Best Things I Ate This Month: January 2017
The meat at Grand Ole BBQ, Pork Ribs at Coop’s West Texas BBQ, and Tsebhi Dorho at Muzita Abyssinian Bistro
The Meat at Grand Ole BBQ
It took me far too long. Every week or so, another friend would tell me, “You’re really missing the best barbecue in San Diego.” But I was nervous. San Diego’s track record with BBQ is not hit-or-miss, it’s awful. I once traveled the country looking for the best barbecue in America, and returned home to San Diego sad. But it’s here. Grand Ole BBQ is hands down the best barbecue I’ve tasted in the city. Meat is long-smoked, not grilled like some “BBQ” places in town. For the best experience, try their brisket—with heavy, peppery bark (crust) and fall-apart meat. Also go for the tri-tip, and that spicy potato salad. But the most amazing meat at Grand Ole is also the most shocking: their smoked turkey. Turkey is a dry, mediocre-at-best protein. And somehow theirs is juicy and flavorful. Might be the best turkey in town, too.
3302 32nd Street, North Park
Pork Ribs at Coop’s West Texas BBQ
I don’t want to make this a competition between the top two barbecue spots in San Diego, but I will. Coop’s was my standing favorite in San Diego. Now it’s runner-up for me next to Grand Ole. But there is one meat at Coop’s that beats the newcomer, and everyone in town, for that matter. Those juicy pork ribs, with a well-seasoned skin and crust, and the tender, pink meat so juicy it activates long-dormant saliva glands you didn’t know you had.
2625 Lemon Grove Ave., Lemon Grove
Tsebhi Dorho at Muzita Abyssinian Bistro
I hadn’t been back to San Diego’s top spot for Eritrean/Ethiopian food in a while, but found myself looking for lunch in University Heights. What a great place. You don’t use silverware at Muzita (although I always commit the crime and ask for a fork), because the injera (a spongy flatbread) is used as a glove of sorts to scoop up the stewed meat on your plate. The tsebhi dorho almost tastes like an African mole, a roasted chicken seasoned and stewed with traditional Eritrean spice rub, berbere (peppers, garlic, onions, tons of spices and heat). Excellent. Be sure to choose the timtimo (spicy red lentils) as your side, as that might be the best lentil dish in town.
4651 Park Blvd., University Heights