It’s hard to argue that Salty’s has become synonymous with barbecue in Bakersfield over the years.

Long before owner Jeff Salters and company were “smokin’ and grillin’” with Guy Fieri on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” Salty’s BBQ & Catering already developed a strong and loyal following among locals. The menu was simple, but not lacking in quality: tri-tip and chicken grilled over red oak and ribs and pulled pork slow-cooked in a smoker combined with Salty’s signature rub and smoky-sweet barbecue sauce have created a boomerang effect – anyone who dines at Salty’s will come back around.

Since opening in Oct. 8, 2012, the menu has seen the addition of only four items: brisket, hot links, spicy mac and cheese, and a s’mores brownie. A second location was also opened on White Lane.

Not bad for a guy whose dream was to simply have his own restaurant.

“My dream was to have a successful little restaurant and a catering business on the side and be able to take care of me and my wife and my kids,” Salters said. “To be where we’re at today, it’s a blessing.”

Salty’s Special ($12.50):

It’s no surprise that the sandwich bearing the restaurant’s name is one of its best-sellers.

The Salty’s Special is the eatery’s tagline on a bun, bringing the “best of both worlds” – grilled tri-tip and smoked pulled pork – together into one unique and unforgettable sandwich.

The Salty’s Special requires two hands and a ton of napkins to devour.

Joining this culinary behemoth are yellow peppers, coleslaw and barbecue sauce on a freshly grilled Pyrenees roll.

The sweetness from the coleslaw and barbecue sauce pairs perfectly with the saltiness from the tri-tip and pulled pork and the yellow peppers provide a delicate kick at the end to top it all off.

Hot Link Sandwich ($8.50):

Added to the menu approximately two years ago, the hot link is one of the newest items to find its way onto the Salty’s grill. Fired up over red oak and placed inside a fresh Pyrenees sweet roll grilled with butter and garlic, the sandwich is topped off with sautéed onions and bell peppers seasoned with Salty’s secret rub and drizzled with mustard.

This sandwich has some kick but it never overpowers the flavors of the accompanying ingredients. The sautéed vegetables offset some of the heat with a little sweetness. Those who love spice should combine this sandwich with Salty’s spicy mac and cheese, which features a creamy blend of pepper jack cheese and jalapeños for a savory punch with each bite. 

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