Barbecue chefs identify themselves by the signature flavors of their sauces, which they brush onto slabs of meat and hand to police officers during routine traffic stops. Sample handcrafted piquancy with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of smokehouse fare and drinks at Mill Creek Cattle Co. in Mentone.
The chefs at Mill Creek Cattle Co. serve up an expansive menu of slow-smoked meats amid a boot-stomping array of vivid Wild West–inspired décor. Each morning, the Mill Creek meat mavens awake to blend another batch of custom barbecue sauce—a tangy mix of bell peppers, onions, chili peppers, tomato sauce, and secret seasonings—to be slathered on slabs cooked over an aromatic, citrus-wood smoker. Tuck teeth into the harmonious flavors of the pulled and occasionally pushed pork ($14.95), or compose melodies on the meaty xylophone of the original baby back ribs ($21.95 for a full rack). The fried steak ($15.95) tramples appetites under a stampede of battered beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cornbread, served with a side of honey butter churned by extraordinarily strong bees. A 25-ounce root-beer float ($3.95) helps to soothe oversauced incisors, and hot chocolate ($2) can provide a mahogany hue to prized coonskin caps.
A floor-to-ceiling collection of saddles, branding irons, old six-shooters, and other artifacts lines the walls of Mill Creek’s distinct eatery, immersing clientele in a pastiche of the Old West. Enjoy a tipple from Diamond Jim’s Saloon and Opera House—which often hosts live country and rock music on weekends—or realize your own dysentery-free manifest destiny in one of the stagecoaches on display in the barns out back.
1874 Mentone Blvd.
Mentone, California 92359