Tahoe Top 5: Fire up the grill with 1882 Bar and Grill in Downtown Truckee | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Top 5: Fire up the grill with 1882 Bar and Grill in Downtown Truckee

The much-anticipated sunny, long days are here, bringing perfect weather for whipping up mouthwatering barbecue dishes.

Whether you're grilling different cuts of meat, burgers, or vegetable kebabs there are a few tips to keep top of mind, which will yield plate after plate of delicious barbecue favorites all summer long.

Wendy Brown,grill expert and owner of 1882 Bar & Grill and River Street Inn, has created the restaurant's menu, spice rubs and sauces and says the secret is in starting from scratch.

"Everything here is homemade," Brown said. "The dry rubs, barbecue sauces, they're a bit spicy. Everything has a little kick — it's boring without a kick of flavor."

Brown and her team have been serving perfectly smoked and grilled meat, and side dishes to locals and visitors of the River Street Inn, where they've transformed four guest rooms into 1882 Bar & Grill.

"We have a really great local clientele and such loyal guests," Brown said.

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"We even have guests who come to see my kids and stay with us while they're enjoying Truckee."

1882's friendly staff is passionate about delivering top-notch barbecue meals and shared their top five tips for any home cook to wow their cookout guests.

1. Take the time to brine

When anticipating a barbecue lunch or dinner, be sure to brine your meat 24 hours in advance — that's how the pros at 1882 Bar & Grill keep their meat moist throughout a long cooking process.

"It takes time, but it's well worth it when you're cooking the meat for so long," Brown said.

The restaurant uses a mixture of brown sugar, salt and a few secret spices in water for the meat to rest in overnight in their effort to never serve bland meat.

2. Spice it up

In order to get a nice crunch and robust flavor in your barbecued meats, be sure to first coat the cut in olive oil.

Prepare a rub according to your taste preference. Combine dry spices like salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, and paprika to create a spice rub that you can generously shake onto the meat.

The spices will adhere to the olive oil layer, rub it all over the cut of meat before setting it on the grill.

3. Low and slow for large cuts

"Brisket and large slabs of pork go slow and low in our smoker, and then into the oven for another four hours," Brown said.

(This is the part where your brine comes in handy)

Large cuts of meat need a long time to cook all the way through; low heat for several hours is best, and cooking time varies depending on the size of the cut.

Smoking, then baking meat or finishing it off on the grill after long periods of cooking time will yield that signature, fall-off-the-bone barbecue you're craving.

4. You can never have too much sauce

All of the barbecue sauce served at 1882 is homemade and packs a nice punch of flavor, just the way they like it.

When making your own barbecue sauce with ketchup, molasses or brown sugar and spices, try kicking up the flavor a notch with one of 1882's signature methods — roasted jalapenos.

"Jalapeno is a great way to add a little kick to your sauce," Brown said. "Just throw them on the grill to roast then blend them into your sauce with seasonings."

5. Don't forget your sides

"People always forget about their side dishes, you have to have a good side with barbecue," Brown said.

Just as with the main course, she recommends making sides from scratch.

All produce that you use on the grill should be fresh, coated lightly with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper before cooking about two minutes on each side.

For 1882's signature vegetable kebab side, Brown said they char the veggies in the center over the flame and move them to the outskirts of the grill to cook through just a bit so they're not too crunchy.

The team has a trick up their sleeve for every mouthwatering side dish they serve, even their onion rings get a top-secret prep that makes them absolutely irresistible; you'll have to stop in to try them for yourself.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at cwalker@sierrasun.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.