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Great ribs, unexpected place - San Diego

I like ribs, I like BBQ. I've not found "real" BBQ (cooked low and slow on indirect heat using wood as the primary source) in San Diego except in my backyard. Until today.

Smoked over hickory and oak, then given a quick grill over mesquite. It's the real deal, smoke rings in the meat and the real smoke flavor.


SeaWorld. Yup, they do it right- I was happily shocked. I'd get the sauce on the side, they really don't need it. Rub is not as spicy as I prefer it, that hazard of trying to please millions of palates, but it's very, very good.

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  1. hahah that's pretty funny. Expensive ribs though, how much is admission to the park now?

    1 Reply
    1. re: MrKrispy

      true enough. Probably not worth a special trip. But if you have to go, at least there's chow!

    2. well shit, guess I'll have to get a new Sea World pass from Costco.

      Another random place question: Does the Randy Jones BBQ at the ballpark smoke their meat? I often see smoke coming out from behind Center Field and it looks like they might have a smoker back there.

        1. re: butterbutt

          Two places, the Shipwreck and another who's name I cannot remember.

        2. Try the BBQ brisket at the La Jolla Farmer's market on Sundays. I think they cook it using the method you describe...

          2 Replies
          1. re: LisaSD

            They do smoke it the "correct" way (although I think it is done prior to the market at their home operation) and it is GREAT. Available for pre-order and I think catering. Husband is not allowed to attend he LJ Farmers Market or he would eat all of their offerings!

            1. re: LisaSD

              Do you know if this vendor is at other farmers market? I also smoke my own meats low and slow, but sometimes I get a hankering for some brisket and don't have the inclination to cook that week

              EDIT:Damn just noticed this was from last year

            2. You're so right, foodiechick! Have you tried the Chile Rellenos made by Belinda at her stand? OMG, they are so good!

              1. Wow, who'd a thought of SW, maybe they'll have some other jewels. I got my season pass ready.

                1. How interesting - we were there today and got a full rack of ribs for lunch (I take it you got the ribs at Shipwreck Rapids, right?). I thought they had pretty good flavor, but our ribs were somewhat dry and tough. Still, much better than I expected.

                  I also had some jambalya, and that was pretty good as well. The fries were awful, and the grilled veggies were over-vinegared.

                  I do not think it is worth a special trip, much less park admission, to try those ribs. However, if you are already there, they aren't that bad, and probably better than most the options in the park.

                  1. I have found a great bbq place in north county. It's called Brett's Barbeque and they have two locations. Their bbq ribs are awesome. The prices are pretty comparable and their sandwiches are the best bbq I've had in a long time. What a great find.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chicagofoodgal

                      Brett's has gotten some mention in Chowhound over the past year (Encinitas and 4S Ranch, right?). Mostly, the comments have been positive, though I think a few of the true BBQ fanatics weren't impressed. :)

                      Sadly, I never got to try it before moving out of the RB area.

                      1. re: chicagofoodgal

                        I think this is very good as well. Have had the baby back and beef ribs as well as the pulled pork, brisket and pull pork sandwiches. While not comparable to the best of Texas, the food is very good, reasonably priced, and the service is very attentive. It's become a regular for us.

                      2. Thanks for the tip on SeaWorld. We went there yesterday with our visiting daughter’s family, and after the Shamu show, we headed straight to Calypso Bay Smokehouse. The smell of smoke was a good sign as we waited to order. We had a brisket plate, a large sparerib plate, a 1/2 chicken plate, and a fried chicken tenders plate. All plates were served with a half ear of corn, french fries (beans could be subbed for free), and a soft roll. The smoked meats were not dunked, covered, or bathed in sauce, but served plain like they should be. A sweet, unremarkable sauce was available on the condiment/utensil table. All the smoked meats had a discernible smoky flavor, but the best was the brisket. This wasn’t Texas brisket, but it was very respectable --- moist with good flavor. The rib plate had a couple of ribs from the point, which were dry and tough. The other ribs, however, were pretty tasty. The corn was good and seemed fresh, and the soft roll was very good. The beans were okay, and the fries a little soggy. All in all, a satisfying lunch, especially at SeaWorld.

                        Wish there was a decent smokehouse operation in town outside SeaWorld.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: DaCoach

                          I gave Smokin' Joes a try several months ago and was pretty disappointed. We had brisket and pulled pork, bbq beans and coleslaw. The portions were really small and none of it stood out as something I'd go back for. I probably owe them another visit now that they may have some of the kinks worked out. I love bbq, but hate mediocre bbq.

                          1. re: camilles

                            It's a franchised chain whose recipe were developed the the son of a successful Italian chef/restaurant. Those factors don't add up to good, authentic BBQ IMHO.

                            1. re: foodiechick

                              You might be thinking of "Joey's Smokin BBQ" which is totally different than "Smokin' Joe's BBQ". Smokin' Joes is related to Smokin' Joe Jones, the BBQ sauce guy. There are 2 locations in SD right now doing walk-in business and catering. According the website, they'll be opening one up in Santee.

                              Like I said, my first impressions were not all that great, but I probably should give it another try.

                              1. re: camilles

                                Thanks, I stand corrected...that is exactly what I was thinking.

                          2. re: DaCoach

                            tried them and was not impressed. Beef was tough and underwhelming. Sides were ok but nothing special. For the $$, it wasn't worth it. I thought Phil's was better.

                            1. re: daantaat

                              Sea World has great BBQ?! Hum, if I ever to to Sea World again I would have to try it. I had bad experiences Brett's BBQ in 4S Ranch more then once, the food was so dried and lousy services. So I am not going there any more. I rather to got Joey's. If I am in the Poway area, I would try Smokin' Joe too. Phil's is good but way too far...

                              1. re: Liwen

                                The Smokin' Joe's in Poway is no longer a Smokin' Joe's. Still a bbq place and there's a sign up that says it's basically still the same, just a different name. I wonder what happened?

                          3. How is the steak tartare at seaworld?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: stevewag23

                              I have no idea, but I heard that the sashimi is really fresh.

                              1. re: littlestevie

                                littlestevie - thanks for that laugh!