By Bakersfield Life
We think it's the best barbecue in Bakersfield! Welcome to Pappy's Down South BBQ, which opened in 2007. After years of working on their recipes, Chris and Brittney Papion wanted to share their passion for real, slow-cooked barbecue. So the married couple decided to venture from catering and open Pappy's restaurant.
"We cook for love, not for money," Chris said.
Andrea Ames juggles a busy schedule with two children, Emily and Colin. She teaches first grade at Old River Elementary, and is happily married to Sam Ames. Sam keeps this family busy with several bicycling events throughout the year. Living in the northeast provides quick access to the hills and bike path for jogging, and being outdoors together. Bakersfield has an outstanding tennis community for adults. Andrea's competitive USTA team has played together for five years and has traveled throughout Southern California, including Indian Wells for championship matches. The Ames family loves traveling and, of course, eating out with their good friends at local restaurants.
Marlene Morales is the director of marketing, public relations and business development for Chain Cohn Stiles Law firm. She is committed to serving the community of Kern County, and is involved in many nonprofit organizations. Marlene is a native of Bakersfield, and is a graduate of Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield. Marlene is a tomboy at heart. She enjoys playing golf, watching and attending sporting events, betting the ponies and jogging. She lives by the motto, "To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift!"
Denise Ornelas is the marketing director at La Bonita Tortilla Co., a 50-year-old, family-owned local business led by her husband, Albert. In addition, Denise owns Allure Beauty Salon, and is the 2013 chairwoman of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Denise and Albert are proud parents to Gabriel, 15, and Jessica, 14. Denise's hobbies include deaf education, Driller football, and of course, taking the family on new restaurant adventures. She jokes that her son is on a mission to travel the world to explore every restaurant he sees on the Food Network.
Mai Giffard, pastry chef and co-owner of De Coeur Bake Shop, is a graduate of The Art Institute of California-Orange County, trained in classic French cuisine. She's worked at Roy's, SusieCakes and staged at Chez Panisse. She moved to Bakersfield in 2010, in support of her husband Jason's career, and has most recently worked at the Padre Hotel. She grew up eating Vietnamese and French food at home, and loves to cook for friends and family.
Stephanie Brooks Pickering is a native of Palm Springs, but moved to Bakersfield in March 2010. She is principal and owner of Mention Communications, a boutique communications collective based in Bakersfield. Stephanie is a graduate of The Thatcher School in Ojai, and holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree in public communications/public relations from American University. Stephanie's career includes more than 17 years of experience in marketing, communications, public relations and special events, including work for Fortune 500 companies in Washington, D.C. and New York City, as well as health-related philanthropic institutions in Chicago and California. She is a member of the Junior League of Bakersfield, and in 2012, she was appointed to the Kern County Board of Trade and Film Commission. Stephanie is married to Jeff Pickering, and has two active children, Colin and Olivia.
Using quality ingredients, Brittney takes pride in cooking from scratch. Every day, Old Faithful (their barbecue smoker) is put to work using charcoal, oak and hickory wood to bring slowly cooked barbecue to their customers.
In the back corner of the restaurant sits a first-place trophy for their brisket from the 2012 Biggest, Baddest BBQ contest.
Not only is the food cooked Southern-style, but Chris and Brittney's friendly hospitality and generosity made us feel like we had walked into a small family restaurant in Louisiana. From the welcome greeting and excellent service, to the excitement of sharing their experiences and treating us like Divas, this was good ol' Southern hospitality at its finest!
(Note: Divas Mai Giffard and Stephanie Pickering were unable to attend Pappy's. Look for them at the Divas' second trip.)
Andrea: We looked at the variety of food offered on the menu, and it was difficult to narrow it down because we couldn't consume everything. We started with the pulled pork nachos -- a heaping mound of crisp, homemade tortilla chips piled high with tender pulled-pork, gooey nacho cheese, and topped with guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo that was drizzled with homemade barbecue sauce. The chips stayed crisp and light under all of the barbecue sauce, while the pulled pork gave the nachos a unique sweet and smokey kick.
Denise: Then came a Louisiana favorite -- the red beans and rice. It was the perfect combination of white rice smothered with red beans, spices, smoked pulled pork and Andouille Cajun sausage that kept us wanting more.
Marlene: The deep-fried pickles were coated in a seasoned breading and fried to perfection. The crispy, golden fried spears were crunchy, warm, juicy and perfect for dipping into a homemade mustard sauce. Yum, yum, good!
Andrea: Next up, we tried the house specialty -- barbecue spaghetti! This was something I had never even heard of. Aldente spaghetti was served with pulled pork and barbecue sauce, which gave it a sweet and savory flavor. Very unique to Bakersfield, indeed!
Denise: The Pappy's burger is their signature. You can't believe how tall this burger is: thick burger topped with cheese, bacon, pulled pork, barbecue sauce and coleslaw all layered between grilled buns. We had to cut into it with a knife and fork. This burger has great flavors and textures. It was tender, and the chewy bacon and savory pork gave it a smokey flavor, while the coleslaw added some crunch and sweetness. On each table there are four choices of homemade barbecue sauces: regular, sweet, hot and Carolina-style. The regular sauce was really good with the burger.
Marlene: Rib-eye. Did I say rib-eye? I generally do not eat steak; however, I would eat this steak all day, every day! An amazing marinated, tender, cut of meat with a burst of wonderful flavors. Chris said you can find his recipe for the marinade online at The Bakersfield Californian's website ("Kern County's teams hope to smoke rivals") when he submitted it for the barbecue contest. The steak was served with the best baked potato I have ever eaten -- perfectly baked with a smokey flavor, stuffed with pulled pork and topped with cheese and sour cream. You won't find any bacon bits served here!
Andrea: Dad, you've got some competition! These ribs were served with homemade macaroni and cheese, fried okra and cornbread. The meat was thick, but so tender that it just fell off the bone. The sweet and savory barbecue sauce was flavorful, but not overpowering. Yes, extra napkins were a must! The macaroni and cheese was hearty, and baked with a good consistency along with the right combination of Southern spices, which made it very comforting! The fried okra was crispy and delicious to dip into ranch.
Denise: Golden crisp fried chicken was served with a side of sweet potato fries and homemade maple butter for the dipping sauce, a side of collard greens and grilled garlic bread. The chicken was excellent! Crispy and crunchy on the outside with the meat tender, moist and cooked to perfection. The collard greens were seasoned with just enough smokey pork, which gave them a little kick. The Divas all agreed that the sweet potato fries dipped in maple butter were a must-order.
Marlene: Being the "carb Diva" that I am, I had to rate the grilled garlic sourdough bread and cornbread that is served with all the barbecue combos. Both are outstanding, but if I had to choose one, I would select the grilled garlic bread. Yummy!
Andrea: Marlene and I were not shy about asking for the homemade peach cobbler. It was the best crust I have ever had. Not your traditional, thick biscuit-style crust. This was light, flaky and thin. It complemented the peaches and you could taste the nutmeg and cinnamon. The cobbler was topped with creamy vanilla ice cream, and it was hard for us to put our spoons down. It was quite the Southern treat.
From the moment we walked in, Chris and Brittney's Southern hospitality greeting and homemade Southern comfort food made us feel like we were at a family barbecue. There was a kot of love that was put into the preparation of the food.
It's sinful to eat this mouth-watering, delicious, finger-lickin' barbecue. However, they do have a lighter side menu with salads and grilled entrees that sound tasteful, too! We all plan on returning Pappy's to share our memorable experience with family and friends.