The Evolution of How Gram’s Mission BBQ Became Gram’s BBQ

The Evolution of How Gram’s Mission BBQ Became Gram’s BBQ

Hey Riverside fam, gather ’round! We’ve got a tale to tell, and it’s one that’s as smoky and flavorful as our BBQ. Ever wondered why we’re called Gram’s BBQ now instead of Gram’s Mission BBQ? Well, sit tight, ’cause we’re about to spill the sauce! 🍖

The Dice Roll Heard ‘Round Riverside

Let’s take it back to 1987. Our founder, Robert Bratton, won this restaurant in a dice game. Yep, you heard that right—a dice game! Talk about a roll of fate, huh? Robert decided to serve up his family’s Southern recipes, the ones passed down from his Gram…ma. And so, Gram’s Mission BBQ was born, right across the street from the iconic Mission Inn in downtown Riverside.

The Mission Inn Makeover

Fast forward a bit, and the Mission Inn got itself a fancy new owner and a swanky refurbishment. But guess what? They weren’t too keen on having our smoker puffin’ away in front of their shiny new facade. So, they got the city to give us the ol’ heave-ho off Mission Inn Blvd.

A New Chapter on Main Street

But hey, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade—or in our case, a mean BBQ sauce. We moved on over to Main Street, right kitty-corner to the Riverside Convention Center. And you know what? We love it here!

Benita grams bbq

A Name with a New Flavor

Since we were no longer on Mission Inn Blvd, and because we wanted to put the spotlight on the Bratton Family Recipes, we decided it was time for a little name trim. So, Gram’s Mission BBQ got a fresh cut and became the Gram’s BBQ you know and love today.

The Legacy Lives On

The name may have changed, but the soul of this place? That’s eternal. It’s in every rib, every chicken wing, and every bowl of collard greens we serve. It’s in the smiles of our staff and the satisfaction of our customers.


What’s Cookin’ Next?

So what’s next for Gram’s BBQ? Well, let’s just say we’ve got some smokin’ plans that’ll make your taste buds do a happy dance. Stay tuned!

pork rib tip dinner

Gram’s BBQ: Where Southern Tradition Meets Riverside Innovation

Gram’s BBQ: Where Southern Tradition Meets Riverside Innovation

Hey y’all! Welcome to Gram’s BBQ in Riverside, CA, where we’ve been servin’ up finger-lickin’ good Southern Style BBQ with our unique twist since we first fired up the smoker. We pride ourselves on understanding the full depth and breadth of Southern Style BBQ, and we’re here to share our passion for this delicious, smoky goodness with you. So sit back, relax, and let us walk you through our take on the world of melt-in-your-mouth BBQ!

The Heart and Soul of Gram’s BBQ

A Brief History

Southern Style BBQ has a rich history, dating back to Native American cooking techniques and the influence of African, European, and Caribbean cuisines. This unique style of BBQ has evolved into a beloved culinary tradition in the Southern United States, and we’re proud to bring that tradition to Riverside, CA, with our own innovative spin.

Regional Inspirations

At Gram’s BBQ, we appreciate the distinct regional variations of Southern Style BBQ and draw inspiration from each area to create our signature dishes. From the tangy sauces of North Carolina to the smoky dry rubs of Memphis, we’ve got something for every BBQ lover.

The Meats

We know that great Southern Style BBQ starts with top-quality meats, and that’s why we source only the finest cuts for our menu. From succulent pork ribs to melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket, we slow smoke our meats to perfection using our secret blend of hardwoods and fruitwoods for that authentic smoky flavor.

The Art of Smoking and Grilling at Gram’s BBQ

Our Smoking Process

At Gram’s BBQ, we’re all about low and slow—that’s the name of the game when it comes to our Southern Style BBQ. Our expert pitmasters carefully maintain a consistent temperature in our custom smokers, ensuring that our meats are cooked to perfection with that deep, smoky flavor that keeps our customers coming back for more.

Our Grilling Techniques

Grilling also plays a role in our innovative spin on Southern Style BBQ. Our chefs know when to use direct heat for a quick sear and when to utilize indirect heat for slower, even cooking. The result is an unforgettable combination of textures and flavors that’ll have you hankerin’ for more.

Slather It On: Gram’s BBQ Signature Sauces

Gram's Mild BBQ Sauce

No Southern Style BBQ experience would be complete without talkin’ about sauces! At Gram’s BBQ, we’ve taken inspiration from the classics and put our own twist on them to create our line of signature sauces:

Gram’s Mild BBQ Sauce: A sweet, smoky tomato-based sauce with a kick, this is our homage to Memphis-style BBQ—ideal for our ribs and pulled pork.

Gram’s Spicy BBQ Sauce: A kicked-up version of our Mild sauce, inspired by Memphis-style flavors and infused with a fiery heat that’ll have your taste buds dancin’!

Side Dishes: The Unsung Heroes at Gram’s BBQ


What’s a BBQ feast without a slew of scrumptious sides? At Gram’s BBQ, we’ve got you covered with our spin on classic Southern Style BBQ accompaniments:

Gram’s Baked Beans: Our sweet, tangy, and smoky baked beans are made from scratch and simmered to perfection for a taste you won’t forget.

Riverside Mac and Cheese: Creamy, cheesy goodness with a hint of smoky flavor, our mac and cheese is the perfect pairing for our smoked meats.

Crunchy Coleslaw: We’ve put a fresh twist on this tangy, crunchy side, using a secret blend of spices that provides a refreshing contrast to our rich BBQ dishes.

Gram’s Cornbread: Our Southern-inspired cornbread is the ultimate BBQ sidekick—moist and crumbly, with just the right amount of sweetness.

California Potato Salad: We’ve infused this classic side with a touch of West Coast flair, creating a creamy, tangy, and satisfying potato salad that’s perfect for any BBQ feast.

FAQs About Gram’s BBQ

Q: How do you ensure your meats are cooked to perfection?

A: At Gram’s BBQ, our expert pitmasters carefully monitor the temperature and cooking process, using quality thermometers to ensure that our meats are cooked to a safe internal temperature while remaining tender and juicy.

Q: Do you offer vegetarian or vegan options?

A: Absolutely! We understand that not everyone’s a meat-lover, so we offer a variety of delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes, including our mouthwatering Veggie BBQ Sandwich.

Q: Do you offer catering services?

A: You bet! We’d love to bring the taste of Gram’s BBQ to your next event. Just give us a call or visit our website to learn more about our catering options.

Q: Are there any gluten-free options on your menu?

A: Yes! We have several gluten-free options available, including our delicious pulled pork, smoked chicken, and many of our side dishes. Just let your server know about your dietary needs, and we’ll be happy to accommodate you.


At Gram’s BBQ in Riverside, CA, we’re passionate about Southern Style BBQ and excited to share our love for this classic American comfort food with you. From our authentic, smoky flavors to our innovative twists on traditional dishes, we strive to create an unforgettable dining experience that’ll have you coming back for more.

So, the next time you’re craving some finger-lickin’ good BBQ, come on down to Gram’s BBQ and let us show you how Southern tradition meets Riverside innovation. We can’t wait to serve you up a heaping plate of deliciousness. See y’all soon!

The Legacy of Gram’s BBQ: A Taste of Southern Love in Riverside

The Legacy of Gram’s BBQ: A Taste of Southern Love in Riverside

Hey there, BBQ lovers! Today, we’re taking you on a finger-lickin’ journey to the heart of Riverside, where the irresistible aroma of smoked meats has been wafting through the streets for over three decades. We’re talking about none other than Gram’s BBQ, the embodiment of Southern love in our beloved city.

Josie Bratton Rewinding back to 1987, my father Robert Bratton embarked on an adventure to bring the flavors of his childhood to Riverside. Inspired by his mother, Josie “Gram” Bratton, and his Southern roots, he opened Gram’s Mission BBQ right across from the iconic Mission Inn Hotel.

The Bratton family’s story began in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where Gram and Pete Bratton, along with their seven kids, lived the hard knock life. In 1956, they migrated to Riverside, searching for a brighter future. Little did they know, the spark of their Southern spirit would eventually ignite an authentic BBQ haven in the heart of California.

Fast forward to the launch of Gram’s BBQ, and Robert was on a mission to honor his mother and his family’s culinary legacy. Pouring his love and passion into every aspect of the restaurant, he crafted an award-winning BBQ sauce that brought together the essence of family recipes, a commitment to daily freshness, and a dash of Southern flair.

The result? A mouthwatering BBQ experience that Riverside just can’t get enough of! From the tender, smoked brisket to the juicy, fall-off-the-bone ribs, Gram’s BBQ has been a cherished local gem for generations. And let’s not forget the scrumptious sides – creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, tangy coleslaw, and fluffy cornbread, all made with Gram’s original recipes and a whole lotta love.

But it’s not just about the food at Gram’s BBQ. It’s about the connection, the memories, and the shared experiences that make every visit feel like coming home. The walls of the restaurant are adorned with family photos and memorabilia, a testament to the rich history and deep-rooted love that inspired this Riverside institution.

So, next time you’re craving some finger-lickin’ good BBQ, remember that at Gram’s, you’re not just indulging in a meal – you’re savoring a piece of Southern history, right here in our hometown. And trust us, with every bite, you’ll taste the love, dedication, and passion that has made Gram’s BBQ a Riverside staple for over 30 years.

Now, grab some napkins, gather your loved ones, and let’s dig into some good ol’ Gram’s BBQ. See y’all here!