While traveling to or through the Napa Valley you very much expect good wine and good food. So many wine tastings in so little time and maybe some cheese pairings, charcuterie, bread, fine dining… Well, you know, everything that you would expect from wine country. So imagine my surprise when I discovered the best barbecue I have ever tasted in Calistoga, California!
Granted, I have not had a lot of experience with authentic Louisiana barbecue but driving for 8 hours and having my friends anxious to get to Buster’s before they closed definitely piqued my interest to try this famous barbecue place.
We arrived with a mere 30 minutes to spare but there was enough time to enjoy our meal. In the middle of March, Calistoga was a bit nippy, but there were still a couple of people finishing their food when we arrived to order. Buster’s Southern BBQ has a very straightforward menu and as a rookie, I asked my seasoned friends to help me choose what I should try. They suggested a sandwich, which comes on garlic toast and with one side dish. Because it was pretty cold outside for my taste (a mere 8 degrees Celsius, brr!), I decided on chili beans instead of coleslaw. My friend ordered the tri-tip dinner, her husband had the 4-pieces pork rib dinner, and I opted for their tri-tip sandwich. They have the option to order hot sauce, with a sign that warns you that “Hot means HOT!”, and I can attest that, in fact, it was very hot! I only had a little taste and my lips were burning for a good while! The food was just out of this world! The ribs pretty much fell off the bone, the tri-tip was so tender and moist that, even as I write this, my mouth is watering. The barbecue sauce (which is also available to take home in jars) was just perfect, not too sweet, not too salty, and it actually brought out the taste of the meat instead of masked it. The bread was toasted to perfection as well; Buster’s is also a bakery so there was no surprise that the bread was just delicious too. The only regret I had was that we were on a pretty full schedule so I was only able to try one meal but it was a fine meal of finger-licking goodness. After a long day, we were pretty much ushered out at closing time at 7pm, which we, of course, were very understanding about since the three of us were the only ones lingering in the dining area.
Because it was getting dark when we arrived and full darkness when we left I was not able to fully enjoy the setting. They have plenty of outdoor seating on the patio (which was closed at that time) and an indoor seating area that looks like it would be perfect for a warm summer day. Buster’s Southern BBQ is a staple in the community of Calistoga, from what I found out from both residents and visitors alike.
From what I’m told, they are very busy with some people lining up to get a taste of this amazing barbecue. Buster is a real person, who I did not get to meet this time around, whose family originated in Shreveport, Louisiana. The original flavours of Buster’s are a family effort.
Buster’s Southern BBQ is located at 1207 Foothills Blvd. in Calistoga, California. When you are traveling in Wine Country I suggest that you make the trip to try “Some of the best BBQ outside of Texas…” according to a reviewer from Texas. Now there’s an accolade if I’ve ever heard one!
Check out their website at http://www.busterssouthernbbq.com/