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Ocean Beach Meat Company finds three ways to feed you

Butcher shop and BBQ counter makes burnt ends after a tough beginning

Some of the items in the butcher case at Ocean Beach Meat Company
Some of the items in the butcher case at Ocean Beach Meat Company
Place

Ocean Beach Meat Company

4853 Newport Ave., San Diego

How’s this one for timing? Shannon Nault and Bobby Kokinda signed the lease for their first food-service business at the beginning of March, 2020.

Let’s just say they wound up taking more time than they’d planned on to build out the Newport Avenue property. But they stuck with it, made a few tweaks to account for the new normal, and on Valentine’s Day of this year, the couple followed through on their dream by opening Ocean Beach Meat Company. Just like that, OB’s main drag has a butcher shop that serves BBQ and take-and-bake comfort dishes.

The owners signed a lease just before the pandemic, and finally opened Valentine's Day 2021.

The shop’s biggest immediate impact on the neighborhood may be found inside its glass counter case. There, lamb, pork, and ribs mingle with house-made sausages and midwestern steaks, including choice and prime selections. It’s a boon to Obecians looking to wean themselves from grocery store meat departments.

Part butcher shop, part BBQ counter, part take-and-bake meal purveyor

But there is a huge amount of hot food on the menu, all made from scratch, including daily specials ranging from Monday’s smoked sausage subs ($8) to Friday’s tri tip (market price). Though the presence of tri-tip suggests California grilling tradition, most of the menu suggests the central Texas influence. That means more dry-rub seasoning, rather than barbecue sauce — if you’re looking for the most obvious contrast to Barbecue House, the OB institution located down the street.

A meat box featuring dry rub baby back ribs, mac & cheese, and coleslaw

Here’s another: aside than a single table on the sidewalk, OB Meat Co. doesn’t offer much in the way of seating. It’s set up more as a take-out counter, with a sidewalk-facing take-out window built into the storefront, in case the dread purple tier returns.

Especially for taking home, the best value is going family style: sharing assorted meats and sides, building around a $24 rack of ribs and $15-a-pound pulled pork, for example. There’s no brisket, but there are brisket burnt ends at $12 per half pound. And there are enough side dishes to spend a day eating, including a saucy coleslaw, ultra creamy mac & cheese, homemade potato chips, and potato salad. Most intriguing of the sides are Texas Twinkies, a latter day Texas BBQ innovation that stuffs bacon wrapped jalapeños with a mixture of brisket and cream cheese ($6).

Simple instructions for a take-and-bake meal

Some of that over the topness extends to the chicken menu. For $25, you can order a whole, bacon-wrapped chicken ($15 for a half bird; $10 per half without the bacon). For an extra $5, you can add “flavored injections” to your poultry, where they brine the bird from the inside by injecting the likes of garlic butter or maple bourbon into the meat prior to smoking it.

Of course, this being on Newport Avenue, a lot of the food counter’s business will be like me, walking in off the street. For solo eaters, the shop offers “meat boxes,” where you get a third-pound of meat with two sides for $13. I went for mac and coleslaw with baby back ribs. Like most early afternoon ribs, they didn’t fall off the bone the way they would after a longer, slower cook. I should know better by now to wait till later in the day to give in to rib cravings.

Brisket burnt ends and ground beef topped by sweet cream corn and peppery mashed potatoes

I might have gone for the burnt ends instead, but I had other plans for those. The third prong of OB Meat Company’s business is a cooler filled with take-and-bake dishes. Casserole-style stuff like lasagna and macaroni, packed in tin trays so you can take home and stick into the oven and a half hour later eat yourself silly. Those burnt brisket ends make an appearance here, either mixed into some mac & cheese, or embellishing a shepherd’s pie, starting at $20 for a two-person serving.

Granted, I haven’t experienced the butter-injected, bacon-wrapped chicken — but the shepherd’s pie turned out to be the tastiest thing I tried out of this still learning kitchen. Burnt-end brisket and ground beef add savor beneath a sweet layer of creamed corn, all buried under a thick crust of mashed potatoes seasoned with a bracing kick of black pepper. It’s a great way to extend the range of smoked brisket, and reveals a spark of creativity that have me checking back with the prepared food menu next time I’m shopping for steak.

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Some of the items in the butcher case at Ocean Beach Meat Company
Some of the items in the butcher case at Ocean Beach Meat Company
Place

Ocean Beach Meat Company

4853 Newport Ave., San Diego

How’s this one for timing? Shannon Nault and Bobby Kokinda signed the lease for their first food-service business at the beginning of March, 2020.

Let’s just say they wound up taking more time than they’d planned on to build out the Newport Avenue property. But they stuck with it, made a few tweaks to account for the new normal, and on Valentine’s Day of this year, the couple followed through on their dream by opening Ocean Beach Meat Company. Just like that, OB’s main drag has a butcher shop that serves BBQ and take-and-bake comfort dishes.

The owners signed a lease just before the pandemic, and finally opened Valentine's Day 2021.

The shop’s biggest immediate impact on the neighborhood may be found inside its glass counter case. There, lamb, pork, and ribs mingle with house-made sausages and midwestern steaks, including choice and prime selections. It’s a boon to Obecians looking to wean themselves from grocery store meat departments.

Part butcher shop, part BBQ counter, part take-and-bake meal purveyor

But there is a huge amount of hot food on the menu, all made from scratch, including daily specials ranging from Monday’s smoked sausage subs ($8) to Friday’s tri tip (market price). Though the presence of tri-tip suggests California grilling tradition, most of the menu suggests the central Texas influence. That means more dry-rub seasoning, rather than barbecue sauce — if you’re looking for the most obvious contrast to Barbecue House, the OB institution located down the street.

A meat box featuring dry rub baby back ribs, mac & cheese, and coleslaw

Here’s another: aside than a single table on the sidewalk, OB Meat Co. doesn’t offer much in the way of seating. It’s set up more as a take-out counter, with a sidewalk-facing take-out window built into the storefront, in case the dread purple tier returns.

Especially for taking home, the best value is going family style: sharing assorted meats and sides, building around a $24 rack of ribs and $15-a-pound pulled pork, for example. There’s no brisket, but there are brisket burnt ends at $12 per half pound. And there are enough side dishes to spend a day eating, including a saucy coleslaw, ultra creamy mac & cheese, homemade potato chips, and potato salad. Most intriguing of the sides are Texas Twinkies, a latter day Texas BBQ innovation that stuffs bacon wrapped jalapeños with a mixture of brisket and cream cheese ($6).

Simple instructions for a take-and-bake meal

Some of that over the topness extends to the chicken menu. For $25, you can order a whole, bacon-wrapped chicken ($15 for a half bird; $10 per half without the bacon). For an extra $5, you can add “flavored injections” to your poultry, where they brine the bird from the inside by injecting the likes of garlic butter or maple bourbon into the meat prior to smoking it.

Of course, this being on Newport Avenue, a lot of the food counter’s business will be like me, walking in off the street. For solo eaters, the shop offers “meat boxes,” where you get a third-pound of meat with two sides for $13. I went for mac and coleslaw with baby back ribs. Like most early afternoon ribs, they didn’t fall off the bone the way they would after a longer, slower cook. I should know better by now to wait till later in the day to give in to rib cravings.

Brisket burnt ends and ground beef topped by sweet cream corn and peppery mashed potatoes

I might have gone for the burnt ends instead, but I had other plans for those. The third prong of OB Meat Company’s business is a cooler filled with take-and-bake dishes. Casserole-style stuff like lasagna and macaroni, packed in tin trays so you can take home and stick into the oven and a half hour later eat yourself silly. Those burnt brisket ends make an appearance here, either mixed into some mac & cheese, or embellishing a shepherd’s pie, starting at $20 for a two-person serving.

Granted, I haven’t experienced the butter-injected, bacon-wrapped chicken — but the shepherd’s pie turned out to be the tastiest thing I tried out of this still learning kitchen. Burnt-end brisket and ground beef add savor beneath a sweet layer of creamed corn, all buried under a thick crust of mashed potatoes seasoned with a bracing kick of black pepper. It’s a great way to extend the range of smoked brisket, and reveals a spark of creativity that have me checking back with the prepared food menu next time I’m shopping for steak.

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