Copper Top BBQ: One of the Best BBQ Joints in Cali

I love BBQ and even though California isn’t often one of the spots you think of when you think about BBQ, we still have a ton of great spots like Phil’s and Salty’s. Thus when I heard that a small BBQ spot in Big Pine was on Yelp’s best restaurants of 2014 list as number one I knew I had to try it out. Now I am not sure how they made this list, as it seems to be pretty skewed to California but when a company that big makes a list like this you have to assume they would pick a number one that would be good.

Copper Top BBQ-4


  • Cost: $15
  • Hours: 12 – 5PM, closed Mon-Tues or when they run out of meat
  • No vegetarian options

On my way up Highway 395 I missed a stop here since it was already closed (past 5PM). So I made sure that on the way down I would be driving through when it was open. 

Copper Top BBQ-6

As I drove up I was excited to see that they had not run out of meat as the smoker was going strong and that I would finally be able to try this mythical unicorn of a restaurant. 

Copper Top BBQ-7

After waiting in line at the small walk up counter I ask if there was anything that let me try all of the meat they had and I was shown a three meat sampler for $17. This was expensive but I had to give it a try so I subbed chicken for pulled pork and got pork, tri-tip and ribs. This came with two sides and I went with potato salad and green pepper chili, then I sat down on the benches and waited for my meal.

Copper Top BBQ-1

Ten minutes later I had a full selection of meat sitting in front of me and I was ready to dive in. I started with the sides and the potato salad was not great so I moved onto the chili. The chili was fantastic and I would highly recommend you select that as one of your sides. It was spicy but not overpowering and my vegetarian wife loved it as well.

Copper Top BBQ-2

Next I dove into the ribs and they were tender and flavorful. They practically fell off the bone and with a little extra BBQ sauce I practically inhaled them. I figured that the rest of the meat couldn’t be as good but when I ate the pork it was even better than the ribs. It had a sweet tang to it that shows it was rubbed well and cooked to perfection. I moved onto the tri tip and was shocked to find it was even better than the pork. It was tender and full of flavor.

Copper Top BBQ-3

So after trying everything I would rate it tri-tip, pork, then ribs, with the ribs even at third place being better than most first place options at any other BBQ spot. I am sure you are asking, well is it the best place in the United States? I doubt I can make that claim, but that being said it was the best BBQ spot I have had in California so that is saying something. I can’t wait till my next road trip brings me to their walk up window and I suggest you give it a try ASAP.

Interested in supporting this blog?

This blog is simply a hobby and labor of love for me. If you have enjoyed the posts consider sharing it with your friends. I want as many people as possible to explore this state and you can help by letting them know about all of the great spots!

About JoshMc

Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.