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Savory smoked selections

Grand Ole BBQ y Asado sells out

Pulled pork sandwich, some sides, and ribs
Pulled pork sandwich, some sides, and ribs
Place

Grand Ole BBQ y Asado

3302 32nd Street, San Diego

The San Diego restaurant scene is vast in terms of dining options, but in its own way it is also small and many chefs and restaurateurs are friends in what is, for the most part, a community filled with mutual respect and admiration. So when it came to deciding where to go for dinner one night, friends Sara and Hanis (chef/owner of the pork-centric restaurant Carnitas’ Snack Shack) selected Grand Ole BBQ y Asado to jokingly “check out the competition.” But it turned out Hanis had already been there and approved of the offerings enough to recommend it as our destination for the evening.

We arrived shortly after 6pm — an early dinner, but, according to Hanis, necessary if we wanted to ensure a varied tasting. Dinner starts at 6 until the food is sold out. The same goes for lunch, which starts at noon from Wednesday through Saturday. This is why the meat masters at Grand Ole BBQ encourage patrons to check their Twitter account before heading over. To visit their Twitter page is to see not much more than a series of the same tweets at various times announcing that lunch or dinner is “SOLD OUT!”

The picnic-table dining area is all outdoors, and the menu is written in black marker on a large sheet of brown paper affixed to a wooden plank with blue masking tape. We smelled the savory smoked selections from where we’d parked a block away. Meats are offered by the sandwich or the pound. For example, brisket is $12 by the sandwich or $22 by the pound.

I ordered the pulled pork sandwich ($10), and at Hanis’s insistence, we also got the Texas Turkey ($18/pound). We ended up getting a bunch of things so we could taste around, sending the plentiful leftovers home with Sara and Hanis.

I was surprised to hear Hanis — a perpetual pork pusher — suggest the turkey, something I assumed he considered an inferior white meat. At a glance, it looked like it might even be dry. But on our first bite, all became clear. In all my years of Thanksgiving feasts, I can’t recall a time that I tasted such a tender and flavorful cut of the big bird.

Despite the terrific turkey, I was all about my pulled pork sandwich. The pork, like the turkey, was tender, juicy, and flavorful and the bread was pleasantly soft, with a subtle sweetness. To this I added the vinegary/sweet/spicy BBQ sauce, one of five different sauces David had put into the plastic cups provided at the sauce station. The sandwich was so satisfying in texture and flavor that I only let David have half a half instead of an entire half.

The Texas Hot Links were as advertised, with a lot of kick. Had I not been so busy with my sandwich I would have gone for more slices of sausage. The only bite of meat I tried that I didn’t care for were the ribs. They weren’t bad, but they didn’t stand up to my benchmark, the ones I get at Brazen BBQ.

After tasting the turkey, sausage, and sandwich, the sides seemed superfluous. I wasn’t interested in the potato salad (not a big mayonnaise fan) or Texas bean salad (too much cilantro for me), but I did have a few bites of the white Peruvian beans. Though they look unappealing — brown slop in a paper tray — they’re like a rich gravy, creamy with a bit of chew and just enough salt to encourage another bite. And they went great with the turkey.

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Pulled pork sandwich, some sides, and ribs
Pulled pork sandwich, some sides, and ribs
Place

Grand Ole BBQ y Asado

3302 32nd Street, San Diego

The San Diego restaurant scene is vast in terms of dining options, but in its own way it is also small and many chefs and restaurateurs are friends in what is, for the most part, a community filled with mutual respect and admiration. So when it came to deciding where to go for dinner one night, friends Sara and Hanis (chef/owner of the pork-centric restaurant Carnitas’ Snack Shack) selected Grand Ole BBQ y Asado to jokingly “check out the competition.” But it turned out Hanis had already been there and approved of the offerings enough to recommend it as our destination for the evening.

We arrived shortly after 6pm — an early dinner, but, according to Hanis, necessary if we wanted to ensure a varied tasting. Dinner starts at 6 until the food is sold out. The same goes for lunch, which starts at noon from Wednesday through Saturday. This is why the meat masters at Grand Ole BBQ encourage patrons to check their Twitter account before heading over. To visit their Twitter page is to see not much more than a series of the same tweets at various times announcing that lunch or dinner is “SOLD OUT!”

The picnic-table dining area is all outdoors, and the menu is written in black marker on a large sheet of brown paper affixed to a wooden plank with blue masking tape. We smelled the savory smoked selections from where we’d parked a block away. Meats are offered by the sandwich or the pound. For example, brisket is $12 by the sandwich or $22 by the pound.

I ordered the pulled pork sandwich ($10), and at Hanis’s insistence, we also got the Texas Turkey ($18/pound). We ended up getting a bunch of things so we could taste around, sending the plentiful leftovers home with Sara and Hanis.

I was surprised to hear Hanis — a perpetual pork pusher — suggest the turkey, something I assumed he considered an inferior white meat. At a glance, it looked like it might even be dry. But on our first bite, all became clear. In all my years of Thanksgiving feasts, I can’t recall a time that I tasted such a tender and flavorful cut of the big bird.

Despite the terrific turkey, I was all about my pulled pork sandwich. The pork, like the turkey, was tender, juicy, and flavorful and the bread was pleasantly soft, with a subtle sweetness. To this I added the vinegary/sweet/spicy BBQ sauce, one of five different sauces David had put into the plastic cups provided at the sauce station. The sandwich was so satisfying in texture and flavor that I only let David have half a half instead of an entire half.

The Texas Hot Links were as advertised, with a lot of kick. Had I not been so busy with my sandwich I would have gone for more slices of sausage. The only bite of meat I tried that I didn’t care for were the ribs. They weren’t bad, but they didn’t stand up to my benchmark, the ones I get at Brazen BBQ.

After tasting the turkey, sausage, and sandwich, the sides seemed superfluous. I wasn’t interested in the potato salad (not a big mayonnaise fan) or Texas bean salad (too much cilantro for me), but I did have a few bites of the white Peruvian beans. Though they look unappealing — brown slop in a paper tray — they’re like a rich gravy, creamy with a bit of chew and just enough salt to encourage another bite. And they went great with the turkey.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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