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San Diego Barbecue

I was once the guest to two writers for the Voice and View Point who took me to Fargo's in Southeast San Diego. Urban legend had it that the restaurant, on Imperial Avenue, was once the site of a gas station. Is Fargo's still around? I recall the ribs and chicken were sensational.


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  1. You might want to try Huffmans, they are located in the same area. They are a take out place, with a few tables. Word to the rise, figure out what you want before you get to the register, there coudl be a line and people, and the staff are not that chatty.

    3 Replies
    1. re: normalheightsfoodie

      Hey normalheightsfoodie--I was just driving down Adams in your 'hood an saw a sign for Be Back Barbecue near The Olde Sod. Know anything about that place?

        1. re: nessy

          I have not tried it yet, But as soon as I do, I will let you all know.

      1. San Diego BBQ is an incredible disappointment. Phil's gets most of the love from people, but I'm not impressed; Kansas City BBQ is awful; and Baby Back Jack's in Hillcrest is mediocre. I think the best I've had in SD was from Bekker's, but that was catered for a party-- and catering is all they do.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Maxmdwinter

          Actually, the original owners of Bekker's are back in business. The new place is called West Coast BBQ. It's on Lake Murray Blvd. at El Paso in the Ross Dress for Less shopping center. Their meat has a visible smoke ring, it's pretty decent and they're usually only open for dinner so the meat can cook all day. You can do sit-down or take-out. Some of their sides are excellent, so not so much. Stay away from the cobbler for dessert. I think it's better than Phil's.

          There is no relationship between Bekker's and West Coast BBQ other than the same family started both ventures. They sold Bekker's and then took a 5 year hiatus until they opened West Coast about a year ago.

          The BBQ Pit on Fletcher Parkway in Fletcher Hills (of all places) does a pretty respectable BBQ, though I think West Coast is better.

          1. re: Maxmdwinter

            Max, when did you try Bekker's Catering? Would it happen to be within the last 6 years (during the switch of ownership DiningDiva mentions)?

            1. re: geekyfoodie

              Geekyfoodie: My Bekker's experience was quite a while ago--at least 5 years, maybe longer. I just remember it as the only truly good BBQ I've enjoyed in SD. It was at a cookout my ex-boss had. She lived in La Mesa and I think Bekker's was located nearby. Since then, I've mostly done my own grilling at home.

              1. re: Maxmdwinter

                Thanks for this post. I hired Bekkers almost ten years ago for a company function, and couldn't remember their name until just now.

                I recall their food ten years ago being really good. Glad to hear they have a a restaurant now. Might have to check it out next time I'm in that part of the world.

          2. It sure sounds like a description of Huffman's. It's our favorite spot for bbq. Located on Imperial, just wast of Euclid. Also love their fried chicken.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mimosa

              Huiffman's is good if you prefer lightly smoked meats. If you prefer heavier smoking, then you might want to give Barnes in Lemon Grove a try. Barnes uses Oak lump charcoal, so it is a very heavy smoke flavor, not for everyone. Huffman's BBQ sauce is my favorite of the BBQ places I've tried. And their baked beans, with bits of BBQ pork, are about the best I've tried also.

            2. Looks like Fargo is still around, they show up in the Yellow Pages at:
              7909 Jamacha Rd San Diego CA 92114

              I only went there once, maybe ten years ago, and thought their BBQ was OK, but not worth the drive. IIRC, their ribs are served wet, and I wasn't that crazy about their BBQ sauce.

              1. There is also Joey's Smokin BBQ, they have few locations around San Diego.

                I like their pulled pork and chicken.

                1. how about Barnes in Lemon Grove?

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: ibstatguy

                    As I mentioned above, Barnes is good. They use Oak Lump Charcoal, which imparts a very heavy smokey taste. I don't really care for Barnes BBQ sauce at all, it's sweet, thin and very mild, with not enough vinegar or spice for my tastes (though I can believe it may be fairly authentic for "Memphis style" BBQ). I didn't think their sides were that good. They do have a lot of "southern" items (e.g. okra, etc.) but I didn't try them.

                    Personally, I go to Abbey's Real Texas BBQ and get their brisket sandwich about once a week. But, it is Texas BBQ, which is dry smoked, and you have to like Texas style BBQ sauce (with its heavy vinegar and black pepper base). Brisket is their best item.

                    1. re: mikec

                      Funny, I like Abbey's meat a lot, but I think their sauce is lame. I also don't think of it as Texas-style sauce at all (in fact, I really wonder what the sauce is supposed to be). All the BBQ I've had in Texas employes a very sweet, heavy sauce, with lots of ketchup and brown sugar flavors, and sometimes some spiciness, depending on where you go.

                      I actually used to buy Abbey's meat, take it home, and use Rudy's sauce from the bottles I brought home with me from Texas.

                      1. re: Josh

                        I'm from Dallas and spent time in Austin. In terms of the smoke factor, mikec is spot on. This is as authentic as it gets without smoking it myself, which the neighbors don't appreciate so much. But agree with you Josh, the sauce is too vinegar based - more like a Carolina type sauce. And the sides....meh. If you really like an authentic Texas smoked meat type of BBQ this is a great way to go for takeout as Josh suggests, even some varieties of store-bought sauce would serve better to attain the integrated personality and flavor of that region's specialty.

                        1. re: Josh

                          I've been to about a half dozen hole-in-the-walls in Texas, and the sauce at Abbey's is pretty much spot on compared to those.

                          1. re: mikec

                            Most of my fondest bbq memories in TX feature the smoky, sweet sauce that Josh refers to. That is certainly what my family made through the years. But, as in all locales, every area has its favorites. Everyone I know has always sung the praises of The Salt Lick BBQ outside of Austin, and although I appreciated the smokiness of their meats, the vinegar based sauce was always off putting to my taste buds. Just my experience and ho.

                            1. re: foodiechick

                              And, to clarify a bit, most of my experiences with BBQ in Texas are mostly out of the way, unheralded places (to the best of my knowledge) in the West/Panhandle and some in the Hill Country (but not Austin or San Antonio). Mostly picked at random by looking for the place with the most pickup trucks in front... ;-) It may be a West Texas versus East Texas or an urban/rural difference. Or, it may just be place to place variance.

                              Abbey's may not be the "average" of those places in terms of vinegar based sauce, but it's certainly within the range. None served what I'd consider a thick sauce.

                              1. re: foodiechick

                                I went to the hill country last May, and I fell in love with real Texas bbq. I hit Kruez's and Black's. I never saw a thin vinegar sauce, it was more of thick sauce. Even the crummy bbq we had at the meeting reception was actually pretty darn good compared to SD offerings. I am waiting to see what Brett's bbq is like when it open up in the old Pat and Oscars location in Encinitas, I think they have one open already in RB?

                                1. re: littlestevie

                                  My experiences with San Diego BBQ have been pretty dismal over the years. After seeing some BBQ teams competing at Memphis in May with Traeger pits I decided to buy one. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. Now there is great BBQ in San Diego and its at my house. Long live the smoke ring :)

                                  1. re: Captain Jack

                                    Just remember that SA is just a 2 hour direct flight from SD on Southwest, and less than 1 more hour of drive time, you are deep in the Texas BBQ trail country.

                                  2. re: littlestevie

                                    Brett's (in 4S Ranch) is good, a bit better than Phil's or Joey's. It's a squeaky-clean suburban type of place. Sandwiches are good and reasonable($8), ribs or plates get fairly expensive ($13-$20).

                                    1. re: mikec

                                      My only complaint about Brett's is they only give you like 4 hushpuppies as a side. Kinda skimpy I thought.