The first meal I remember truly loving was from a barbeque restaurant in my hometown when I was five or six. Eighteen years later, I still find it hard to beat a good barbeque meal. Barbeque summarizes everything I love about food. Barbeque is bold, it’s passionate, it’s messy, it’s unapologetically delicious. So, obviously, I had to hop on the opportunity to review Mylestone Barbeque Co., a barbeque joint that just recently started serving lunches from Wednesday to Friday, with a special rib day on Sunday, out of Draughtsmen Aleworks in Goleta.
You wouldn’t guess it, but Mylestone BBQ is a one-man operation. From cooking the meat, to hand-making the sauces, to mixing and packaging the seasonings he sells, pitmaster Charles Myles does it all. This respectable feat only grew more impressive once I experienced Mylestone for myself.
Mylestone BBQ serves sandwiches filled with your choice of three meats: tri-tip, pulled pork or barbeque chicken. Unfortunately, a sandwich wasn’t an option for me — I can’t eat gluten. Luckily, everything at Mylestone BBQ is gluten free (except, of course, the bread) and Myles was quick to make arrangements for me, loading up a plate with tri-tip, pulled pork and the slaw and pickles that usually go on the sandwich. He also offers a vinegar slaw, potato salad or street corn on the side, and occasionally a delicious dessert.
I brought my plate out back to the sitting area, a quiet, open patio surrounded by towering eucalyptus trees and tinged with that heavenly, bring-you-in-from-down-the-block BBQ aroma (one of the best smells in the world, if you ask me) and officially entered a world of barbeque bliss. I tried the pulled pork first, which was tender and seasoned wonderfully. The tri-tip was next and was equally impressive: beautifully smoky, crusted with Myles’ signature tri-tip seasoning and cooked to perfection. The slaw was perfectly vinegary, light and crunchy, which balanced out the rich barbeque. Each bite I took further cemented the opinion I began to form after my first few bites: This is the best barbeque I’ve had in Santa Barbara.
After my first few bites, Myles came over to my table with a handful of sauces: a classic barbeque sauce, a spicy barbeque sauce, a horseradish mustard and a fermented hot sauce. All are handmade and all are delicious, adding a ton of flavor to the already flavorful meats. My favorites were the spicy barbeque and the fermented hot sauce, the latter of which Myles explained takes about a month to make. Both sauces balance the spice incredibly well; they’re hot, but not unbearable, adding a kick without taking away from the experience of the meal. Myles explained that he wanted his hot sauce to be flavor forward, a goal I’d say he certainly achieved. The strong, floral flavors of the peppers are rounded out by garlic and the month of fermentation lends a complexity that brings it from great to even greater. I laid back in my chair, waves of heat and smoke rolling across my tongue, trying my best to make this meal last. I was in heaven.
As my plate quickly got emptier (a tragic consequence of a delicious meal), Myles came out to talk to myself and the other patron with whom I shared the patio. Through bites of tri-tip (impolite, I know, but I couldn’t help myself), we had a lovely conversation, during which he shared the history of Mylestone BBQ.
After more than 20 years working an office job at a local tech company, Myles decided he needed an outlet, something to do for himself. So, in 2019, (the perfect year for anyone to begin a business venture), he started Mylestone BBQ, cooking his delicious tri-tip on a little Santa Maria grill from Costco. Business picked up quicker than expected, putting the Santa Maria to the test, and Myles was able to dedicate more and more of his time to Mylestone. Of course, shortly after, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Without a place to sell his BBQ due to lockdown, but unwilling to give up on Mylestone, Myles shifted to selling his seasoning blends (which he still does along with his hot sauce). As restrictions loosened, he started operations out of a shared kitchen in Goleta and operated a purely preorder and takeout business. Adapt, adapt, adapt.
Now a huge one-of-a-kind, custom-made barbeque takes the place of that little Santa Maria, and he has a mainstay at Draughtsmen Aleworks. Myles has since left his office job to pursue his Mylestone dream, something I’m always happy to hear, and he is looking to pick up as many barbeque-cooking days as he can.
A handshake and a thank-you later, I left stuffed and satisfied, already planning my next trip to Mylestone for Myles’ Saturday rib special.
Mylestone BBQ is a must for barbeque lovers, or anyone looking to try a new spot in Goleta! Support a small, Black-owned business and give Mylestone BBQ a shot — you certainly won’t regret it.
A version of this article appeared on p. 10 of the February 23, 2023 edition of the Daily Nexus.