By Miriam Raftery
March 31, 2019 (El Cajon) – Slow-cooked, wood-smoked meats barbecuing on an old wagon base, or buckboard, filled the air with mouth-watering aromas at a ribbon-cutting held March 20th at Buckboard’s Barbecue & Brew in El Cajon by the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce.
The restaurant specializes in California smokehouse barbecue, which owner Fadi Shihadeh describes as “Santa Mara-style with a twist” that includes smoke flavor in all meats. They also do catering, if you've got a hankering for barbecue at your next outdoor gathering.
Now located at 975 Greenfield Drive, Buckboard’s moved to El Cajon from San Diego, where it was originally owned by Padres pitcher Randy Jones. The Shihadeh family bought it and ran it for many years, before moving recently to El Cajon at 975 Greenfield Drive.
“This really is a homecoming for us. It feels great to be back,” Shihadeh told ECM during the Chamber event.
The tri-tip is brined for five days before being barbecued and tastes every bit as good as it looks. Other options include the “Oh, Piggy” pulled pork sandwich, pork shoulder with Santa Maria spices, juicy chicken legs, baby back beef ribs and burgers. From appetizers such as “Shh” hushpuppies with jalapeños to desserts such as bread pudding, the offerings are hearty for hungry eaters.
You can pair your barbecue lunch or dinner with a variety of craft beers from ales to lagers as well as a selection of decent wines.
Local Chamber members relished the samplings. State and local elected officials sent representatives with proclamations to welcome this 30-year barbecue business to El Cajon.
View a video of owner Fadi Shihadeh talking about Buckboard’s smokehouse style and history: