Texas barbecue is alive and smokin’ on the Eastside. Copper Top BBQ in Big Pine was named Top Restaurant in America by Yelp in 2014. The Lone Pine Smokehouse has been open since August, but only after its Pit Master, Mike White trained for five months in Austin, Texas learning the secrets of fire and meat. These guys mean business.
The Lone Pine Smokehouse is the brainchild of owners Carl Shrawder and Raelene Arrington. Carl’s a retired Certified Public Accountant and Raelene’s a self-confessed foodie. After retiring the two decided, “We didn’t want to take up golf,” Carl said, and the two ventured into the barbecue biz. He explained he lived in Mammoth for decades and become familiar with every restaurant on Highway 395 and decided a space in the barbecue market needed to be filled.
“Whatever we do, we want to be the best at it, not just in the county, but in LA, too,” Carl told The Sheet. White and Carl visited Austin in search of the best barbecue joints and a mentor. The pair found two they thought were the best: Louie Mueller Barbecue of Taylor, and Franklin Barbecue of Austin. “Franklin is the Elvis Presley of the barbecue business, Carl says.
White spent nearly half of last year learning the craft from Mueller. Smoking the meat is only one part of the process. White spent six weeks learning how to trim a brisket; trim too much fat and the meat is dry, don’t trim enough and the meat can get stringy or the fat gets in the way of the meat.
“They say in Texas, it [barbecue] is both an art and a science,” White said. Along with the classics like brisket and ribs, Lone Pine Smokehouse offers smoked turkey breast, a vegetarian smoked beet salad and homemade sauces, like the earthy-toned espresso sauce. Big eaters can take home a whole brisket or turkey breast.