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Real BBQ-San Diego

I know there have been some posts on this in the past, but most of the places people were recommending seem to be closed now...I am new to SD and looking for some BBQ that is really smoked (I hear Phil's parboils and only grills the meat for a few minutes to finish it) Does anyone have any recommendations for BBQ that is really smoked? Also, if they have a selection of bourbon that is the quintessential drink for BBQ (in my opinion) Thanks everyone!

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  1. West Coast BBQ in La Mesa smokes and there is a discernible smoke ring on their product. No bourbon there.

    1. Don't get your expectations up to high in SD, you're in the wrong neck of the woods!Agree with DD on WCBBQ is OK. You should begin to acquire a taste for tacos.

      1. Brett's Bbq smokes their meat. Their original location is in 4S Ranch, which I believe is somewhere near Rancho Bernardo. A 2nd location just opened a few days ago in Encinitas. As I live nearby, I gave it a try for lunch.

        I ordered the beef brisket sandwich with a side order of sweet potato fries (one side order is included with the sandwich). I found the brisket to be pretty good, with a definite smoke flavor.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Encinitan

          Hey, good to know, Encinitan! We were thinking about giving Brett's a try tonight. I'll report back.

        2. I know my expectations are not too high, and I do love mexican too...I just can't deny my love for bbq...thanks for the recommendations guys! Keep em coming!

          1. We like Abby's Texas BBQ on Miramar Rd. Real smoked meat, even hot links although the sides are kind of a waste.

            2 Replies
            1. re: foodiechick

              There's also an Abby's (abbeys?) on Clairemont Mesa... are these the same but at multiple locations?

              I found the CM one to be pretty good... never tried the mirimar one.

              1. re: h0mi

                The Clairemont Mesa location is the same owner as the one in Miramar, but all the meat is prepped at Miramar and delivered to the other locations.

            2. Try Croom's Catering and Barbecue on H Street near Broadway in Chula vista. Big guy out front smoking meat in a huge barrel drum smoker. It's a hole, service is hit or miss...but he's got tri tip, ribs, chicken, homemade sides like mac and cheese, collard greens, etc. SD is lacking in decent BBQ no doubt...but this one is worth a try.

              4 Replies
                1. re: DBrooks

                  Crooms is not even BBQ. It is grilled and not very good at all. A joke imho.

                  BBQ is slow smoking and Crooms is definitely not BBQ.

                  There are no good BBQ places at all in San Diego.

                  Make your own if you can.

                  Traeger bbqs are good and easy to use.

                  Weber Smoky Mountains are inexpensive and have won more bbq contests than any other portable smoker.

                  1. re: buddha

                    Seconded on Croom's. That place is very, very average. Phil's is better.

                2. One place that's been an established BBQ restaurant for over 40 years is the Barbecue Pit on Fletcher Parkway in El Cajon, East County San Diego.
                  Also The Wrangler in El Cajon. they've been in business for a very long time also.
                  To the best of my knowledge they both really smoke their meats. I've been both places and like them both. No bourbon in either place, sorry :-(

                  Here's a review I found in Yelp

                  Also there is Wrangler in El Cajon, http://www.wranglerfamilybarbecue.com/
                  Here's a review I found on Yahoo.

                  Hope that helps a little


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: starkoch

                    Hi Koko - living nearby we've tried these places, and they appear to serve identical food. We like the meats, but the sauce is terrible - I guess we could add our own. They also seem to run out of ribs quite often.

                    Down in Casa de Oro, near Ranas is a little hole in the wall called Mama Chris'. The food is good, but the place is pretty sketchy. The time I went he had only pork ribs, greens and cornbread - he gave me small servings of the greens and cornbread b/c he was running out - but what we had was really good. The meat was perfect. He smokes the meat but then heats everything up in the microwave - I told him not to bother, and heated it up in the oven at home. If you did a special order or gave him advance notice I think he'd put together something good.

                    We need to try West Coast BBQ.

                    1. re: Alice Q

                      Thanks Alice Q. I don't use the BBQ sauces, they're always too sweet for me.
                      Thanks for the info on Mama Chris we'll go check that out soon. I don't think I've heard of Rana's either, looks like I'll be busy eating out.

                      I think trying out West Coast BBQ sounds like a good plan also.


                  2. Don't like Brett's BBQ

                    1. Ranchwood Barbecue and Catering really smokes the meat, and they use natural meats (no hormones/ antibiotics, beef was grass fed last time, but I'm not sure they always use grass fed beef). Sides are mediocre. I catch them at the North Park and Adams Avenue Farmers' Markets, their shop is in East County, don't remember where. They serve sandwiches and plates or smoked meat by the pound to go. Worth checking out IMO. Brisket and pulled pork only at the markets.