Utah Stories

Utah Barbecue – Food for the Wild West

No need to go to Memphis – visit three local restaurants that offer authentic barbecue.


For this month’s Wild West theme, I spoke to three of SLC’s finest BBQ joints and asked them, “What puts the yee-haw in your Q?”

Memphis style ribs and Dixie chicken from Sugarhouse Barbecue Co. Photo by Dung Hoang

The Sugarhouse Barbeque Company, 880 E. 2100 So., was my first port of call. “We are a Memphis-style BBQ establishment,” owner Bill Smithers prefaced. “That means we season our meat in a dry rub, kind of a special seasoned salt. Then we smoke over hickory and cherry wood. Sauce is always served on the side. That means the meat is delicious even without sauce, but it sure does make it better.”

Should you follow Smithers’ lead and reach for the bottle? Sugarhouse BBQ is home to my favorite BBQ sauce selection in SLC. The Sugarhouse institution offers diners a diverse selection, from a basic BBQ sauce to a brow-tingling, cayenne powered hot sauce and a stellar, sweet mustard sauce.

Two meat plate, brisket and ribs, from R&R BBQ Photo by Dung Hoang

R&R BBQ, 307 W 600 So.,  manager Chris Matern commented on the Great Q Debate. “We have long fought the idea the great ribs only come from Memphis, or perfect brisket only comes out of Texas,” Matern opined. “People ask us our secret and we honestly tell them there is no secret. A little smoke, a little flame and a little patience. Look for quality ingredients and remember, BBQ isn’t best measured in competitions; it’s best measured in the enjoyment of friends and family.“

Pulled pork, prok ribs and bacon wrapped jalapenos from Kaiser's Barbeque resized
Pulled pork, pork ribs and bacon wrapped jalapenos from Kaiser’s BBQ and General Store. Photo by Mike Jones

“We get our yee-haw from an all-wood smoked product, with either or a combination of oak and mesquite,” commented Gregg Chamberlain, owner of Kaiser’s BBQ and General Store, 962 So. 300 W. Chamberlain detailed the restaurant’s unique creations. “We have sausage and jalapeno sausage which we make ourselves. We serve a wonderful assortment of smoked appetizers, such as bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeno peppers capped with mushroom and smoked spuds.”

So whether it’s a great sauce, unique side or just fine company that you match with some killer Q this year – make sure you put a little yee-haw in your summer dining!


Stuart Melling also writes at www.theutahreview.com and www.gastronomicslc.com – he can be found on Twitter @gastronomicslc

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