Good BBQ food in OC near Irvine?
Irvine and BBQ aren't two words that go together. Irvine is the antithesis of BBQ. I grew up in OC and used to eat at Burrell's all the time. I heard it wasn't as good these days. Maybe somebody can give me an update. But in the day, it was very good and probably the best in OC. But (I think his name was Fred) they expanded and opened up a couple of other restaurants that went out of business. The funny thing is the restaurant is in the middle of a residential neighborhood and you eat in the front yard.
Tulsa Rib Company is pretty 'gringo'. Lucille's really isn't very good but they give you a lot of food. My family likes it, but they LOVE the Claim Jumper. I love the concept of NY's Best Ribs. That's like saying Texas' Best Pizza. I remember somebody taking me to BBQ in NY and it was terrible. Same with Mexican. Nobody will ever convince me there is good mexican in NY. Chicago, maybe. Not NYC.
There is a lot of great ethnic food in OC these days, but I can't think of any BBQ joints that are very exciting. Drive to Anaheim and have some Korean BBQ. I've heard there are some pretty good Korean places in OC.
I agree with recommendations for Lucille's, Tulsa, Burrell's and Blake's, all of them are great BBQ's. I would also add Johnny Reb's in Orange, good BBQ there. In Irvine, near the airport, there is a Clayton Shirley BBQ. Try to avoid it if you can. Not really much to write about that place.
I am also a big fan of Tulsa, but they boil, I believe.
This might turn off a purist!
For one of OC's more unique, authentic BBQ joints, check out Burrell's in Santa Ana.
Besides many different meats, they do some pretty good sides.
I really like their greens.
Although there are a couple picnic tables outside, often shared with ants, it should probably be considered as a takeout.
305 N. Hesperian St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703
re: Curt the Soi Hound
I'm 90% sure that Tulsa Rib Company doesn't boil, but I believe they do bake their ribs before they hit the grill.
Yes, if they aren't smoked, then technically it's not true BBQ, but purists be darned, Tulsa Rib Company has the best babyt rack ribs I've had in 22 years of living in SoCal.
I need a return visit to Burrell's...it's been a few years, but I as never all that impressed. Good, not great. Hopefully a return visit proves otherwise.
While by "best BBQ food" most Californians mean ribs, I've been influenced by my South Carolinian husband to whom BBQ means pulled pork. Frankly, and this might surprise some, the best we've found in OC is Lucille's in Brea, tho we take our own sauce.
I like Tulsa Rib Co. Incidentally, they are very good for catering. Most people really enjoy them for that.
And try out Blake's in Anaheim. They're a bit uneven, but generally good.
Doesn't get mentioned much by others, but I really enjoy the BBQ beef ribs at Ribs on the Run in Laguna Hills. I consider Tulsa Rib to be the best BBQ in OC, but I think Ribs on the Run is just a hair behind.
There is a Claim Jumper on Alton Pkwy in Irvine, which is probably the closest to you. It's a decent chain with several locations in LA & OC, but slightly pricey for BBQ.