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All Things BBQ: Abbey's Real Bar-B-Q

Proving once and for all how important it is to get your Abbeys' straight

Food from Abbey's Real Bar-B-Q...not to be confused with the other Abbey's.
Food from Abbey's Real Bar-B-Q...not to be confused with the other Abbey's.
Place

Abbey's Real BBQ

9353 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, San Diego

Little differences matter.

Imagine hobnobbing with a group of hoity-toity snobbish types, drinking port and discussing great matters of Western Civilization. They’re talking about Richard Burton and how he helped get the Kama Sutra first published in English.

“Bet Liz Taylor liked that,” you guffaw, oblivious to the disdainful sneers coming from all directions.

Oh. God. There were two!?

The shame.

Now, imagine some barbecue-hungry friend tells you that “Abbey’s is the place to go.” Did you learn your lesson?

Little differences matter.

Abbey’s Real Bar-B-Q is not the same as Abbey’s Real Texas BBQ. They have ridiculously similar names, but Abbey’s Real is the superior restaurant.

To begin with, the meat bears the telltale signs of low-and-slow cooking in a proper smoker. Where the meat from Abbey’s Real Texas falls short, the barbecue meats at Abbey’s meet the minimum requirements to be called actual barbecue. Abbey’s Real can’t compete with SD’s best barbecue joints, but it outstrips Abbey’s Real Texas BBQ in every way except the beans. At times, the place can be good, but consistency issues count, and being always delicious is important in this barbecue game.

Ribs display a noticeable bark, almost having a chewy, grilled texture that’s fun to gnaw, but doesn’t make up for insufficient smokiness. Other small flaws, like too-lean pulled pork, count against Abbey’s Real in the long run. The meat’s flavor and texture sometimes tell the tale of a pitmaster in the weeds who forces the issue a bit, engendering the aforementioned issues of consistency.

It gets better, of course. Thumbs up to fried cornbread! And the Abbey’s Real sauce is very good, piquant and flavorful, perfect for splashing over pulled pork or brisket, and tasting nothing like mass produced KC-imitation wackness. Prices also hover in the realm of reasonable, with about $12 buying slightly more food than one normal human wants to eat in a sitting. Even when the place is jamming, service is fast and friendly.

Even with some minor issues, Abbey’s Real Bar-B-Q will never be a meal wasted, so venture forth without fear. In the contest between Abbeys', there is a clear winner.

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Food from Abbey's Real Bar-B-Q...not to be confused with the other Abbey's.
Food from Abbey's Real Bar-B-Q...not to be confused with the other Abbey's.
Place

Abbey's Real BBQ

9353 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, San Diego

Little differences matter.

Imagine hobnobbing with a group of hoity-toity snobbish types, drinking port and discussing great matters of Western Civilization. They’re talking about Richard Burton and how he helped get the Kama Sutra first published in English.

“Bet Liz Taylor liked that,” you guffaw, oblivious to the disdainful sneers coming from all directions.

Oh. God. There were two!?

The shame.

Now, imagine some barbecue-hungry friend tells you that “Abbey’s is the place to go.” Did you learn your lesson?

Little differences matter.

Abbey’s Real Bar-B-Q is not the same as Abbey’s Real Texas BBQ. They have ridiculously similar names, but Abbey’s Real is the superior restaurant.

To begin with, the meat bears the telltale signs of low-and-slow cooking in a proper smoker. Where the meat from Abbey’s Real Texas falls short, the barbecue meats at Abbey’s meet the minimum requirements to be called actual barbecue. Abbey’s Real can’t compete with SD’s best barbecue joints, but it outstrips Abbey’s Real Texas BBQ in every way except the beans. At times, the place can be good, but consistency issues count, and being always delicious is important in this barbecue game.

Ribs display a noticeable bark, almost having a chewy, grilled texture that’s fun to gnaw, but doesn’t make up for insufficient smokiness. Other small flaws, like too-lean pulled pork, count against Abbey’s Real in the long run. The meat’s flavor and texture sometimes tell the tale of a pitmaster in the weeds who forces the issue a bit, engendering the aforementioned issues of consistency.

It gets better, of course. Thumbs up to fried cornbread! And the Abbey’s Real sauce is very good, piquant and flavorful, perfect for splashing over pulled pork or brisket, and tasting nothing like mass produced KC-imitation wackness. Prices also hover in the realm of reasonable, with about $12 buying slightly more food than one normal human wants to eat in a sitting. Even when the place is jamming, service is fast and friendly.

Even with some minor issues, Abbey’s Real Bar-B-Q will never be a meal wasted, so venture forth without fear. In the contest between Abbeys', there is a clear winner.

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Comments
3

Pretty much spot-on. When firing on all cylinders, they're doing the best that can be done with an electric smoker, but there are times the meat seems like it was a bit rushed, the brisket is a little gristly, or the ribs are a tad dry. Love the cornbread, but the beans are a big unknown factor - I'm a fan of the unique flavor profile, but it seems like they sometimes come out under-cooked.

Not the absolute undisputed best in town, but when I used to work a desk job a couple blocks from here it was a totally solid spot to hit up for lunch 2-3 times a month, or as often as I could find a co-worker to split an order of stuff with me. I'm not a normal human in that one Dave = two to two-and-a-half Ians, so if the quantity is too much for me to eat alone it's decidedly too much.

Jan. 25, 2014

I prety much had nothing nice to say about the food at the other Abbey's, but I would never naysay a trip to this one. That's a hard distinction to make. I would say the sauce was above average, for sure, which goes a long way.

Jan. 25, 2014

For your information , Mr. Ian Pike , the 2nd Abbeys BBQ on Clairemont mesa was started by the owner at Abbeys on Miramar . You are so biased and vengeful towards the Miramar one because you are probably friends with the one on Clairemont .Shame on you for being a Jerk and hostile towards a family run business for the past 32 years . You don't offer constructive criticism but a hateful and erroneous facts due to your probable vendetta against the owners of Abbeys on Miramar . Whether you like it or not , Abbeys Miramar , has won many awards , including the late iconic Eleanor Widmer's nice article , and justifiably earned each one of them . The Late Eleanor Widmer , who would have run circles around some incompetent Jerk like you , included Abbeys MIRAMAR on her paper back hall of fame book , while you were probably still in your diapers . It clearly shows that you are being systematically biased due possibly to your friendly ties to the other Abbeys , so you are working very hard to discredit this one for your own personal gain . It's unethical , immoral and dirty just like you !!! SHAME on you for lambasting a hard working family , who's been operating Abbeys on Miramar for the past 32 years , while a PUNK like you who probably can't tell a difference between grilling and smoking suddenly becomes an expert . Btw, Eleanor explained this on her TV show back in the days about the meaning of the word BArBQUE , where its pit smoked , compared to the charcoal or briquette grilling . Her and I used to speak sporadically via phone and in person when I saw her in a convention for Hunger Relief, which Abbeys Real Texas BBQ participated on numerous occasions . All I have to say to you is you are not a food critic , but a fake one , who's inspiring to make a name for himself at the expense of others by turning it into a farce . This is not a game , especially when your implications are wrong and intentions are , I believe, BIASED and compromised at all levels . Someone out there or your superiors need to investigate your motive in this matter , because I'm skeptical and fearful of your outcome of this due to your MEAN and EVIL spirit .

April 25, 2014

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