Sept. 13, 2012
Now this place was a complete surprise. It was as if I found my missing link. You have to go kind of outside of town to find this gem. A classic Americana Road stop. This legendary restaurant has long been a favorite stopping point for travelers along Highways 101 and 128, as well as local loggers and ranchers. Bob krucker and his wife Joanne are the owners. I was completely blown away when I met ,Joanne, she looks like she could be a long lost sister of mine. Her roots followed a similar path to my own family. She was raised in London, like my father Philip, and went to a Kibbutz in Israel for 30 years, where she met her second husband. Bob is from Kansas City, hence the BBQ restaurant. And her daughter was born and raised in Israel.
With Bob’s Kansas City roots, he has brought in a giant wood-fired smoker where BBQ favorites like Brisket, Baby Back Ribs, Pulled Pork and Chicken is slowly cooked and available all year long. Joanne told me that I looked like one of her relatives; she could have very well been a cousin on my father’s side. Knowing Sonoma county and all of the bounty it has to offer I was lucky to be able to experience this mouth watering BBQ, especially with such an interesting back-story. The walls are lined with post cards from around the world. After you have enjoyed your spectacular BBQ they give you a post card to send back from where ever you came from. So many foreign places, I could not keep up. And then there is the food. So many items slow cooked, anywhere from 18 to 30 hours and all delectable. Bob is also a judge at many national BBQ events, so he knows his stuff.
Here is what I tried;
Baby Back BBQ Ribs, so tender, so moist, slow cooked and delicious.
Pastrami, better then any deli pastrami I’ve ever tasted, wow!
Tri-Tip, nice flavor, just what the doctor ordered.
Brisket, just what you would expect from this amazing BBQ joint, nice bark, great smoke ring, and oh so good.
Pulled Pork, nice flaky meat with some mush BBQ goodness.
Pulled Chicken, I really loved the flavor of this, a nice blend of BBQ and seasoning.
Chorizo and andouille sausage, sliced thin and grilled to perfection.
Daily Homemade Soup, brisket and vegetable. Very wholesome, kind of like what my grandma “Tillie” used to make. She would use the scraps from a good brisket and make a nice rich soup. My grandfather David was a butcher and meat was always abundant.
Onion Rings, these bad boys are to die for, and I am the official onion ring junkie.
Potato Salad, made fresh everyday with lots of great fresh potatos.
Coleslaw, again made fresh everyday, really simple but very nice.
Baked Beans, this is a must have, so sweet and perfect with the BBQ meats.
Sweet Potato Fries, kind of the light side, but you can’t stop eating these fries.
Mac N Cheese, so rich, so cheesy, a nice addition.
These are their homemade sauces: BBQ sauce; sweet-spicy or Carolina Spicy, Carolina Spicy mustard. All of their sauces are really fantastic, you just want to float away in all of them.
These are the wines I tried:
Marietta, Geyserville, Zinfindel.
Mauritson, Dry Creek, Chardonnay.
Both wines went great with the meats and the variety of side dishes. They have a great selection of wines to match any of their menu items.
They won some great accolades at the 2012 Sonoma County Harvest fair: a silver ribbon for their Bojos mild BBQ Sauce, a gold for their Bojos spicy BBQ Sauce, and a double gold for their Bojos Carolina style spicy BBQ sauce. For their appetizers and entrees they won Silver for their Homemade andouille sauage, double gold for their pulled pork sliders, and double gold and best use of pork for their baby back ribs and BBQ sauce. Their desserts won big too; caramel apple crisp won silver, English bread pudding with butterscotch won gold, and butterscotch cream pie won double gold.
You just feel like you are transported to another time, of good ole home style BBQ, in all its American glory. During the summer months, Bob and Joanne work the outdoor grill serving big steaks, salmon and oysters, and there is a great selection of local wine, micro-brews and domestic beers.
The family is so unique, so not only are you transported from the food, but as well as all of their individual ethnicities, Israel, London and Kansas City. Everything here is one big happy marriage and the food reflects all of this family’s happiness. It is so worth a road trip to Cloverdale.
Hamburger Ranch and BBQ
31195 N Redwood Hwy, Cloverdale, CA
North of town-Top of the Hill