With so many different taste buds among the eating public, it is difficult to say definitively that any particular barbecue restaurant is number one. But Orange County is brimming with brisket, ribs, pulled pork, wings and barbecue beans, along with a variety of veggies and salads or “specialty items.” Refer to this list for some phenomenal smoky barbecue in Orange County.
Beach Pit Barbecue
128 N Glassell St
Orange, CA 92866
This is one of three Beach Pit Barbecues with two other locations in Costa Mesa and Tustin. The Orange County location was established in 2009 and serves mouth-watering barbecue meats like pulled pork, beef brisket, turkey breast, pulled chicken and smoked sausage. Sides include smoked veggies, BBQ baked beans, sweet potato fries and blueberry cornbread. Start with the Smoked Hot Wings priced at $7.95. This appetizer will have your mouth in a frenzy. Beach Pit’s specialties include standouts like the “North Carolina Style” sandwich, which comes with your choice of a smoked meat (try the smoked sausage) and a pile of cole slaw. This sandwich comes with a side item of your choosing, all for $8.95.
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The Tulsa Rib Company
954 N Tustin Ave
Orange, CA 92867
The Tulsa Rib Company has been serving the Southern California area for over 31 years. It has been voted the best barbecue restaurant for many years, starting with the first visit – by the famous restaurant critic Elmer Dill – in 1981. Some of its many reviews over the years are from OC Restaurant Guide: LA Times, Common Talk by Bob Bennyhoft and “Smokin hot BBQ” by Nancy Luna in 2009. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and the tasty menu starts with appetizers priced as low as $6.95 and a variety of soups and salads priced around $8.95. However, the main focus of the restaurant is its entrees. The barbecue grill, Baby Back Ribs, Barbecue Chicken and Short Ribs are just a few of the many choices. But if you’re looking for the whole bundle, order the Tulsa Triple Combo, which comes with baby back ribs, one half pound of chicken and your choice of sausage. Call Tulsa Rib for your next party because this delicious barbecue can be catered for any event.
Big B’s Barbecue
1948 N Placentia Ave
Fullerton, CA 92831
Big B’s Barbecue, which has only counter service, is tucked away in a strip mall in Fullerton at Yorba Linda Boulevard and Placentia Avenue. It is a favorite of California State Fullerton University students, not only for the delicious food but also for the reasonable prices. It first opened as a tavern with Brian’s Beer and Billiards three decades ago, then in 1986, Brian converted the space next door into Big B’s Barbecue, with the emphasis on tasty comfort foods at affordable prices. The menu runs the gamut, from appetizers that include Fresh Fried Zucchini, Buffalo Wings and Jalapeño Poppers; to sandwiches such as Pulled Pork Sliders and BBQ Beef, which are reasonably priced at $7.45. However, go for dinner to get one of the charbroiled Pork Baby Back Rib Dinners that include three kinds of homemade beans blended with bacon and jalapeños.
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2905 E Miraloma Ave
Anaheim, CA 92806
Blake’s Place BBQ gives credit for its success and popularity to its high-tech, wood-burning barbecue pits that enable meats to slowly cook in a wood-smoke atmosphere for up to 16 hours. This process enhances the flavor, making it real barbecue at its best. The extensive menu can be seen here. Among the awards Blake’s has received, the one of special interest was the Critics Choice Award from Niyaz Pirani of Food Frenzy in 2008. Blake’s claim to fame is The Beast, an enormous signature sandwich introduced in 2009, which presents a challenge to customers. Try to finish this sandwich, consisting of “slow smoked pulled pork, pulled BBQ chicken, chopped beef brisket, cole slaw, pickles and red onions, all doused in BBQ sauce” and served on an oversized fresh-baked bun, weighing in at almost three pounds. If you can finish the sandwich in 20 minutes or less, you win a Beefmaster T-shirt. Those who order The Beast but prefer to eat it leisurely will get a beast bumper sticker.
Smokey’s House of BBQ
32860 Pacific Coast Highway
Dana Point, CA 92629
The owner, Mike Christian, says smokehouse meat is his passion. Smokey’s cooks barbecue on the premises very slowly – the old-fashioned way. Smokey’s serves brunch, lunch and dinner, with the average price tag being around $18. There is an extensive red and white wine list as well as ale, porter and lagers available. Try the signature dish – Smokey’s Skillet Cornbread – consisting of cornbread seasoned with onions, jalapeños and cheddar cheese baked moist and rich in a cast-iron skillet. Smokey’s BBQ Pizza is made from hand-rolled dough topped with barbecue sauce, mozzarella cheese and a choice of meat like smoked chicken, pulled pork or Texas-style beef brisket. Another favorite is the Georgia Pulled Pork Po’ Boy – pork roast slowly smoked until it is fork-tender, then tossed with barbecue sauce and piled high on a baguette, topped with creamy sole slaw. The extensive menu can be seen here.
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Mona Graham is a freelance writer, who has been writing for Examiner.com since 2011 as an Anaheim city guide and Santa Ana New Zealand Travel. Mona has lived in Orange County since 1958 and knows all the different cities and towns that make up the area. Her hobbies are travelling, writing and photography. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.