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The Boston Globe

Food & dining

food | travel

In the California desert, a barbecue outpost

PIONEERTOWN, Calif. — It’s the kind of place where beers and Shirley Temples are served in mason jars — and this isn’t a recent style thing. Diners looking out the open-air windows might spy a woman riding by on horseback just as the bluegrass band is finishing its final set. At the entrance, a blue-and-white sign warns hippies to use the side door, but hipsters are more than welcome. There’s a hundred of them eating pulled pork, salmon, and bean-and-corn salad at a wedding out back.

Four miles off the main highway, in a Mojave Desert town that consists of little more than a short stretch of dirt road, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is a landmark in Southern California. Serving up Santa Maria barbecue and a steady stream of big-name musical acts, Pappy & Harriet’s regularly draws visitors from Los Angeles, more than 120 miles to the west, and beyond. “It’s a destination,” says co-owner Linda Krantz. Other than a few bikers and “people who are on an adventure,” she says, nobody finds this place by accident.

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