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Perfectly balanced BBQ

The sauce doesn't overpower the meat

The Kentucky smoked lamb.
The Kentucky smoked lamb.

Think politics is polarizing? It’s got nothing on BBQ.

It’s a passionate topic where people have their theories on things like wood or propane. sauce or rub, and brisket or ribs.

Tri-tip at Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado
Place

Grand Ole BBQ y Asado

3302 32nd Street, San Diego

BBQ aficionados are picky and loyal to a particular spot. By comparison, taco shop lovers are more open-minded, willing to go to different places.

Although I am a fan of Phil’s BBQ, I have to admit my visit to Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado in North Park was revelatory in many ways — especially in relation to how the sauce interacts with the proteins.

Smoked turkey

The setup at GOBYA looks like a chuck wagon from an old western movie. Lots of picnic tables, open sheds and, smack dab in the middle, a giant wood-fired smoker. You order your meat by weight, but get there early — sellouts are common.

The Texas bean salad has corn, black beans and cumin.

Nothing fancy, but that’s part of the charm.

I like the sauce at Phil’s BBQ though I understand why detractors think it’s too sweet. The sauce at GOBYA is tangy but not as cloying. That’s a good thing: The sauce never overpowers the meat.

Ribs!

That’s amazing considering the turkey ($10 for sandwich/ $19 per pound) has a much lighter, almost delicate, flavor profile compared to the bold spices of the hot links ($9 for sandwich/$14 per pound). But in both cases, the sauce supported the meat perfectly, not overtaking the turkey while standing up to the spicy sausages.

Potato salad

I’m glad I got a variety of meats to try. Although I was fond of the turkey and links, the Tri-Tip was the star ($13 for sandwich/$23 per pound). It was cooked perfectly: crispy on the edges, pink in the middle -- would definitely get that again.

Peruvian beans

I was a fan of the lamb ($12 for sandwich/$22 per pound. It was tender and delicate — like the turkey — but with a smokier flavor.

GOBYA opens at 12 noon and they were out of the pulled pork by the time I got there around 12:30 on a Saturday. So I got ribs ($19 per pound). They were tender and nicely smoky, but I liked the other meats better.

Hot links

I liked the side dishes, which sell for $3 each. The Peruvian beans were more like refried beans than the sweet beans often served with BBQ. They were great: A subtle spiciness that matched well with the different meats.

Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado's exterior.

The Texas Bean Salad is noteworthy: Slightly tangy with a nice blast of cumin. I’d consider getting this as a meal if I were feeling vegetarianish. The potato salad and cole slaw are serviceable. No one will be disappointed, but the bean dishes are outstanding.

Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado is one of those casual eateries that make people who live in North Park feel smug. With good reason: The food is good and the cowboy vibe reminds me of Knott’s Berry Farm before it got all fancy with the rides.

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The Kentucky smoked lamb.
The Kentucky smoked lamb.

Think politics is polarizing? It’s got nothing on BBQ.

It’s a passionate topic where people have their theories on things like wood or propane. sauce or rub, and brisket or ribs.

Tri-tip at Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado
Place

Grand Ole BBQ y Asado

3302 32nd Street, San Diego

BBQ aficionados are picky and loyal to a particular spot. By comparison, taco shop lovers are more open-minded, willing to go to different places.

Although I am a fan of Phil’s BBQ, I have to admit my visit to Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado in North Park was revelatory in many ways — especially in relation to how the sauce interacts with the proteins.

Smoked turkey

The setup at GOBYA looks like a chuck wagon from an old western movie. Lots of picnic tables, open sheds and, smack dab in the middle, a giant wood-fired smoker. You order your meat by weight, but get there early — sellouts are common.

The Texas bean salad has corn, black beans and cumin.

Nothing fancy, but that’s part of the charm.

I like the sauce at Phil’s BBQ though I understand why detractors think it’s too sweet. The sauce at GOBYA is tangy but not as cloying. That’s a good thing: The sauce never overpowers the meat.

Ribs!

That’s amazing considering the turkey ($10 for sandwich/ $19 per pound) has a much lighter, almost delicate, flavor profile compared to the bold spices of the hot links ($9 for sandwich/$14 per pound). But in both cases, the sauce supported the meat perfectly, not overtaking the turkey while standing up to the spicy sausages.

Potato salad

I’m glad I got a variety of meats to try. Although I was fond of the turkey and links, the Tri-Tip was the star ($13 for sandwich/$23 per pound). It was cooked perfectly: crispy on the edges, pink in the middle -- would definitely get that again.

Peruvian beans

I was a fan of the lamb ($12 for sandwich/$22 per pound. It was tender and delicate — like the turkey — but with a smokier flavor.

GOBYA opens at 12 noon and they were out of the pulled pork by the time I got there around 12:30 on a Saturday. So I got ribs ($19 per pound). They were tender and nicely smoky, but I liked the other meats better.

Hot links

I liked the side dishes, which sell for $3 each. The Peruvian beans were more like refried beans than the sweet beans often served with BBQ. They were great: A subtle spiciness that matched well with the different meats.

Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado's exterior.

The Texas Bean Salad is noteworthy: Slightly tangy with a nice blast of cumin. I’d consider getting this as a meal if I were feeling vegetarianish. The potato salad and cole slaw are serviceable. No one will be disappointed, but the bean dishes are outstanding.

Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado is one of those casual eateries that make people who live in North Park feel smug. With good reason: The food is good and the cowboy vibe reminds me of Knott’s Berry Farm before it got all fancy with the rides.

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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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