HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >

"America’s 20 Best Barbecue Cities"

Gypsy Jan May 24, 2014 02:28 PM

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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. e
    Enigma3 RE: Gypsy Jan May 24, 2014 02:47 PM


    1 Reply
    1. re: Enigma3
      Gypsy Jan RE: Enigma3 May 24, 2014 03:40 PM

      Here is the link: http://www.travelandleisure.com/artic...

    2. iL Divo RE: Gypsy Jan May 24, 2014 02:48 PM

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

      1. j
        James Cristinian RE: Gypsy Jan May 24, 2014 04:27 PM

        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
          Gypsy Jan RE: James Cristinian May 24, 2014 05:06 PM

          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
            James Cristinian RE: Gypsy Jan May 24, 2014 05:16 PM

            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. r
          RB Hound RE: Gypsy Jan May 24, 2014 04:44 PM

          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. c
            ChrisG RE: Gypsy Jan May 26, 2014 03:37 PM

            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. p
              psychotron RE: Gypsy Jan May 26, 2014 05:15 PM

              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. carolinadawg RE: Gypsy Jan May 26, 2014 05:19 PM

                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
                  RB Hound RE: carolinadawg May 26, 2014 07:40 PM

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

                2. foodiechick RE: Gypsy Jan May 26, 2014 09:35 PM

                  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
                    RB Hound RE: foodiechick May 26, 2014 10:35 PM

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

                    1. re: foodiechick
                      DoctorChow RE: foodiechick May 26, 2014 10:52 PM

                      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
                        Stiflers_Mom RE: DoctorChow May 27, 2014 06:28 AM

                        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
                        Fake Name RE: foodiechick May 27, 2014 07:32 AM

                        You mean brisket like this??

                        < email dispatched >

                        1. re: Fake Name
                          Beach Chick RE: Fake Name May 27, 2014 07:51 AM

                          Did you drop that brisket in cranberry sauce?
                          ; )

                          1. re: Beach Chick
                            Fake Name RE: Beach Chick May 27, 2014 08:35 AM

                            It's all done in post.

                          2. re: Fake Name
                            cstr RE: Fake Name May 27, 2014 08:38 AM

                            Dang, that's making me hungry!

                            1. re: cstr
                              Fake Name RE: cstr May 27, 2014 08:39 AM

                              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
                                cstr RE: Fake Name May 27, 2014 08:44 AM

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

                                1. re: cstr
                                  Beach Chick RE: cstr May 27, 2014 08:52 AM

                                  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
                                    Fake Name RE: cstr May 27, 2014 09:12 AM

                                    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
                                deckape RE: Fake Name May 27, 2014 10:40 AM

                                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
                                  James Cristinian RE: deckape May 27, 2014 11:12 AM

                                  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. c
                              cstr RE: Gypsy Jan May 27, 2014 04:25 AM

                              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. Steve Green RE: Gypsy Jan May 27, 2014 08:05 AM

                                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
                                  Beach Chick RE: Steve Green May 27, 2014 08:08 AM

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

                                2. j
                                  James Cristinian RE: Gypsy Jan May 27, 2014 09:21 AM

                                  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. foodiechick RE: Gypsy Jan May 27, 2014 09:24 PM

                                    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
                                      Beach Chick RE: foodiechick May 29, 2014 10:18 AM

                                      'unfortunately it comes from a private purveyor'

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

                                      1. re: Beach Chick
                                        Fake Name RE: Beach Chick May 29, 2014 01:39 PM


                                        1. re: Fake Name
                                          deckape RE: Fake Name May 29, 2014 02:02 PM

                                          Well, there is the avatar...

                                          1. re: deckape
                                            Fake Name RE: deckape May 29, 2014 02:06 PM

                                            I have two, but keep one in reserve.

                                            1. re: Fake Name
                                              The Office Goat RE: Fake Name May 29, 2014 04:19 PM

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

                                              1. re: The Office Goat
                                                Beach Chick RE: The Office Goat May 29, 2014 05:24 PM

                                                Ha ha ha. . good one birria!

                                                1. re: Beach Chick
                                                  The Office Goat RE: Beach Chick May 30, 2014 09:48 PM

                                                  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
                                                    Fake Name RE: The Office Goat May 31, 2014 06:19 AM

                                                    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
                                                      The Office Goat RE: Fake Name May 31, 2014 10:11 AM

                                                      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
                                                        The Office Goat RE: The Office Goat May 31, 2014 02:40 PM

                                                        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: The Office Goat
                                                          Fake Name RE: The Office Goat May 31, 2014 03:17 PM

                                                          Al least it will be grassfed jerky...

                                                          1. re: Fake Name
                                                            The Office Goat RE: Fake Name Jun 1, 2014 02:34 PM

                                                            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
                                                      cstr RE: The Office Goat May 31, 2014 06:35 AM

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

                                            2. re: Fake Name
                                              Beach Chick RE: Fake Name May 29, 2014 05:28 PM

                                              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. re: Beach Chick
                                                Fake Name RE: Beach Chick May 29, 2014 05:45 PM

                                                Unicorn brisket?


                                        2. jmtreg RE: Gypsy Jan May 28, 2014 09:42 PM

                                          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
                                            cstr RE: jmtreg May 29, 2014 03:25 AM

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

                                            1. re: cstr
                                              honkman RE: cstr May 29, 2014 05:00 PM

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

                                            2. re: jmtreg
                                              RB Hound RE: jmtreg May 29, 2014 07:40 AM

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

                                              1. re: RB Hound
                                                littlestevie RE: RB Hound May 29, 2014 09:23 AM

                                                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
                                                  JRSD RE: RB Hound May 29, 2014 09:43 AM

                                                  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
                                                  SaltyRaisins RE: jmtreg May 30, 2014 09:46 AM

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

                                                  1. re: SaltyRaisins
                                                    deckape RE: SaltyRaisins May 30, 2014 11:16 AM

                                                    Piacere Mio has closed.

                                                    1. re: deckape
                                                      SaltyRaisins RE: deckape May 30, 2014 12:02 PM

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

                                                      1. re: SaltyRaisins
                                                        honkman RE: SaltyRaisins May 30, 2014 02:27 PM

                                                        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
                                                          SaltyRaisins RE: honkman May 30, 2014 04:25 PM

                                                          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
                                                        Fake Name RE: deckape May 30, 2014 03:17 PM

                                                        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
                                                          deckape RE: Fake Name May 31, 2014 01:00 AM

                                                          Glad it was a bum lead. Mea Culpa.

                                                  2. m
                                                    mchametzky RE: Gypsy Jan May 30, 2014 12:42 PM

                                                    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
                                                      James Cristinian RE: mchametzky May 31, 2014 11:36 AM

                                                      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: James Cristinian
                                                        Tripeler RE: James Cristinian Jun 1, 2014 02:12 AM

                                                        Bad BBQ is often helped by sauce.

                                                        1. re: Tripeler
                                                          James Cristinian RE: Tripeler Jun 1, 2014 07:57 AM

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

                                                          1. re: James Cristinian
                                                            DoctorChow RE: James Cristinian Jun 1, 2014 11:46 AM

                                                            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
                                                              James Cristinian RE: DoctorChow Jun 1, 2014 01:12 PM

                                                              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
                                                            Fake Name RE: Tripeler Jun 1, 2014 02:38 PM

                                                            Good sauce is often hurt by bad BBQ.

                                                      Show Hidden Posts