If I had to cook, dream or salivate over the perfect slab of ribs, this would be the place for it in my wildest fantasies. Fortunately, there is nothing wild about this fantasy, because this is a fantasy realized! They do all the proteins in a pretty awesome manner here, but they get my vote for the best ribs in San Diego….so far!! And that truly means, by far!
First, they use a 5 lb rack of ribs. Everyone else here in SD (and pretty much all over the country) uses only a 3.5 pound rack. So, right off the bat, humongous pork ribs. I mean each rib is almost a meal in itself. Just the right amount of flavorful fat on it and it is FALL OFF THE BONE GOOD!
Yep, you heard me right. I learned from their Pitmaster, Director of Food, and the man who trained me as a BBQ judge, that this is the place where fall off the bone is a good thing! Gene claims that the customers here want that, and by golly, that is what CC gives them. Where fall off the bone might indicate overcooked and dry in many restaus and in competition, here it means pretty much just the opposite. Those ribs get a 6 hour turn in their smoker and then the party starts when you sink your choppers into these meaty bones of heaven.
Their ribs are a revelation and those that truly know what a rib aficionado I am, will know that I don’t give out kudos like that lightly. While you might find ribs elsewhere that are tasty, or very meaty or tender, it’s not as easy as you might think to find all 3 in one rack….ALL THE TIME. That’s right, I’m talking consistency. It’s all important to Gene and the owners of this joint that their customers can expect the same quality every time they visit. I’ve been here at least five times and have never been disappointed…in anything they serve.
When the ribs arrived, they were so humongous, that the full rack draped over both sides of a large, oblong plate! But Gene says they usually cut the rack in thirds because of the spill over. They are succulent, meltingly tender and oh-so-smokily deloosh (my made up word so just get over it).
Their other meats also deserve a big nod. Gene knows how hard it is to cook brisket and here they do that pretty damn good too. Seasoned with just salt and pepper, you can get your beefy fix right here. Pulled pork? Yep, they got that too. Juicy, tender and generally, just deliciousness on a bun.
I’m not usually a fan of tri tip, probably because I’ve had some very tough pieces in backyard barbeques over the years. Here, it’s sliced super thin and I love that. Usually, that might be a sign that the meat is tough and they might be trying to cover that up, but no indication of that here. It’s melt in your mouth goodness with some outside char and caramelization. Here they smoke and then grill their tri tip.
Gene said that at an event a few years ago, Phil of Phil’s BBQ, watched Gene slice it that way and from then on, that’s how you could find it at Phil’s too. In the BBQ world, that’s called shigging, which is sneaking onto your competitor’s site to steal an idea or recipe. Sneaky indeed!
I’ve never had their chicken, but smoking it like they do for 4 hours, I’m sure it’s moist and seasoned just right. I don’t think Gene would have it any other way.
Another thing to love about CC is that this is one BBQ place that does not forget how important the sides are. Other than the mac ‘n cheese, which still does not blow me away here, everything else is downright yummy.
They fry up some of the best onion rings I have found. The breading is very much like a beer batter and that is my favorite kind. The beans have their pulled pork blended in and are such a perfect compliment to any meal you order here. A delicious potato salad recipe that is taken from Gene’s family and is seasoned just right with red and russet potatoes in it is also quite tasty. They do cole slaw pretty darn good too. Just the right amount of mayo with a touch of seasoning in it.
And they have an especially good corn muffin that is moist, slightly sweet and then spicy too with the addition of jalepenos. I could eat a dozen of these, but I won’t…at least not all in one sitting.
For a perfect finish, you must try their peach cobbler. It’s kind of a party-in-your-mouth experience with a wonderful buttery crust on top. Served with some vanilla ice cream and you’re gonna call it a night.
CC is also known for great breakfasts and their UFC Fight Night events. By the way, I travel 40 miles round trip for this BBQ destination. They can cater your events also.
Be sure and watch a few short videos here that I shot of Gene showing us around their giant smoker. He talks about how they use Pecan wood, as it imparts a mildly smoky hickory flavor that appeals to just about everyone.
8910 Troy St. Spring Valley
Open 7 days a week