California BBQ

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Merwinkle
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2005/05/10 07:14:51 (permalink)

California BBQ

Anybody know of any good barbecue out here? I'm in the SF Bay Area, and I'll drive 100 miles for a good restaurant. The ribs at MacArthur Park in Palo Alto are pretty decent, but most of the other local "barbecue" is awful, and I have yet to find any pork that is even edible.
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    mayor al
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 07:50:59 (permalink)
    I'm not sure it fits into your 100 mile circle...but we like the Central Texas BBQ in Castroville just north of the former Ft Ord on Monterey Bay. Although the community is noted for its Artichokes, the Central Texas BBQ has been for a long time and draws a lot of attention from folks driving Rt 1. Beef Brisket and Hot Links are the top of the list, but Pork Ribs and Pulled Pork (not chopped) are on the menu also. This is Texas BBQ not Georgia/Carolina, but it is far above the usual "City-Yuppie" grilled meat that serves as BBQ for many Californians.
    #2
    plb
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 12:17:35 (permalink)
    In the east bay I usually go to Back Forty Texas BBQ in Pleasant Hill. I like their pork ribs and their sauce. I don’t like them together. The ribs are good by themselves, and the sauce is good for dipping fries and cornbread. There is also a Back Forty further south around Dublin or so.

    Across the street from the Pleasant Hill site is Smokin Okie BBQ. Had a pretty good pulled pork sandwich there.

    Bo’s in Lafayette gets good reviews but I have not been there in years.
    #3
    BT
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 12:25:10 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Merwinkle

    I'm from Georgia, spent time in North Carolina and Texas, and I miss barbecue out here in California! Anybody know of any good barbecue out here? I'm in the SF Bay Area, and I'll drive 100 miles for a good restaurant. The ribs at MacArthur Park in Palo Alto are pretty decent, but most of the other local "barbecue" is awful, and I have yet to find any pork that is even edible.


    Can we assume you've tried and rejected the well-known spots in Oakland like Flint's and places in SF like Brother-In-Law's (on Divisadero) and Big Nate's (on Folsom)? I used to like Hog Heaven (on Stanyon in SF) years ago, but they closed and I tend to agree with that great southern-style BBQ may not exist in the Bay Area if, like me, "BBQ" for you means pulled pork. The local places tend to offer ribs, chicken, sausages, and brisket.
    #4
    BT
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 12:26:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by plb



    Across the street from the Pleasant Hill site is Smokin Okie BBQ. Had a pretty good pulled pork sandwich there.



    Oh yeah? Where exactly is this? Can I walk from the BART Station?
    #5
    BT
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 12:29:40 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

    "City-Yuppie" grilled meat that serves as BBQ for many Californians.


    In the African-American 'hoods you don't get "city-yuppie" but you usually don't get pulled pork either (you get ribs/brisket/chicken/sausage). PP is what I seek.
    #6
    mar52
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 13:51:54 (permalink)
    Since Stern's in Culver City closed there isn't any good BBQ in the Los Angeles area if you ever make it down this way. :(

    #7
    The Travelin Man
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 14:22:46 (permalink)
    I found surprisingly good BBQ at the San Jose Giants game last year when I went to visit that ballpark. We went for the game and stumbled into some fine eating, but we met some folks at the game who come to the ballpark just for the BBQ. In particular, the ribs were excellent. Also, unlike most ballpark food that is overrated and overpriced, this stuff was easy on the wallet, too.

    Steve
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    BigGlenn
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 15:16:14 (permalink)
    Chris-N-Pitts in LA are pretty good. Other than that, LA hasn't got BBQ worth eating. Just My Opinion though.....By the way since I moved to Victorville last October, there is nothing and I mean NOTHING! for BBQ up here! I have been cooking my own lately when I can.
    #9
    mayor al
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 15:59:26 (permalink)
    Glenn,
    Is the storefront operation where we had the first Roadfood meeting still around In Rancho Cuc? Their stuff wasn't too bad...but it was heavy on the sauce if I remember correctly.
    There is a LOVES BBQ in San Berdoo on 2nd St near the 215, and Dan the BBQ man on Valley Blvd at the intersection with Cedar and the 10(Bloomington). Dan's is ok for carry out. It is an old Foster Freeze Stand with the cookers out on the sidewalk and a couple of benches in the parking lot. Love's is a lot like Chris n Pitt's. If you get real desperate you can always do Tony Roma's !
    There was a small BBQ place right in front of the DMV on Victor Drive in VV, but I didn't think he would last too long based on the small portions of not too good Que. There also is/was a BBQ stand out on National Trails Highway (Old 66)between Oro Grande and Helendale. It looked like one of the old Biker Bar Desert Food Stops. Never tried it but some of my cronies from Hesperia say it is still around and doing ok. If you check it out let me know how it compares to the other choices.
    #10
    michaelgemmell
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 16:59:10 (permalink)
    Our Roadfood friend Ed Sails took us to a place in the City of Orange called "Johnny Reb's Southern Roadhouse," and we enjoyed the ribs. No, it isn't in the Bay Area or LA proper (or improper!), but sooner or later you'll be going to Disneyland, and it isn't far from Anaheim at all. I had to have fried chicken that night, and it was wonderful, but Ed gave me one of his ribs. There are 2-3 other LA Basin locations.

    Merwinkle, if the MacArthur Park in PA's ribs are like what's served at the MP in the City, you were very charitable to refer to them as "pretty decent." I hope you take a liking to California specialites. For example, you'll find the local sole called petrale (pronounced "peTROLley") to be a delight. Look forward to the next Dungeness Crab season. California simply isn't a BBQ state, but wait 'til you taste the summer fruit that we never ship outta state. I hope you had some of the Tom Wilson oranges that just finished their season.
    #11
    GeorgeVW
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 17:38:21 (permalink)
    Chris'n'Pitts closed almost two years ago. Pulled Pork in L.A. is virtually non-existent (Carolina style barbecue doesn't really exist here, as far as I can tell). There is one place in Venice (Baby Blue's) that a friend who's a food writer has recommended to me, but his description of the pulled pork sandwich sounded more like lightly smoked, then steamed pork than a shoulder that's been sitting in a pit for 18 hours. As for Piedmont style finishing sauces and slaw? Forget it. I'm forced to fire up my own pit a few times a year, have some friends over and do a half dozen shoulders or so if I want the real thing.
    #12
    Merwinkle
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 21:11:21 (permalink)
    Thanks for all your suggestions. My husband and I are marking all these places on our maps.

    MP ribs are pretty decent compared to something like Armadillo Willy's -- I cannot abide jalapeno peppers in BBQ sauce. But yes, one's standards adapt to what is available.

    Everyone is probably right that I should save my barbecue fix for when we visit home and be happy with California specialties, but it gets hard sometimes. The worst is the number of friends who've dragged me to "soul food" places, all of which turned out to be nothing more than yuppie bistros.
    #13
    DinoS
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 22:46:07 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

    ...but we like the Central Texas BBQ in Castroville just north of the former Ft Ord on Monterey Bay.


    I agree with Al. The Central Texas BBQ in Castroville is the best you'll find in this area.


    Dino
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    BT
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/10 22:54:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Merwinkle

    Thanks for all your suggestions. My husband and I are marking all these places on our maps.

    MP ribs are pretty decent compared to something like Armadillo Willy's -- I cannot abide jalapeno peppers in BBQ sauce. But yes, one's standards adapt to what is available.

    Everyone is probably right that I should save my barbecue fix for when we visit home and be happy with California specialties, but it gets hard sometimes. The worst is the number of friends who've dragged me to "soul food" places, all of which turned out to be nothing more than yuppie bistros.



    Well I guarantee you neither Flint's nor Brother In law's are "yuppie bistros". Years ago I worked in Oakland at the Naval Supply Center and had an African American secretary who used to go to Flints often for ribs at lunch time. She would bring them back to the office and we'd share them, but she wouldn't let me go with her because she deemed it unsafe. I thought then and still think she was exagerating but ?? Brother In Laws is a small, plain place reminiscent to me of places in New Orleans or elsewhere in older southern cities. Although it's in a mixed neighborhood that even includes a share of yuppies, the staff and many of the customers are African Americans from the nearby Fillmore neighborhood which has a good bit of public housing.

    Not to be too "blunt" about it, but to escape yuppiedom you may have to leave Palo Alto and, perhaps, even San Mateo County which makes a good case as the world capital of yuppiedom (the only competition may be to the north in Marin). But be assured that authenticity (if not pulled pork) does existed in the poorer hoods or the urban cores of Oakland, SF and possibly (I have no experience) San Jose.

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    BigGlenn
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/11 00:11:44 (permalink)
    Hey Mayor......

    Woodys in Rancho Cucamonga s still there. Just seems that they are pricey, at least for what you get. No fun without the Roadfood Gang either! LOL I will look for that place out on Old 66. Sounds Interesting? Let you know the outcome when I do. Thanks for the tips.

    Hey GeorgeVW.....

    Chris-N-Pitts are still around. There are a few locations left. I go to the one in the City Bellflower. It is just south of the 91 Freeway on Artesia Blvd east of Bellflower Blvd. North side of the street. Painted to look like an old log cabin.
    Good Stuff!

    Happy BBQ'n!
    Big Glenn
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    EdSails
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/11 14:56:12 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by GeorgeVW

    Chris'n'Pitts closed almost two years ago. Pulled Pork in L.A. is virtually non-existent (Carolina style barbecue doesn't really exist here, as far as I can tell). There is one place in Venice (Baby Blue's) that a friend who's a food writer has recommended to me, but his description of the pulled pork sandwich sounded more like lightly smoked, then steamed pork than a shoulder that's been sitting in a pit for 18 hours. As for Piedmont style finishing sauces and slaw? Forget it. I'm forced to fire up my own pit a few times a year, have some friends over and do a half dozen shoulders or so if I want the real thing.

    There's still a Chris and Pitts in Downey, at Lakewood Blvd. and Gallantin Road. Dropped by yesterday-----you can smell the wood fire before you see the parking lot!
    #17
    catosaurus
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/11 15:18:02 (permalink)
    1) Johnny Reb's isn't in Orange; there's one in Long Beach and one in Bellflower. They've got AWESOME cole slaw, collards, and biscuits. I think their ribs are so-so.

    2) I recently tried the ribs at Lucille's in Torrance (on Hawthorne Blvd.) and I thought they were fabulous.
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    EdSails
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/11 15:43:51 (permalink)
    Catosaurus,
    There's a 3rd Johnny Reb's location on Chapman in Orange. It's much larger than the original on Long Beach Bl. but the food is every bit as good.
    As far as Lucille's goes, I've been very pleased with their food too. Good fried green tomatoes and awesome pulled pork. I have one walking distance from me in Long Beach-------it's dangerous to l;ive that close to good food!
    Ed
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    michaelgemmell
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/11 15:44:47 (permalink)
    Here's the website for Johnny Rebs' (please note the spelling):

    http://johnnyrebs.com/

    and the address in Orange:

    2940 East Chapman
    Orange, CA
    Phone: (714) 633-3369

    Ed. please tell me if you're getting tired of me posting "...and Ed gave me one of his ribs!"
    #20
    EdSails
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/11 15:55:23 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by michaelgemmell

    Here's the website for Johnny Rebs' (please note the spelling):

    http://johnnyrebs.com/

    and the address in Orange:

    2940 East Chapman
    Orange, CA
    Phone: (714) 633-3369

    Ed. please tell me if you're getting tired of me posting "...and Ed gave me one of his ribs!"


    It's OK, Michael. This way everyone knows that you owe me a rib next time we have dinner together!
    #21
    sauceman
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/11 16:29:33 (permalink)
    I've never been anywhere near the place, but I've heard some barbecue folks I know praise Memphis Minnie's BBQ Joint, 576 Haight Street, in San Francisco. The owners attend most all of the Southern Foodways Alliance activities and are very knowledgeable about the art and science of barbecue.

    Fred Sauceman
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    EdSails
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/11 19:27:10 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by sauceman

    I've never been anywhere near the place, but I've heard some barbecue folks I know praise Memphis Minnie's BBQ Joint, 576 Haight Street, in San Francisco. The owners attend most all of the Southern Foodways Alliance activities and are very knowledgeable about the art and science of barbecue.

    Fred Sauceman


    True......they've been written up several times as having the right stuff. Haven't been there yet, but looking to try it.
    LA does have some good roadfood BBQ places-------nationally rated. Phillips Barbecue has been written up numerous times as one of the best in the country. I haven't tried it yet (their locations are not in the best section of town) but one day when I get brave, it is definitely on my list.

    http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/37/counter-gold.php
    #23
    BT
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/11 19:58:27 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by sauceman

    I've never been anywhere near the place, but I've heard some barbecue folks I know praise Memphis Minnie's BBQ Joint, 576 Haight Street, in San Francisco. The owners attend most all of the Southern Foodways Alliance activities and are very knowledgeable about the art and science of barbecue.

    Fred Sauceman


    I've got to admit that this is a stretch of Haight St. that I drive right through several times a week but rarely stop because it is chock-a-block with 18-24 year old "alternative" folk to whom I am increasingly having trouble relating. Not that I don't like 'em, it's just that a hood that caters to them most likely doesn't cater to me (soon to be 60). Still, this review of MM's, which I ripped from another site until somebody post here from first hand experience, is enough to get me to give it a try real soon:

    quote:
    "Since I decided that my yelp moniker would be "estranged southern belle", I thought it only appropriate to write my first review on a TRUE Southern BBQ joint. Hailing from Alabama (if you're ever there : Dreamland. You'll never have better ribs.), I'm highly suspect of BBQ places north of the Mason-Dixon line or West of the Mississippi...especially in San Francisco. That said... Memphis Minnie's is amazing. Its enitre menu is a refreshing taste of home for any Southerner. And it's an honest sample for anyone who isn't willing to travel 3000 miles for the original. The first time I wandered in (skeptically), I chatted with the owner. *Good sign of hospitality--and boding well for a good meal to come--he is always around the restaurant, checking to make sure his diners are satisfied. I highly recommend the "melt-in-your-mouth" pulled pork and the tangy cole slaw (vinegar-based, not mayo). And if you're not familiar with the 3 different kinds of sauce provided at the table : MIX 'EM! All 3 tastes go really well together and you can never have too much sauce! Go with banana pudding to finish off the meal. The cornbread does tend to be a little dry, but overall I love it, and drop in fairly regularly to remedy both hunger and homesickness."
    04/25


    See, it's that "melt in your mouth pulled pork" thing that'll grab my attention every time.
    #24
    michaelgemmell
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/11 20:07:17 (permalink)
    I have heard good things about Memphis Minnie's also, sauceman. My problem is once I find parking around there I'm irresistably drawn to the Indian Oven (Northern Indian) around the corner on the west side of Fillmore just south of Haight. Now, really, there's a lot of traffic in and out of that neighborhood, merwinkle, so parking spaces open up all the time. Give it a try and tell us what you think. The second time you're around there, check out that Indian Oven. Tandoori is, after all, Indian BBQ!
    #25
    plb
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/11 20:33:22 (permalink)
    Smokin Okie's B.B.Q. Joint is at 1941 Oak Park Blvd. in Pleasant Hill (cross street Putman). It is about 1/4-1/2 mile north and about 3/4-1 mile west of the Pleasant Hill BART. Phone (925) 942-0149.

    I stopped by today and got a menu. It is suspiciously large for such a small place. But it appears that they do catering. The menu lists pulled pork as a platter choice, in a sandwich, in a po’ boy (which includes coleslaw), in the well known “Pulled Pork Quesadilla,” as well as in the “Pulled Pork Breakfast Burrito.”
    #26
    mar52
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/12 10:17:24 (permalink)
    Dr. Hoggly Woggly's in Van Nuys is always rated highly.

    I gave it 3 separate tries and it has no redeaming qualities. ICK.
    #27
    EdSails
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/12 17:29:53 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by mar52

    Dr. Hoggly Woggly's in Van Nuys is always rated highly.

    I gave it 3 separate tries and it has no redeaming qualities. ICK.


    mar52,
    I've eaten at Hogly Wogly's and somewhat agree with you. It's decent-----but definitely not in the class we're talking about. Haven't been there in years and I'm wondering how far down it's gone. From what you say, it's been a tough slide!
    #28
    mayor al
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/12 17:43:23 (permalink)
    ED
    Is that the one on Sepulveda that claims a link to "Texas BBQ"? or the one further up Sepulveda near the 118 that claims to be "Missouri Style"? We used to get to them both now and then.
    #29
    EdSails
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    RE: California BBQ 2005/05/12 18:10:52 (permalink)
    Mr Mayor,
    It's the one at Sepulveda and Roscoe. He does smoke it with wood at Hogly wogly's. Side dishes were below passable last time I was there, however the hot links were very good. All in all, I had better Texas BBQ at a little stand in Flatonia, TX. The one further up near the 118 is Bryant's Bear Pit Barbecue, more in the style of Chris and Pitt's for a local comparison.
    #30
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