Kirbie's Cravings

BBQ Crawl

This past weekend, FH and I met up with a bunch of San Diego food bloggers to participate in a BBQ crawl.  Our group consisted of Carol of CAB Cooks (who organized the event. Thanks again Carol!), CC from Pink Candles of Ridgemont High, Dennis from A Radiused Corner, Mary (and Jake) from Foodies: A SoCal Food Blog, Marie (and Dan) from Meandering Eats, and Leanne (and Travis) from Three Dog Kitchen.

Since I’ve been regularly conversing with these bloggers but haven’t met most of them, it was great to finally meet so many people at once, and spend a Saturday afternoon doing what we all love to do: eat!

I know nothing about real BBQ, making this crawl a great learning experience for me as well.

Our first stop was Coop’s West Texas BBQ.

2625 Lemon Grove Ave
Lemon Grove, CA 91945
(619) 589-0478
Coop's West Texas BBQ on Urbanspoon

Coop’s is located in Lemon Grove. I have to confess, in all my years living in San Diego, this was my first trip to Lemon Grove. On our way in, we saw the giant lemon, but I forgot to take a picture. You can see a picture on CC’s post.

One criteria for the bbq crawl was that the meat had to be smoked. Coop’s is a small location, but it was easy to spot when we saw this smoker outside. The owner, Coop, was really friendly. He helped put a few tables together so that our whole group could sit down and eat. Despite the fact that we took up most of his dining space and were only sampling a few items, he didn’t seem to mind.

It was decided that we should try the ribs and brisket at each place. We ordered two slabs of ribs and one pound of brisket.

I was surprised to see how much meat was in two slabs of ribs. Everyone had at least one, some seconds and thirds, and we still had leftovers. Included with the ribs were the rib tips.

The bbq here is served without sauce, though there is sauce on the table for your dipping pleasure. I loved that we got to experience the meat as is because it showed how well the meat was cooked. Coop’s advertises that it smokes its meat, and it really showed. The smoked flavor had seeped through all the way down to the bone. Having never really experienced Texas bbq before, I didn’t have much to compare it to, but I knew I was tasting something delicious.

The brisket was very tender, and the cuts were thick, which I enjoyed. Unfortunately, one pound ended up being about one piece per person. I think everyone wished for more.

For our sides, we chose collard greens and baked beans. I love collard greens, but I haven’t been a fan of how most places prepare it. I loved how the greens were prepared here.

The baked beans had some sweetness and some pineapple.

While we were eating, the owner offered to let us try some BBQ spaghetti, a recipe he was fiddling around with. Out came bowls of spaghetti, mixed with bbq sauce, and his housemade sausage. The sausages had a spicy kick and were quite enjoyable. In general, I liked the spaghetti, but it did pale in comparison to the other foods we had tasted.

Coop’s also served complimentary sweet tea. At the side of the restaurant is a container full of the cold sweet tea and also water. I forgot to take a picture of mine, but I really enjoyed the sweet tea here. It was sweet without being overwhelmingly tooth-achy sweet.

Everyone seemed to really enjoy the food here and we were reluctant to leave. I had a feeling, without even knowing anything about our other three spots, that Coop’s had ruined us for the other places on our crawl.

Our second stop was Barnes BBQ, also located in Lemon Grove.

Barnes BBQ
7820 Broadway
Lemon Grove, CA 91945
(619) 462-9206
Barnes Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

This time we ordered twice as much brisket and less ribs, since everyone loved the brisket so much from the first spot

We were given some wheat sandwich bread to eat with our meal.

Our ribs were served slathered in sauce. I would have preferred the sauce on the side as I found it to be too sweet and hid the taste of the meat. While there was some smoked flavor to the meat here, it wasn’t as pronounced as at Coop’s.

The brisket was also smothered in sauce. The brisket here was served thinly sliced. It was nice and tender, but I preferred the thick cut served at Coop’s.

Our sides were macaroni salad and baked beans. I thought the macaroni salad tasted like the ones you buy at the grocery store.

The baked beans were extremely sweet, and contained bits of bacon.

Our next stop was the Barbecue Pit in National City.

Barbecue Pit
920 E Plaza Blvd
National City, CA
(619) 477-2244

BBQ Pit is located in National City. It’s a really big restaurant with lots of space and big tables. The ordering process is cafeteria style. You go to the front, order your food, get a tray, wait for them to give you your food, then pay, and then sit down to eat.

Instead of ordering slabs again, we decided to all get our own individual meals this time. I was hoping for a brisket ribs combination plate, but didn’t spot one. So instead Fh and I got a small rib plate. We also got a pulled pork sandwich. For the  sides, we chose coleslaw and baked beans.

I nibbled on a rib, but I didn’t do much eating here. I wasn’t very hungry anymore, and the ribs weren’t nearly as good as Coop’s. I also was too busy talking to do much eating.

After this, we decided we were done ordering bbq, but could use some dessert. So we headed to the final location for their pies.

5039 Imperial Ave
San Diego, CA 92113
(619) 264-3115

Huffman’s has been around for a very long time and serves soul food. I got pretty lazy with taking pictures at this spot though there were a lot of interesting pictures to take, including a wall of photos of the owner with famous people. You can view CC’s post for better photos.

Almost everyone just ordered dessert. FH and I shared a pecan pie and a sweet potato pie. They warmed up the pie before giving it to us.

I really liked the sweet potato pie. It was almost pure sweet potato and just a little bit of spices. The pecan pie was a tad too sweet for me.

Dennis was nice enough to get us all mini sushi toys. I opened mine soon after and set it up for display.

I had a wonderful time and hopefully we’ll be doing another crawl soon. It was great to hang out with such a great group of people and to experience some delicious bbq.  FH has been hounding me nonstop about wanting to revisit Coop’s. We will definitely be going back soon to get more of everything we had and to try their other menu items.

You can read recaps from CC here here here and here. And Carol’s first post is here.



16 comments on “BBQ Crawl”

  1. Nice round-up! I am already plotting our next visit to Coop’s and trying to figure out how much more we can try in a single visit. I want to try everything!

    It was so fun to finally meet you and FH, too!

    • I’m so glad we got to meet! Yes now I want to try everything to. I yelped them and people are raving about almost everything on his menu including his desserts, so now I want to check out everything.

  2. kick ass crawl, kirby! i recently tried coop’s on a trip back home. i grew up in lemon grove so it was kind of AWESOME to discover a food find there 🙂 Lemon Grove: Best Climate on Earth.

    • Oh glad to hear you like it too! I’m going to have to find out some other eats near lemon grove so I can hit up more than one place when I visit Coop’s again.

  3. This was fun! And glad got to meet you finally and the FH. Glad you liked the toy, and thanks for the giant cookie yourself. It was great!

  4. I loved this post. It looked like a lot of fun. What a cute toy at the end to end a “happy meal”…ok I’m being cheesy. I’ll have to try out coops sometime.

    • Haha, I didn’t think about it that way! It is kind of like a happy meal toy. Yes, you should definitely check out Coop’s!

  5. hi kirbie
    great pix and post! so great to finally meet you and your FH! thanks so much for the cookie! is the recipe on your blog? i’d love to make it at home! also, thanks for the trio of toki cups! love them!!!!! i linked your post to mine as well- thanks for linking mine! 🙂

    • Yup, it’s the New York Times cookie recipe. My post with the recipe is here
      It’s a little annoying that you have to refrigerate the dough first. But these are my favorite cookies. Some things I’ve learned to make it a little better: I sometimes use ghiradelli chips instead of disks. Because disks are expensive and I only get them at specialty stores. The idea of using disks is so that the chocolate is spread throughout the entire cookie, but the ghiradlli chips tends to be bigger than regular choc chips, so if you dont want the hassle of buying disks, you can use those. Also I sometimes make enough so that I can freeze a batch. And eat that second batch the next week. Basically u let the dough sit for the 24-36 hours required in the fridge and then freeze it. And when you want to eat them, you just need to give the dough time to defrost. The flavor is still good after the dough is frozen and it saves some time if you want them again.

  6. thanks for the link and the tips about the chips! i actually have a couple of bags of ghiradelli chips in the pantry. i was wondering about that effect – i love how the melted discks formed “ribbons” in the dough. that was one of the best cookies i’ve ever had! 🙂

    • It’s the best choc chip cookie recipe I’ve come across so far. Yeah, the disks probably work the best, but ghiradelli chips are a pretty good substitute. Good luck with your cookies!

  7. Awesome post Kirbie! Thanks so much for the giant cookie, which I ate as soon as I got home. It was great to meet you and FH and hope that I’ll see you two again soon. Hmm, there is a Smashburger VIP in a couple of weeks…

    • Yes, you should go! I’m going. It’s pretty relaxing and you don’t have to talk to anyone. You just go, check in at the door, and then you are on your own as if you were just dining there like a regular customer. Except everything is free =) I’m hoping this one is good. I noticed this one, they are raffling to allow some “non-media” people in to have a sneak peek. I’ve been to 3 openings, 2 were exclusive media only and one allowed the raffling. The 2 media ones the food tasted great and the one that allowed the raffle, not so much. Hopefully that was a fluke though.

  8. Okay, I sent in my RSVP so I’ll wait to see what time they give me. Maybe I’ll see you there!

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