Some of the best barbecue in US is at this restaurant between Fresno and Yosemite, Yelp says

Mountains, waterfalls — and smoked brisket?


The Oakhurst region is known for a lot of things, though barbecued meats aren’t usually the first to come to mind. Yet Smokehouse 41 just landed on restaurant review site’s list of Top 100 Barbecue Spots of 2024.

The restaurant is on Highway 41, right on the path many drivers take from Fresno to the southern entrance of Yosemite National Park. It’s the blue building with the tall turret-like roof and meats being smoked in the parking lot.

Smokehouse 41 landed at No. 61 on the national list, one of 11 in California. It was the only one in the central San Joaquin Valley to make it into the rankings. The next closest is PorkChop & Bubba’s BBQ in Bakersfield at No 25.

Yelp’s data team came up with the rankings using the ratings diners gave the restaurant and how many reviews it got. Smokehouse has 4.5 stars on the site, with 829 reviews.

Smokehouse 41 serves California-style barbecue — mostly that means tri-tip — smoking many of its meats for up to 14 hours. It’s a fast-casual, order-at-the-counter, food-served-on-a-metal-tray type of place, similar to Chipotle’s style of ordering, said Adam Hildebrand, who owns the restaurant with his wife Diana Sherwood. It opened in 2017.

The menu also includes pulled pork, beef brisket, sausage, and chicken as sandwiches or “meat plates” with sides.

You can also get a full or half rack of pork ribs. Sides include: baked beans, jalapeño macaroni and cheese with bacon, twice-baked potato casserole and broccoli salad.

Hildebrand gets flustered when ask to choose the most popular or favorite dish. So he shares four.

Favorite sandwiches? The Sasquatch (tri-tip and brisket topped with grilled onions and cheese) or the Pitmaster (made with brisket, pulled pork and sausage, and topped with coleslaw).

Other top sellers include the “dirty frites plate,” which is french fries smothered in cheese sauce, a choice of meat, chipotle aioli and green onions. There’s also the 41 Baker, a smoked, sea salt-crusted sweet potato topped with butter, a choice of meat and cheddar cheese.

Most meals range from $15.75 to $26 for a three-meat plate with sides.

Smokehouse 41 has indoor seating, a patio and takeout. It does not take reservations and often sells out near the end of the day.

The business serves locals and plenty of tourists from around the globe visiting the national parks (and tourists tend to leave Yelp reviews).

In addition to the food, Hildebrand says its hospitality plays a big role in its reviews.

“If you go through our Yelp reviews and Google reviews, you see a lot of reviews about our customer service,” he said. “What’s really important with business in general is that people don’t really remember the food that they eat, but they remember how we made them feel.”