Copper Top BBQ

 Copper Top BBQ -- Get it before it's all gone  ( coppertopbbq.com )

Copper Top BBQ -- Get it before it's all gone  (coppertopbbq.com)

A cloud of hickory smoke wafts over Big Pine. It’s some of the finest smoke in the country and you can get some, too, for here or to go. It’s Copper Top BBQ, named the Best Restaurant in the Country by Yelp in 2015. 

There’s always a crowd waiting outside a small, oddly-shaped building at the north end of Main Street/Highway 395 in Big Pine. There’s a tent in the yard and a pig on the sign. Copper Top owners Matthew and Hank Otten haven’t done much advertising and they don’t have to; the huge crowds milling on the grass and the clouds of smoke lure in the cue lovers. Every day’s a picnic at the Copper Top.

Copper Top BBQ sells out of pulled pork, Santa Maria tri-tip, Saint Louis Style ribs and chicken daily. The menu is simple, like most good BBQ joints; there are sandwiches, like Andy’s Favorite Pulled Pork Sandwich and sides - try the green chili with beans, lots of garlic. For the barbecue purest, get some meat and dip it in sauce, no bun needed.

Look for Copper Top on Facebook, Yelp or coppertopbbq.com, call 760.970.5577, open 11 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday, take some to go or order through its website and have some of the best barbecue on the Eastside. Get a sandwich or a whole tri-tip. It’s where food makes friends.

Mike Bodine has been reporting on the small town news and gossip of the Eastside for more than 15 years.