Editor: Please welcome Mercy Baron in the first ever post of her new OB Rag column, “Rockin’ Round OB Town” – it’s a review of one of her fave bbq places right chere on Newport. And by the way, Mercy is a certified Kansas City BBQ Society Judge.
By Mercy Baron / Special to the OB Rag
Q, or BBQ, is my thang. It’s so much my thang that I just got certified earlier this year as a Kansas City BBQ Society Judge. This past Saturday, I judged my first BBQ competition in Vista. I tasted some good Q….and some not so good Q.
One thing I never have to worry about, is the awesome consistency coming out of The BBQ House on Newport Ave here in OB. They have been serving award winning Q since 1991.
Family owned and operated by Abdoul, Melvin and Davin Atallah, one of them is always behind the counter serving up a great variety of dishes. The father, Abdoul, has been working in restaurants since he was a kid and has just always loved BBQ, and decided that was the kind of restaurant he wanted to open. He put his sons, Melvin and Davin to work when they were just kids and they have stuck with it for over 21 years.
Melvin is the one that I see the most since I started going in here several years ago, and he jokingly calls me Murciélago after one of the Lamborghini models. Tall, dark and always friendly, with a big smile on his face, he makes everyone feel welcome as he chops away at some of the tastiest smoked meats around San Diego. He still manages to find time to kick it with his hobby of being an MC…as in rapper M EZ. Hey, a man’s gotta have a hobby right?
Onto the smokin’ Q. These guys smoke their beef and pork for 10 hours, and their ribs and chicken for 4 hours in Oakwood. It burns nice and slow, stays wet and fresh so it won’t burn too fast. They tried Mesquite and Applewood, but found Oakwood to be the winner. They keep the temps between 200-250 degrees for getting that low and slow smoke flavor on their ribs. chicken and beef.
You almost don’t need sauce on it because the smokiness just rocks it all on it’s own. But you don’t want to bypass their homemade BBQ sauce. It’s got a nice deep, dark, sweet flavor that just blows that other place away. You know the place, the one with the lines around the building even though they don’t smoke their meats?
My favorite meal here is the breast and wing with two ribs appetizer and you get to choose one side dish. Mac and cheese, fries, onion rings, poppers, cole slaw, mashed potato and gravy, rice or salad.
BBQ House also has a wide variety of dishes including all kinds of BBQ Sammies, with one of my faves being the California Style sandwich with any kind of meat; chicken, beef, or pork and onion rings on top. Burgers (Black Angus and Turkey), Gyros (chicken and lamb), Philly Steak, Hot sausages, Sloppy Joes…which I order the meat and then spread it on top of french fries and pour their BBQ sauce on it! Yummers. My version of Carne Asada fries.
But the one dish I’ve heard about for a long time from everyone, but only tried last night for the first time, is now my new fave. A BBQ Burrito. Your choice of two meats, cole slaw and beans with some sauce on it….looked like a MACK Truck, and for only $3.75! I’m also super picky about onion rings and theirs are just perfectly battered. They also offer a loyatly card for us addicted customers, and then we get a sammie on the house after only buying 6 of them.
And in the fashion of the Del Mar Fair desserts, they have deep fried Twinkies, Oreos, Cream Puffs and eclairs to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings.
The BBQ House started in a small building next to Wings on Newport and you can see it in the murals they have painted on the outside patio. It was a tiny place and they knew they needed something bigger as they got more and more popular.
In the last year, they have built two bar type counter tops on the patio so people can sit on stools with their food and the BBQ House’s great selection of beers on tap and in bottles. The tap beers are very popular, which is right in step with San Diego being the micro brew capital of the USA. Shocktop is one of their most popular draft brews at $1.99 a pint, or a whole pitcher for only $7.99. Melvin says draft just tastes better then bottles, but that doesn’t stop his customers from ordering the myriad of bottled brewskis too.
Abdoul sat down with me for a bit of the interview and I asked him if he was going to retire. He said never, he just enjoys going in every day and still tries to tell Melvin and Davin what to do. They try to get him to go home, but he just enjoys it too much. I asked him how business has been in this tough economy, and he said they have struggled the last couple of summers, especially since the weather hasn’t been great. But this summer has been their best in the last few years which is due to more sunshine, and of course, their biz is quite dependent on the tourism which is OB’s lifeblood.
I asked Abdoul if he had a funny story he could tell me that has happened over the years. He said Rod Luck from KUSI came out to interview them a few years back and wanted to hand one of their burritos to a homeless guy … and tried to it right on camera, but the guy said, no thanks, I’m a vegetarian!
The BBQ House also contributes to the community. They recently did a BBQ day for the OB Elementary School. If you came in and mentioned the school, 15% of the proceeds are donated to that institution. Other local schools have now shown interest in this program and they will be working with them to bring some much needed money to our children’s education needs.
Do yourself a favor and get your Q on, tell them OB Mercy sent ya.