Slow and low wood smoked Texas BBQ
By Jessica Johnson
Chances are good that if you live in Aptos, you have driven past Sid’s Smokehouse and seen the big sign from the (often slow-moving) freeway. If you haven’t already been lured off the road by the mouth-watering aroma of their meat smoking in their Texas BBQ pit, then you have been missing out!
Owner John Siddall says, “Slow and low is our motto, and that is the key to our tender and juicy meats. We are the only 100% wood smoked menu in the county and that sets us apart from everyone else.”
Sid’s selects only high quality meats and then applies a dry-rub of Chef Samy’s secret blend of spices. They load up their Texas Pit Smoker several times a day to make sure they are serving the juiciest, freshest BBQ possible. “Our BBQ is never sauced, served dry rub only, the way real BBQ should be,” said Siddall. But don’t fret if you like your BBQ sauced up – they offer a variety of flavorful homemade BBQ sauces at the table.
Siddall is proud of the fact that Sid’s will be celebrating five years of delivering ribs, pizzas, and Angus Burgers in May. Siddall, who left a Silicon Valley career in engineering to start his restaurant, admits the restaurant business can be tough and like many labors of love it has had times of great challenge – and great reward. Surviving in the restaurant business, let alone thriving, is a difficult thing to do. Siddall attributes his success, in part, to his employees. “I consider myself very lucky to have a great staff I can count on,” he shared.
Another key to a successful business is keeping things fresh and new, and to that end, Sid’s recently released new menus featuring new items like the Corralitos pizza with Corralitos market hotlinks, fresh jalapenos, cilantro and onions, as well as smoked jalapeño poppers, and seared ahi tuna. “We also have a new Happy Hour Pub menu with $2 and $3 items on it, like our Carolina pulled pork sliders for just 2 bucks,” said Siddall. “And don’t forget every Monday is $10 Burger, Fries and a Brew.”
With seven large screen TVs and NFL Sunday Ticket, Sid’s is one of the best places to catch the game, too. As a Steelers fan, I have spent many Sundays at Sid’s enjoying some of the best wings in town or their satisfying avocado salad while watching my team. Depending on how they are playing, I may have one (or more) of their refreshing Moscow Mules. I have seen their smoked bacon Bloody Marys and, while I am not a Bloody Mary drinker, I hear they are delicious. In addition, Sid’s offers a full line-up of craft beers on tap and a wide variety of local wines.
Sid’s family friendly environment and heavy community involvement – they often host fundraisers for local school and sports teams – means the restaurant is often full, they also offer food to go and can cater offsite events. “In the last couple of years we have branched out,” said Siddall. “We have catered quite a few weddings, company events, and festivals. Every year we attend the Spartan Race in Monterey and cook food for over 2000 people and pour off 80 kegs of beer in a single day. If we can plan and execute an event of this size, we can handle just about any size catering job.”
While having a reliable and talented staff is the foundation of Sid’s success, the food is, of course, the main attraction, and the feedback Siddall gets from his customers is what keeps him energized. “I get inspired by talking to customers and hearing about their experience,” he said. “I have a former NFL player who comes in all the time, just for my St. Louis pork ribs. He said he has been to every BBQ joint within two hours of here and cannot find a better pork rib. It’s customers like these that really inspire me.”
Sid’s Smokehouse is located at 10110 Soquel Drive and is open Monday thru Thursday 11:30 – 8:00; Friday 11:30 – 9:00; Saturday 11:00 – 9:00 and Sunday 10:00 – 8:00. (We will stay open later depending on demand and sporting events.) Happy Hour: 3-6pm every day. Call the restaurant at 831-662-2227 or 831-708-2177 for catering information. Check out their menu at www.sidssmokhouse.com.