Best BBQ In San Diego

Best BBQ in San Diego
Joe Squatch

Joe Squatch

September 28, 2022

The southernmost city of California’s majestic Pacific coast may not be the BBQ pilgrimage that cities like Austin and Memphis are to barbeque-lovers, but don’t let that put you off.

San Diego has a thriving BBQ scene that sees meat-smoking pros serving patrons seriously high-level barbeque of all styles and varieties.

Best BBQ in San Diego

We’re talking all the naughtiest stuff like pulled pork, beef ribs, beef brisket, and chicken every which way. San Diego is a thriving metropolis that has the Pacific ocean on its doorstep and Mexico a stone’s throw away.

For this reason, it’s a desirable place to live for people from all walks of life.

The ethnicity of the locals translates into vibrant food culture and barbeque is a big part of that. So strap yourself in and get ready because this San Diego barbeque takes no prisoners – we hope you’re hungry. 

1. Space Kat BBQ

Address: 3365 India St, San Diego, CA 92103

If you ever needed a reason to visit San Diego, it’s Space Kat BBQ. Tucked out the back of Middle-town’s iconic dive bar The Aero Club, Space Kat is a funky food truck that takes its barbeque very seriously.

Owned and operated by smoking-pro Jack Zizzo, expect big portions of chopped smoky brisket, half-pound pulled pork, bone-in chicken thighs, and all the stuffed and cheesy jalapeno poppers you could ever need.

Open Thursday to Sunday from 4 pm until sell-out, this is the perfect place to kill an afternoon in style and barbeque. 

2. Park 101

Address: 3040 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Park 101 up in Carlsbad is an 8,000-square-foot contemporary space where all the cool kids hang.

With insanely good cocktails, local music, outdoor dining, striped umbrellas, and big LED screens for movie nights, Park 101 is a shining example of where the future is headed.

The other thing that they are known for is traditional BBQ fare with a Southern Cali twist (Also check out the Best BBQ In Louisville). They’ve got it all at Park 101 – brisket, chicken, pulled pork, tuna steak fries.

If you want to try something exciting and unique skip the brisket and head straight for the BBQ charbroiled oysters, you won’t look back. 

3. Smokin’ J’s BBQ

Address: 14035 Midland Rd, Poway, CA 92064

Smokin’ J’s BBQ is a humble counter-service eatery down in Poway that does barbeque that is anything but basic.

Owned by a dynamic brotherly dup in Jeremy and Josh, they have perfected the art of smoking barbeque and people line up around the corner for it.

Jeremy is a barbeque guru who has developed the low-and-slow technique of smoking which involved hand-stoking the meat coals every 45 minutes, without fail.

The result is some of the most tender meat you ever did try. Pork shoulder, baby back rib racks, split chickens, you name it, and Jeremy is low-and-slowing it.

Another thing that the BBQing brothers have perfected is their pecan pie – if you have the room, we suggest you partake in a slice. 

4. Grand Ole BBQ 

Address: 3302 32nd St, San Diego, CA 92104

With a name like Grand Ole BBQ, its owners could only be from Texas. If you’re in San Diego and you have an insatiable urge for true Texas-style BBQ, you go to Grand Ole – it’s just what you do (Also check out the Best Fried Chicken In San Diego).

This casual eatery has an inviting atmosphere with a large wooden patio that features picnic tables, fire pits, and plenty of shade.

Though they specialize in Texan BBQ, that’s not all they do at Grand Ole.

With a delectable lineup of sides that include coleslaw, white beans, and bacon bites to name but a few, it is an easy thing to come hungry and leave stuffed when taking a trip down to good old Grand Ole BBQ. 

Best BBQ in San Diego (1)

5. The Pig’s Gig BBQ

Address: 2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

If you have visited San Diego before, you might have let your scent take you to the pork-centric bites of the Mastiff Sausage Company.

Well, The Pig’s Gig is their new venture and it does not disappoint. 12-hour smoked brisket, 10-hour pulled pork, hot links, and pulled chicken is the stuff of dreams, and it is all available down at The Pig’s Gig.

Not only that, but they also have a solid range of homemade sauces and sides for you to dip and delight in. Tacos, nachos, loaded mac and cheese, and sandwiches, ensure this venture a San Diego sensibility (Also check out the Best Tacos In Albuquerque). 

6. Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ

Address: 1127 Morena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110

Morena Boulevard is where you’ll find Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ, and it is here that you will also find the best beef brisket in town.

We know that is a big call, and the perfect beef brisket often comes down to personal preference, but locals and visitors alike will all tell you that Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ does it best. 

The decor is casual, the vibe is authentic, and the patio is dog-friendly, if you were put off by the hip feels of Patio 101, you will feel right at home at this low-key eatery.

A product of its environment, Morena is one of the most chill neighborhoods in all of San Diego, and, brisket aside, is well worth a visit.

Another feature in the smokin’ cap of this establishment is its claim to the largest beef ribs in the world. Don’t believe them? Try it for yourself and you will see, that Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ is no joke. 


As you can see, San Diego isn’t all margaritas, surf, and taquitos, the oceanside city does barbeque better than the next town too (Also check out the The Very Best Thai Food In San Diego). We don’t know about you, but barbeque holds a near and dear place in our hearts.

Capturing the essence of good old-fashioned All-American fare while bringing the community together is what good barbeque joints do on the daily.

Whether you would prefer to kick it with the cool kids at Patio 101 or tackle the largest beef rib rack in the world at Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ, we hope this article has inspired you to head to San Diego and tuck in. 

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