Saturday, December 13, 2008, was my friend Dan's birthday, and he invited Sharlene and I to accompany he and his family to our favorite barbecue restaurant in the local area, Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, on Lonetree Blvd. in the neighboring city of Rocklin. We're always in the mood for good barbecue, so when Dan gave us the invitation, we readily accepted.
Photo: Lucille's, on a chilly, December night. This was an existing light, hand-held photo, so please excuse me for the blurr.
Photo: Amber helps daring Katie with an appetizer...
Lucille's on this Saturday night was packed, I mean packed. There are a lot of people in Rocklin who appreciate great barbecue... thank goodness that Dan had made reservations in advance, as it wouldn't have been possible to seat a group of our size if we had just wandered in from the street. There's a reason that Lucille's is crowded, as they offer the best barbecue in Roseville, and some of the best barbecue that I've had the pleasure to enjoy outside of Texas. Lucky for us, we were seated away from the bar, where a live band was playing, which made conversation quite difficult.
Photo: Lucille's huge appetizer platter, which is a meal in itself. This food is delicious, and makes a meal for two, or an appetizer for eight or more. I really enjoyed the honey-mustard dip, which went well with everything.
After we were seated, we were greeted by our main waiter, Chris, who offered to take our drink orders. We were very impressed with Chris, as he was friendly, eager to help, and genuinely seems to love people, and love his job. Plus, the guy has a great personality, and we were to find that he's a very skilled waiter. We're responsible when we go out, so those of us who were designated drivers ordered soft drinks, while others ordered the drinks of their choice. I was the driver tonight, so I ordered a Coca-cola, which arrive in an ol' fruit jar. Gee ma, am I in Texas?
Photo: Our friendly waiter Chris takes Bev's order, as the birthday boy, Dan, looks on.
Chris asked us if we wanted to order an appetizer plate, and to us, that was a no-brainier, as there's nothing else in town like Lucille's Appetizer Platter. Lucille's offers many appetizer entr้es, but their huge Appetizer Platter is a huge platter of their most popular items, including pork rib tips, onion straws, fried okra, fried green tomatoes, Dixie egg rolls, fried dill pickles, chicken strips and a tri tip quesadilla. Because there were 16 of us, including Dan's darling little granddaughter, Katie, we ordered two platters. But the Appetizer Platter is so large that could be a complete meal for two, which would make for a very economical dinner.
Photo: Chris opens the smoker pit, and proudly shows me pieces of chicken, that are smoking in the pit. Life doesn't get any better than this!
After enjoying lots of pleasant conversation with members of the Clan MacLeod, drinks, and delicious appetizers, our friendly waiter, Chris came to take our orders. That is no small task for one person to do, on a very busy Saturday night, but our waiter was up to the chore. I asked him if I could look into the pit, and he grinned, and said "Sure, follow me." Enough said: I was on my feet in a heartbeat, with my digital camera in tow.
Photo: A peek inside the busy kitchen at Lucille's. Gimme a high-five for snapping the photo! Thanks!
Lucille's barbecue pit smoker is a high-tech marvel of engineering, and its located in the main dining room, next to the entrance to the spotless, stainless steel kitchen. The pit may be inside of the restaurant, but when you're outside you can smell the delightful fragrance of hickory smoke, and if you have any doubt, you can see smoke escaping from the chimney. Meat is placed on racks in the pit, and the racks revolves over smoking hickory wood, in the style of a Ferris wheel. It's electronically controlled, using a touch pad and push buttons. It's a long way from a Texas-style smoker, yet this pit produces outstanding barbecue. Chris was kind enough to open the pit for me, and allow me to take a couple of photos. He told me that the meat smokes from anywhere from 2 to 12 hours, depending on the cut of meat.
Photo: Erin receives her meal of a giant, cheeseburger, with fries, a meal that I almost ordered.
Photo: Another cheeseburger is on the way... Lucille makes delicious cheeseburgers... Note this one has garlic mashed potatoes on the side, which is a winning combination.
The decor in Lucille's is quite "southern," as the restaurant emphasis Memphis-style barbecue, as their menu features a little something from every genru้ of regional barbecue, except Carolina-style. Our waiter was quick to tell me that the restaurant was not named after B.B. King's favorite guitar, Lucille, although southern-style blues, and the music of B.B. King, is much-admired in the restaurant. The decor is very fitting to barbecue, and all together, very pleasant. Lucille's is NOT a smoky, dingy, Texas-style barbecue dive, where you serve yourself, you're seated on picnic tables, and your food is wrapped in butcher paper. This place has class, yet its the pinnacle of fun, casual dining. Lucille's has found the right combination.
Photo: Sharlene shows her order of a full slab of baby back ribs, which is her favorite barbecue dinner, along with a huge baked potato, a watermelon slab, and a side of honey roasted peanut slaw. All I can say is, Wow!
On this chilly Saturday night, Lucille's was the place to be in Rocklin, as I think half the town was there. We had dinner reservations for 7 in the evening, and when we arrived, the place was packed, and it was standing room only. Lucille's draws a diverse group of diners, from 20-something yuppies, to senior citizens. Blues lovers, rappers, acid rock freaks, to good ol' country boys... you just can't stereotype anybody at Lucille's, but everybody has at least one thing in common: They love outstanding barbecue.
Photo: Friendly waiter Ali delivers my dinner on the table, as I snap his photo. This shot was posed, as the action inside of Lucille's was quite frantic, but controlled.
Photo: Our friendly waiter Ali takes the photo, from left to right, Me, Eric T. Rench... your friendly webmaster, my wife Sharlene, hidden behind her is Bev, Dan's charming wife, birthday boy Dan, and his son-in-law Matt. Note the enticing array of food, and the drinks, served in ol' fruit jars.
Our food arrived in a timely manner, and was served by no less than 2 waiters, and 2 waitresses! At Lucille's, the food arrives hot, delicious, and it's presented to your table with a smile. Considering how busy the restaurant was at the time of our visit, we were surprised how quickly our food arrived.
I ordered a combination plate of tri-tip, chopped beef brisket, and pulled pork, with sides of garlic mashed potatoes, and beans. The shredded brisket and pork was mixed with sauce, and the tri-tip was separate, yet all of the meat melted in my mouth, as it was tender, juicy, and just plain good barbecue. The side dishes of garlic mashed potatoes and beans were out-of-this world, and I particularly enjoyed the beans, as to me, beans are an essential ingredient to successfully accompany good barbecue. Meat was smoky tasting, yet the smoky taste was didn't drown out the wonderful flavor of the smoked meet. Lucille's special barbecue sauce was mixed with the pulled pork and the chopped brisket, which enhanced the taste of the meat, yet didn't overpower it. Presentation you ask? Very attractive, as my plate arrived garnished with lettuce, and included an attractive slice of seedless watermelon. Actually, the presentation was a work of barbecue art. All of us had similar thoughts on the quality of the food, the attractive presentation, and the quantity of the food.
Photo: My delicious dinner of tri-tip, chopped brisket, pulled pork, served with sides of garlic mashed potatoes, watermelon, and some of the best beans that I've had to enjoy in a barbecue restaurant in California.
Photo: The Clan MacLoed in action, at Lucille's. Grandson Jeremy, to the left, seems to relish in the limelight of the digital photo. Way to go, dude!
Speaking of barbecue sauce, Lucille's is so proud, and confident of their barbecue, that they're happy to serve your ribs without any sauce. Their menu states, if that what you want, to tell your server to "Bring my bones dry," which is quaint, indeed.
Since it was Dan's birthday, we had all brought gifts, and one of his son-in-laws, Keith, had brought in a lemon birthday cake, which is wife, Amber, was happy to cut. Dan received many wonderful gifts, including a trip to Arizona to enjoy a bit of NASCAR action, which is one of his passions in life. I'm usually not a fan of cake, especially lemon, but this cake was simply delicious. This made the occasion even more festive. As an aside, Dan is a core member of the Sacramento Breakfast Club, as he's a lover of fine breakfasts, as well as fine barbecue.
Photo: Left to right: My wife, Sharlene, Bev, Dan and Matt enjoy their delicious dinners. Notice the ample food, and the soft drinks, served in an ol' fruit jar. Good food, good barbecue, and good people... at Lucille's.
Photo: Amber cuts a piece of cake for the birthday boy, her dad, Dan. The cake was delicious.
The portions served at Lucille's are enormous. That mean Texas-big! Most of us requested boxes to take leftovers home. I think the only one of us that was able to finish their portion was Jeremy, Amber's strapping lad, who vaporized his meal. As for me, I enjoyed three additional nights of barbecue bliss, from the meat that I took home. You won't go away hungry after dining at Lucille's!
Photo: Dan proudly displays his T-shirt, that he received as a birthday gift. Note the bag, as the Clan MacLoed are "green," as it has been used before, and will probably show up under the clan's Christmas tree this year.
Photo: Oh to be 29 again... as the bar is hoppin' at Lucille's, it serves any drink under the rainbow, and its full of beautiful women.
Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que serves some of the best barbecue that I've had the pleasure to enjoy. It's a fun, friendly place to frequent, the service is fast, friendly and very efficient, and the food is not only plentiful, but delicious. If you're in the greater Sacramento area, and you're in the mood for delicious barbecue, a visit to Lucille's in mandatory.
Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que
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