Just over the city line of Upland and into Rancho Cucamonga, this tiny, family-owned catfish and rib joint gives “hole in the wall” its literal meaning. Really. We were shocked at just how grungy the place is, and we’re being nice. We also found the seemingly 186-foot cardboard standee of Tommy “Tiny” Lister—a black film and wrestling star—that greeted us upon entering to be super freaky-scary: who the hell buys a gargantuan photo of a guy who appeared at the famous thug Deebo in the film Friday? This blatant bizarreness warmed our campy hearts, of course, and since there is an A on the Redhill door, we remembered it was about the food, not the décor, and put our trust in the public health department. We’re glad we did!
Across from Tiny Lister is a wall-spanning menu board, with colorful, very un-Californian choices including such unfathomables as a whole smoked pig (for $300), and an offer to deep-fry your whole turkey or ham (price contingent upon pounds). Since we weren’t in the mood for an entire pig, we went for the Combo Platter—two pork ribs, two beef ribs, two pieces of barbecued chicken, a hot link, and two slices of ham and beef brisket. Then we thought we should have just gotten the whole pig, because with the baked beans, corn cob and potato salad, we were going to consume stomach-breaching quantities of lunchables anyway.
Now, when Redhill says they cook the meat till it’s falling off the bone—they tell no lies. Those damn ribs put the “t” in tender, and the homemade sauce is seriously the best barbecue we’ve ever had (okay, we’ve never been to the deep south, but we’re still pretty sure Johnny Reb sauce would be put to the test). And who knew I’d been eating crap potato salad all these years? Redhill set me straight with their mashed potato-like, spiced with seasonings and no overkill of mayo brand. So much better than that celery-riddled German stuff we’ve been gobbling down. And while we missed out on the collard greens and catfish (which we regret except we’ve never really been into those super deep south dishes) and we didn’t have room for the sweet potato and pecan pie, or peach cobbler—we’re going back tomorrow to rectify the omission. We did indulge in the chicken gumbo, however, which is one for the books. With slices of chicken sausage and bits of corn and meat juices so dense we couldn’t see the bottom of the bowl, we confidently proclaim Redhill the Inland Empire gumbo king.
And we have done the IE Gumbo Circuit.
We’ve got the doctor’s bills to prove it.
Redhill BBQ Texas Style, 8111 Foothill Blvd., Unit B, Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 920-0558; www.redhillbbq.com. Open Mon.–Thurs., 11AM–8PM; Fri. & Sat., 11AM–10PM; Sun., noon–6PM. AE, D, MC, V