sugarloaf cafe

Smoke Shows

Whether you crave a rack of ribs or a piled-high plate of tri-tip, these barbecue purveyors are right on ’cue.

Marissa Willman Current Guide, Restaurants

sugarloaf cafe

The Sugarloaf Cafe.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANTHONY-MASTERSON

Tri-Tip

The Sugarloaf Cafe
In a backflow smoker, tri-tips roast over locally sourced wood for seven hours, producing beautiful smoke rings and tender, flavorful bites. The tri-tip is vacuum-packed with fresh herbs and edible flowers for an impressive presentation and easy, sous vide-style reheating. For dessert, Sugarloaf’s freshly baked pies make for a pleasant finale. thesugarloafcafe.com

triopalmspringsribs

PHOTOGRAPH BY NATE ABBOTT
Trio

Ribs

Trio
While best known for its signature cocktails and fun twists on comfort food, this Palm Springs hot spot in the Uptown Design District is all in on ribs, offering baby backs slathered in a signature sauce and served with sweet potato fries and — what else? — slaw. As a Sunday night special, Trio offers the meatier St. Louis-style ribs, whose extra fat results in a boost of flavor. triopalmsprings.com

Brisket

Babe’s BBQ and Brewery
The brisket steals the show at this Rancho Mirage mainstay. It’s hand-trimmed and slathered with homemade Memphis rub before marinating for 24 hours. Then, Babe’s smokes it over hickory and pecan wood for eight hours, charring it to crispy perfection, and serving in a salad, on top of mac and cheese, stuffed inside tamales, or by the pound. babesbbqbrewery.com

Wings

Brown’s BBQ and Soul Food
This low-key, family-owned restaurant in North Palm Springs offers fresh soul food classics in a nondescript location off San Rafael Drive. Try the barbecue wings, served alongside generous portions of Southern-style sides such as baked beans and potato salad. fb.com/brownsbbqandsoulfood

Pulled Pork

Smoke Tree BBQ
The pitmasters at this Southern-inspired joint in South Palm Springs hand-trim the meat before dry smoking to create fork-tender, fall-apart Carolina-style pulled pork that’s perfect for sliders, nachos, and salads. Hangry? Try the Junkyard Doggie, which features the signature pork atop a foot-long, bacon-wrapped beef hot dog, covered with barbecue beans, jalapeños, tomatoes, and cheese sauce. smoketreebbq.com

ask a local

Gabbi Rose
Owner, The Sugarloaf Cafe

When she moved from Long Beach to Palm Springs to open The Green Door Hotel, Rose never expected The Sugarloaf Cafe to become her full-time business. After a severe rainstorm forced the hotel to shutter, the lifelong entrepreneur shifted her efforts to barbecue and pie.

Why is barbecue so popular here?
When people think about eating in the desert, they think about eating pioneer style: cooking over an open fire under the stars with outdoor music, plenty of beer, and late nights. Our barbecue culture in California is less traditional than other places, but there’s more freedom. We incorporate local influences like barbacoa and street tacos — or even serve barbecue with a side of pico de gallo.

sugarloafcafemenu

Gabbi Rose