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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

High elevation BBQ in Lake Tahoe

Discover the best smoked meats Tahoe has to offer

Though your own Traeger may be packed away for the winter months, you’ll still find dedicated pitmasters tending their meat amid piles of snow in the Tahoe Basin. From top-secret sauces to all-day smoked brisket, enjoy a stick-to-you-ribs meal after you’ve crushed it on the mountain at one of Tahoe’s best BBQ joints around the lake.

For nearly 30 years, Sonney Bruning has been making his own BBQ sauce. It all started with a sauce contest against his brother on their houseboats on Lake Oroville. Though the jury’s still out on who won the contest, Bruning fine tuned his recipe, and in 2014, moved to South Lake Tahoe and opened Sonney’s BBQ Shack. Even in the heart of winter, brisket and pork butts are cooked slow and low for 12-14 hours over oak, apple and other hardwoods, a flavor that has earned Sonney’s the best BBQ in South Lake Tahoe from the Tahoe Daily Tribune seven years in a row. Combined with decadent sides like cheesy spicy grits and jalapeño cornbread — plus a hearty dousing of Sonney’s four signature sauces, which can be purchased all over town — it’s no wonder it’s a locals’ favorite.

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