Since this review was published in 2017, Primtive Smoke is no longer owned by the guys below. It is now owned by another entity and I can not vouch for the quality of this place. Old owners below are currently searching for a new place and I’ll review that when it happens. Mercy Baron 11/1/17
And once again, I’m drawn to the seaside town of Pacific Beach to try yet another new BBQ place in San Diego. Is there some kind of conscious shift with pit masters being lured to this bustling land of frat boys, heavy duty weekend partiers and lovely sandy beaches otherwise known as PB?? Not sure, but along with the damn good BBQ of Iron Pig Alehouse, whose Chef is from Texas, and the smoked meats coming out of Backyard Kitchen and Tap, comes the new kid in town, Primitive Smoke BBQ.
Owner, Brandon Haynie, is from Montana with formal training in the industry at Le Cordon Bleu College in Scottsdale, AZ Along with his Executive Chef, Jermaine Spotwood, who hails from Oklahoma, they’ve come up with some seriously good BBQ. They honed their skills at various places (watch above video) and ended up working together on a BBQ joint, which they thought San Diego was lacking when they decided to live the dream of opening their own place.
The place is currently very tiny, with only 3 tables on the street and 3 stools next to the ordering window. But Brandon informed me that they are knocking out the wall where the stools are and expanding into the storefront for rent next door. This is after only a month and half he said when I questioned if the young biz had already justified the expansion.
Their menu has some interesting items on it that I can’t wait to try on my next visit such as, the Bamm-Bamm Rubble “Club.” This is a peach smoked all natural turkey leg candied in a cranberry-sage and dusted with Hot Tamale Powder. Damn-damn that sounds good! I also love the fact that all their meat has no antibiotics or hormones in it. This is one of the things the BBQ industry does get dinged on. Most places don’t go that extra mile to serve humanely raised meats. So, you can eat here without any guilty conscience. Their proteins are never frozen. The meats are also served Market Style, or by the pound. The only other place I know doing that here in San Diego is Grand Ole BBQ, another favorite. This means that if you want to order a bit of everything, it won’t break the bank. The Que is served until they sell out. So don’t get upset if you go late in the day or night and they’re out of your favorite meat. You can’t just start smoking a brisket in the middle of the day and expect a 14 hour cook on a meat to be done in time for the store hours. This is the way it’s been done all over the country for many years. We’re just not used to that here in California. Yes, that does mean that they come in at night to start cooking for y’all!
The boys are using hickory and peach woods to smoke their meats. As Brandon explains here….
Their ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken and sausage are all tender, juicy and very flavorful with a delicious smokiness. Now, I’m not usually able to put all those superlatives into one sentence and applying it to all the meat on most anyone’s menu. But pictured here, on their Caveman Sampler, which allows you to try all of their meats, it’s well deserved. The ribs pull easily away from the bone and don’t fall off. This makes them competition worthy in tenderness and style. They don’t slather BBQ sauce on anything, but serve a mildly spicy and an even spicier one on the side. The sampler is served with extra thick slices of white bread to make a sandwich or to just dip in some sauce. I can’t be filling up on those kind of carbs when I gotta make room in my tummy for the meats!
The brisket, which by any standards, is most people’s favorite cut of meat when it comes to Que, is a stand out. The bark is just salt and pepper, crunchy and the fat is very prevalent, THANK THE BBQ GODS! Because if I go to ONE MORE damn place that cuts the fat cap off their briskets and a lot of their other meats (you know who you are!), I’m going to have to sit down for a very long cry. This is a crime against the hallowed and beloved rules of cooking and BBQ everywhere. The FLAVOR IS IN THE FAT! If you’re worried about the fat, then cut it off when it gets to your plate. Better yet, don’t desecrate that piece of heaven and go somewhere else to eat! If I had anything negative to say about the hardest piece of meat to cook, even in competition, which is brisket, is that the smaller end of it was a bit dried out, which is easy to do since it’s there’s so much less meat on the end or the side of the flat. Every other bite of it was quite moist. This drove Brandon crazy to hear because he wants his Que to be perfect. I like that in a pitmaster!
I’m always harping about the sides at BBQ places, because I feel in the past, they have been relegated to meh-land. Lately, most of the new places I eat at, have made stars out of their sides too and Primitive is no exception. We chose their bacon-bourbon baked beans. Just the right amount of smokey and sweet applied there. For our second choice, we picked their cream of corn with bacon. Both were STANDOUTS! I could drink that liquid in the cream corn…WOWZA! We ended up also tasting their potato salad, which was excellent and their cole slaw, also very good and not over, nor under dressed with the mayo. They also have pickled okra, which I loved and it tasted basically like a pickle. Brandon says I’ve got to try their green chile mac & cheese next time. Don’t have to twist my arm. They do serve french fries called Fire & Ice sticks, but I’m not sure why. Gotta leave some mystery! They have all the Coca-Cola products and their own house made Peach tea and Strawberry Lemonade.
They also offer catering services and those prices are on their web site. They are closed on Monday because BBQ dudes gotta take a rest some time!
1037 Garnet Ave
San Diego, CA 92109
11 am-Sell OUT