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Brewer’s Branding Iron goes big with barbecue

Rick Chandler

It’s hard to miss Brewer’s Branding Iron BBQ & Rotisserie – it’s the restaurant right on Lake Tahoe Boulevard with the giant barbecue smoker in the parking lot. There hasn’t been a bigger grill in these parts since the Ponderosa Ranch went out of business.

Yes, Hoss Cartwright would have felt right at home at the Brewer’s Branding Iron, because they do barbecue big.

“I go back to Texas quite often just to check out the barbecue places and make sure that we’re doing it right,” said Brian Brewer, who operates the restaurant with his wife, Anne. The couple bought the business – the former Mulligan’s Irish Pub – two years ago.

“Looking around, we discovered that there were really no family style restaurants around that area,” Brewer said. “We actually ran it as Mulligan’s for a little less than a year after we bought it, and then changed it to the Branding Iron. That was going to be the idea all along.”

The Brewers haven’t been in the restaurant business very long – in fact, a little more than two years ago they were both working for the California Highway Patrol; Brian as a chief and Anne as a sergeant. But one might say that barbecue was always in Brian’s blood.

“My mom is from Oklahoma and my dad from Arkansas, and I was raised on a cattle ranch,” he said. “So I was around Southern food all the time. When Anne and I decided it was time to make a change, the restaurant was the natural choice.”

And when it comes to Southern-themed cooking, the Brewers decided to go whole hog. They have a wide variety of Southern favorites, among them gumbo, jambalya, fried catfish and even sweet potato pie. Of course chicken and beef are staples; just everything one would expect at a good barbecue joint.

Brewer takes the restaurant’s signature locomotive style barbecue smoker, purchased from Rutherford’s in Sparks, throughout the Tahoe area for catering gigs.

“We cater large parties, store openings, gatherings on boats, you name it,” Brewer said. “If you want to call attention to your business, having a barbecue is a good way to do it.”

Brewers’ also has specials, happy hours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and caters to children. They also offer free room rentals for parties.


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