The first rule of good barbecue is a bad location. Maybe bad is too strong a word. More like quirky. Off-the-beaten-path. Follow-your-nose kind of stuff.

And far be it from us to criticize anyone perfuming the block with hickory smoke and sizzling sides of beef and pork, most of our favorite rib shacks tend to be, well, exactly that: bare-bones eateries more concerned about secret sauce than Michelin stars.

Blazing Saddles is that kind of BBQ joint. The type you don’t stumble upon but go out of your way to find. Red and white checkered tablecloths, burnt-wood art and cowboy knick-knacks at the hind-end of an industrial mini-mall.

Unsaddled by ambiance. Full of potential.

Follow your tingling ‘cue-dar to the smoking Conestoga wagon that’s their local grilling and smoking station. The Corsi family (John, Nancy and their son, Dominic) have been operating a family bbq catering business out of Sonoma since 2005. When the Santa Rosa retail space opened up recently, the crew moved part of their operations to the northeast downtown space offering both take-out, dine-in and delivery.

The secret, of course, is in the sauce. Deep, dark and rich with plenty of sweet that’s been winning the family awards for several years. Best bet: BBQ Tri-Tip sandwich with housemade sauce, on a toasted hoagie with pepper jack cheese ($7.99). Use the buddy system when eating any of these sandwiches. They’re immense.

Don’t skimp out on the sides. Blazing Saddles makes their own fries, deftly seasoned with parmesan, garlic and parsley. You will dream about these fries for days afterward.

Also worth trying are their daily pasta specials slathered with their award-winning tomato sauce. It’s a rich and meaty and I’d be willing to be a whole lot better than your Nonna’s.

Blazing Saddles also serves up burgers, St. Louis Style pork ribs and sandwiches, along with onion rings, vegetarian beans and coleslaw.

The restaurant is open for breakfast (muffins, breakfast sandwiches) and lunch from 7am until 3pm daily.  It’s worth noting that the restaurant delivers if you get your order in by 11am.

BYO Wetnaps.

Blazing Saddles BBQ, 821 Russell Ave., Santa Rosa, 707.528.3388.


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