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"America’s 20 Best Barbecue Cities"

According to a Travel and Leisure Magazine reader's poll (I think).

San Diego is seventeenth on the list and the only establishments they mention by name is Phil's and Kansas City BBQ.

The only ethnic business on the list is Kim's Korean in Providence, Rhode Island, of all places.

Los Angeles/Compton/Ktown is NOT MENTIONED at all.

Gaw, I am so depressed.

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    1. Raleigh Durham
      Kansas City
      had good BBQ in Alabama & Mississippi also

      1. Gypsy Jan, don't be depressed as I'm not so sure about the accuracy of this article. I live in Houston and two of the places mentioned, Goode Co. and Beaver's are widely panned, there is much better BBQ here. I tried Bryant's in KC and the burnt ends had the day old taste to them, and I can't get past the dry, thin slices of brisket coming from an electric slicer. Electric slicer?

        2 Replies
        1. re: James Cristinian

          I am in no way or manner a BBQ expert, but I am most definitely a BBQ hound.

          For years, after dropping off departing visitors at LAX, I would stop by Bludso's in Compton on the way home to pick up a heavenly to go assortment that would feed the family for days.

          Some twenty years ago, a very nice couple, clients of mine, told me about a great 'que place in Santa Ana where the guy had a smoker set up in his back yard and they said, "The food is so good - the sides are to die for (sweet potato pie, collard greens, etc.), but, my dear, it is a ghetto neighborhood - you shouldn't go there!"

          Guess what - I WENT THERE the next day and picked up ribs and brisket meals on a semi-monthly basis for several years.

          I even had him cater one of our Thanksgiving dinners - smoked turkey with cornbread stuffing and all the trimmings, including that sweet potato pie.

          After that, my family - those narrow-minded traditionalists, never let me do another Thanksgiving dinner.

          1. re: Gypsy Jan

            We go to an Hispanic place 45 minutes out in a suburb and even pass by Goode Co. mentioned in the article, less than ten minutes away. We do like you do, stock up and feed us for days on ribs, brisket the best, and sausage. It's a small place with pits in back, Hispanic wifeacita loves the 1 and 1/2 hour mini roadie.

        2. I think the real issue here might not to get food pointers from Travel & Leisure Magazine.

          If KC BBQ had not been in Top Gun, would it have ever survived? At least past the fire?

          1. First, must mention I am a KC native, but rarely go back
            (and eat lots of BBQ when I do). I am surprised to see San Diego on the list as a top BBQ town and really question the restaurants they identified. Phil's (which I like) is not a traditional barbecue joint as their meat is not smoked, as far as I know. And Kansas City Barbecue somehow continues to hang in there resting its bbq laurels on the "Kansas City" moniker and the old scene from Top Gun.

            1. Have to agree here as well. I live in Houston now as well and avoid Beavers (which has been progressively going downhill overall) and Goode Co. Plus, they mention Top Gun more than the actual food at Kansas City BBQ. This list seems suspect.

              1. Best bbq city in the US is Lexington, NC. Population is less than 20,000, has at least half a dozen excellent 'q joints, twice that many good ones.

                1 Reply
                1. re: carolinadawg

                  I am sure they defined "city" with some population lower limit. It's just a goofy list, with goofy criteria.

                2. I know we have all had this discussion before, so here we go again...I'm from Texas - Phil's is not real BBQ. Ask Fake Name, who does REAL BBQ very well.

                  <waiting for the email invitation for brisket samples>

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: foodiechick

                    I thought that was Buddah that did BBQ really well. Does Fakey as well? Cool.

                    1. re: foodiechick

                      Yeah, the BBQ discussion seems to be an unending story. Well...that's ok. BBQ is one of those chowdown foods that's hard not to enjoy -- and everyone has a passionate preference. As with pizza.

                      I've lived in Raleigh and love Carolina BBQ, but no one really makes anything close to real NC BBQ here. Which is fine. I still have friends in Winston that I visit from time to time, so every once in a while I get my fix.

                      But the way that Phil's makes their "BBQ" (without smoking --according to ChrisG -- which was actually news to me) may be why I don't especially care for it. It's ok, it's tasty, the lines are long, but it just doesn't quite make it for me, and perhaps that's because it turns out it isn't The Real Thing. It's kind of a fast-food BBQ factory, in my view. Except that it's not fast.

                      Very popular. Not the best. No surprise.

                      To me, the best BBQ to be had in the SD area is at Coops in Lemon Grove, hands down. After that, a somewhat removed second is LW's in Clairemont, even though the quality there is variable from one day to the next, it seems. I wish they'd work that out. I also used to like Abbey's a lot, but I've had a couple of dry, flat plates there in the past several months, so now I've stopped going. LW's is closer, anyway.

                      So in SD we have a couple of good BBQ places. Hardly an epicenter for T&L or anyone else to honk about.

                      Side note: I'll bet FN fired up that modified smoker of his for Memorial Day!

                      1. re: DoctorChow

                        Coop's has been back in our rotation lately. The Wednesday special is any meat for 9.99/lb (except ribs). The brisket at that price is just silly, IMHO.

                      2. re: foodiechick

                        You mean brisket like this??

                        < email dispatched >

                        1. re: Fake Name

                          Did you drop that brisket in cranberry sauce?
                          ; )

                            1. re: cstr

                              I usually suck at brisket, but I must say- it was The Best Brisket I've Ever Had.

                              12 hours on the smoke.

                              1. re: Fake Name

                                Just an FYI - Costco Business Center sells the 'whole' brisket which has a nice fat cap on it..

                                1. re: cstr

                                  Their meat prices at the Biz center are super cheap. .
                                  Not that I would know anything about that kind of stuff.
                                  Wish they had salmon, Ahi, and Northern Halibut..
                                  ; (

                                  1. re: cstr

                                    As does Iowa Meat Farms. Probably the same packer, but it might be cheaper- I'll check it out.

                                    But I trim it anyway.

                                    Fat does not really penetrate the meat as it cooks, (science!) but it will prevent meat from getting smoke flavor.

                              2. re: Fake Name

                                The brisket at Smitty's in Lockhart, Texas, just a few weeks ago. Better than Black's in our opinion. Lockhart has to be the BBQ capital with three world class joints within a few blocks of each other (inc. Kreutz Market).

                                1. re: deckape

                                  Less than 20 miles down the road is City Market in Luling, my personal favorite. That makes four top notch places within 20 miles, plus a couple of lesser places that are just a notch down. Not bad.

                            2. Appears, from the writing for SD, very weak and lacking real eating in SD experience. Great article if you need a liner for your bird cage. Maybe if they mentioned COOP's, it might have led me to believe they actually came to SD and trolled around.

                              1. Any mention of "Best" along with Kansas City BBQ, makes that article, IMO, not worth reading. And as noted, Phil's isn't even real BBQ, just grilled meat.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Steve Green

                                  Have you been to Oklahoma Joe's in KC, gas station location?
                                  Best BBQ evah..

                                2. BBQ porn, Texas style courtesy of Killeen's in Pearland just outside Houston. It opened last year and is already considered the best in the area by many.


                                  1. There is some BBQ porn to be had in SD county, unfortunately it comes from a private purveyor. Second to that I would go with Coop's.

                                    15 Replies
                                    1. re: foodiechick

                                      'unfortunately it comes from a private purveyor'

                                      Would that be the 'One Eyed Fakey BBQ' of Mission Hills?

                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                              Note to self:
                                              Get pirate eye patch and use dark-adapted eye for peering into the depths of the smoker.

                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                  And now I'm throwing a brisket in the smoker in a few. Never done one this small -- it's a wee grassfed thing from Homegrown. I just hope it doesn't dry out.

                                                  1. re: The Office Goat

                                                    I'll be very interested it that result. As much as I like grassfed beef, it may be too lean to survive a low-and-slow cook.

                                                    If you've not done it already, I'd wrap it early.

                                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                                      Yeah, it went in at 6:20 this morning (let's hear it for procrastination) and was at 159 when I had to take the kids to BJJ practice. When I get home in about an hour, I'll probably foil it for the remainder and let it hit 190 and then rest in foil.

                                                      1. re: The Office Goat

                                                        texas crutch update: foiled it at about noon (with a little hot water) with meat at 169, dropped temp dial a smidge, took daughter to guitar practice, got home and meat was at 192, added a little more water and another layer of foil, wrapped in towels and put it in a cooler to rest for a few hours.

                                                        Could be good, could be pulled brisket, could be jerky.

                                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                                            Turned out pretty good, after all. But it would been a disaster without the foil - the drip pan (which would have been sloshing with a bunch of ribs or a full-size brisket) only had a teeny bit of moisture and fat when I went to clean it this morning. Foiling and adding liquid to the foil kept it from turning into a triangular hockey puck. Flavor was good and the 4 of us only left a few slices for leftovers, but lesson learned and I'll stick to the cryovac'ed aurochs briskets from smart&final or similar-size cuts when the inclination for a long smoke in the Cookshack strikes.

                                                    2. re: The Office Goat

                                                      Treat it carefully so it doesn't dry out, bet the flavor will be outstanding.

                                            2. re: Fake Name

                                              One-Eyed Fakey. .would make for a good children's book...throw in a unicorn, a meat smoker and some lederhosen and I think you've got something.

                                        1. Um. . .what? I grew up in San Diego, I love San Diego, and I'm a huge, huge, homer, but San Diego truly lacks two things - a good deli and decent barbeque.

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: jmtreg

                                            I'd throw Italian in your lacks category as well.

                                            1. re: cstr

                                              Try Blue Ribbon Kitchen in Hillcrest - best by far in SD (and good late night menu with cocktails in addition)

                                            2. re: jmtreg

                                              Deli? Everybody tells me this DZ Akins place is great, and what about Milton's in Del Mar?

                                              1. re: RB Hound

                                                DZ's is probably the best of the lot, but the competition is not that great. To me, Milton's is just not worth it. We drive right past Milton's on the way to DZ's.

                                                1. re: RB Hound

                                                  I love DZ Akins but I can't call it a great deli. Think of it more as a diner with Jewish items on the menu than a deli in order to set your expectations properly.

                                                  The corned beef knish, corned beef hash and matzoh ball soup are good but I am not a fan of the latkes, whitefish salad or pastrami. The kasha is OK but I have not had better anywhere in SD for sure.

                                                2. re: jmtreg

                                                  Piacere Mio in North Park. All pasta housemade and the menu is wonderfully simple.

                                                    1. re: deckape

                                                      As of when? Ate a wonderful meal there Tuesday evening and not a whiff of imminent doom.

                                                      1. re: SaltyRaisins

                                                        You can read it on Yelp and their webpage is also not working any longer - if we are talking about the same cafe.

                                                        1. re: honkman

                                                          I'm talking about the place on Grape and 30th.

                                                          This thread is jumping the red herrink. Can a body from that hood just go take a look and report back? I'm not all that in to Yelp.

                                                      2. re: deckape

                                                        According to the Eater:

                                                        South Park Scribe filed an early report on the reopening of Piacere Mio on Fern Street.

                                                        The owners shuttered the cafe last fall to convert it into a full-fledged restaurant, teaming up with the proprietor of several other local Italian eateries.

                                                        ****** Piacere Mio relaunched over Memorial Day weekend with a menu that includes salads, pasta and fish and meat entrees; a daily specials menu listed on Facebook includes pan-seared Branzino and oven-roasted lamb.

                                                        The restaurant is open for dinner Sunday to Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m.

                                                        ****Gotta read alllllthe way to the end.

                                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                                          Glad it was a bum lead. Mea Culpa.

                                                  1. Re: Houston BBQ. I lived in Houston a long time ago, but we used to get barbeque at a place called Otto's, near Memorial Park:
                                                    I recall it as being very good. I also like Arthur Bryants (KC), the 1 time I went there, back in the'80's.

                                                    Does anyone know if either/both of these places are still worth visiting?

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: mchametzky

                                                      Otto's Houston has gone underground, literally. Two locations are in the downtown tunnel system, the Memorial location, a favorite of nearby resident President George HW Bush is gone. There is another half way to San Antonio in a Houston suburb, but I haven't been.


                                                      As for Bryant's, I was there two years ago and was not impressed. I can't get past the electric slicer, grey brisket, and day old tasting burnt ends. The sauce was good, but who needs sauce on BBQ?

                                                        1. re: Tripeler

                                                          Anytime someone talks about sides and sauce you know the BBQ is suspect.

                                                          1. re: James Cristinian

                                                            Oh, I don't know. I like the mac & cheese and the collard greens at Coops, and I do like to add some sauce (the spicy one). I don't think the BBQ at Coops is the least bit suspect -- best around, in fact.

                                                            1. re: DoctorChow

                                                              I should have said the "first" thing they talk about is sides and sauce. I'm also coming from a Texas perspective where sides are pedestrian at best. I don't even order them and eat meat only.

                                                          2. re: Tripeler

                                                            Good sauce is often hurt by bad BBQ.