Whiskey and ’Cue

A new barbecue joint with a down-home vibe, 250 whiskeys and a meaty menu brings some Southern hospitality to DoCo

Clockwise from top left: A three-meat combo plate, including the popular “burnt ends,” at Sauced; the dining room with corrugated tin ceiling; a flight of whiskey; a corner with a neon BBQ sign and light fixtures made from mason jars

Clockwise from top left: A three-meat combo plate, including the popular “burnt ends,” at Sauced; the dining room with corrugated tin ceiling; a flight of whiskey; a corner with a neon BBQ sign and light fixtures made from mason jars

Photos by Marc Thomas Kallweit

The food and the scene are both smokin’ at Sauced, a BBQ restaurant that opened in January at Downtown Commons outside the Golden 1 Center, the newest in a nascent NorCal chain owned by Livermore-based cousins Brenden Scanlan and Barrett Gomes. Scanlan originally hails from Atlanta, where he started ’cueing in his backyard, and those Southern roots inform the eatery’s rustic country vibe, with Tim McGraw crooning on the stereo, eclectic light fixtures made from reclaimed chicken feeders and mason jars, and a corrugated tin ceiling overhead.

The comfort theme extends to the unfussy menu, which highlights platters of slow-cooked meats like fall-off-the-bone ribs and appetizers like pulled-pork-stuffed jalapeño poppers. But the buzz at Sauced BBQ & Spirits is all about the “burnt ends”: bite-sized cubes of velvety brisket tips smoked at 210-240 degrees for about 12 hours before getting coated in their own drippings and barbecue sauce and returned to the smoker for another two hours.

If the burnt ends are sold out when you arrive—as they often are, so get there early—you can drown your sorrows in a staggering drinks list dominated by 250 whiskeys. A flight of four half-ounce pours allows enthusiasts to sip rare bourbons like Pappy Van Winkle, but if a cold beer sounds better paired with a plate of protein, the bar also offers nine custom-brewed draughts.

As for choosing Sacramento as the fourth location in their burgeoning BBQ empire, Gomes and Scanlan just thought the city was ready to get Sauced. “Our theme of country music, having a good time, beer, bourbon and barbecue—it really seemed to fit the crowd [here],” says Gomes.

1028 7th St. 400-4341. saucedbbqandspirits.com