This ain’t the South, but carnivores in San Diego have searing, opinionated views of mouthwatering, grilled meats nonetheless. Dig into this list of local BBQ joints slathering on the savory sauce and specializing in hearty eats – just in time for barbecue season.
When Pigs Fly BBQ (Vista)
In a brilliant move for tickets to the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in 2006, When Pigs Fly BBQ was born. Check out the eatery’s website for the full story, but that plan was a win – a win covered in sauce, tri-tip, pulled pork and brisket! What followed was years in the catering biz and then last year, the owners found an unlikely home for their restaurant. It’s now a hidden gem inside a Chevron gas station in Vista where you can stop in and fill up on delicious barbecue.
Brett’s BBQ (Encinitas)
“If it’s not smoked, it’s not Barbeque.” That’s this restaurant’s story and it’s sticking to it! Brett’s BBQ follows the purest rules and uses house-made sauce in dishes with virtually everything on the menu made onsite. You’ll find generous portions of beef ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken and more – plus sides like baked potatoes, salads coleslaw, baked beans, mac and cheese and onion rings.
Ranchwood BBQ (La Mesa)
This restaurant plus successful catering business offers up a BBQ feast of a menu. From tri-tip sandwiches and “Red Neck Nachos” drenched in sauce and chipotle sour cream, to traditional options like brisket and pulled pork, there’s something for you and your whole family. Sides like Root Beer Baked Beans and potato salad will round out your meal. If you’re a fan of a good mish-mash, ask about a little something dubbed the “BBQ Parfait,” a cup loaded with mashed potatoes, BBQ sauce, your choice of meat and even coleslaw, if you so choose.
Cali Comfort BBQ (Spring Valley)
The owners here are dedicated to creating their craft with low n’ slow barbecue rules. Results include award-winning smoked ribs and a “Wicked” peach cobbler served with vanilla ice cream, not to mention a long list of side dishes and meat options that will have your mouth watering. We suggest the BBQ combo plate for a little taste of everything; it includes your choice of two different “competition-ready” meats, side options and cheesy jalapeno cornbread.
Felix’s BBQ With Soul (Oceanside)
Live music and a hefty dose of Southern hospitality make this saucy stop in the North County an absolute must. The menu includes select Memphis-style pulled pork and chicken sandwiches, St. Louis-style ribs with collard greens or The Grand Feast of baby back ribs and smoked brisket, plus fried chicken and catfish with a spread of candied yams, collard greens, mac and cheese, black eyed peas, salad, cornbread muffins and of course, sweet potato pie.
Bubba’s Smokehouse BBQ (La Jolla)
Craving Southern-style fall-off-the-bone ribs? This is the place. You can order from a plethora of meats, a la carte, or grab a platter with corn bread, a side of your choice and hearty options like ribs, pulled pork and barbequed chicken. We love the deep-fried pickle chips to start and you won’t want to miss out on the smoked sausages with peppers and onions. This joint event sells family packs for up to eight people to make everyone happy.
Trish Sanderson is the community manager and marketing director for Yelp North County San Diego. She leads the local community of Yelp reviewers both online and off.