, Buckboard BBQ occupies a spot in the Red Hill Center largely occupied by automotive shops. I’ve been there a few times over the years, pleasantly, and returned a couple of times recently due to tire repair. Drop off your car at lunchtime, eat at Buckboard, pick up your car. I recommend it.

The restaurant is bright and clean and sports a cowboy motif, going along with its name. You order at the counter and they bring your food to you.

Off the express lunch menu, I had the pork rib special ($7; drink extra). It arrives in a basket with fresh cut fries, slaw and three ribs. They were short, about six inches long, but meaty, trimmed in St. Louis style and with only a squirt of sauce on each. Good meal.

The meats are smoked Santa Maria style over hickory. I’m no devotee of regional barbecuing but you’re free to compare Buckboard to Red Hill BBQ across Grove and report back.

Next visit I had the barbecue chicken sandwich combo with fries and soda ($5). It made for a light, inexpensive lunch.

I hear the tri-tip is especially good and ought to get that next time, hopefully without the side of tire trouble.

Find the menu on Buckboard’s website.

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  • Bob House

    Looked at the menu and, Santa Maria-wise, these guys are the real deal. They serve a side of “pinquito” beans, an uncommon variety of small pink bean first grown in the Santa Maria Valley that is a key component of the classic Santa Maria barbecue menu (which also includes tri-tip roast, macaroni and cheese, garlic bread and salsa).

    To clarify, for the real Santa Maria-style barbecue, tri-tip roasts are grilled over oak logs, not smoked. The ribs, though, are probably smoked with little or no direct heat underneath.

    [Bob, thanks for the Santa Maria savvy. — DA]