Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Phil's BBQ

Last night Mandy and I met some friends in Santee for dinner, and they suggested Phil's BBQ since they have never been to one.  Lately I have been disappointed by places claiming "award winning" BBQ that turned out to be less than good...  However, when it comes to Phil's, having been to the Point Loma location several times, I knew it was going to be good.

When we arrived the line was at the 19 minute mark, but didn't take that long to get through the door and up to the greeter who was very helpful and tagged my cohorts as Phil's virgins.  The concept at Phil's is simple, chicken, beef ribs, or pork ribs.  They have a few burger options and a pulled pork sandwich, but I think this is what makes them so consistent and good.  You pick your meat, and side, pay at the counter, find a seat, and typically within 5 minutes, your meal is ready.

Mandy and I both ordered the pork ribs, Kris and Will ordered the chicken.  The ribs were done perfectly, and had a good flavor.  They weren't over sauced so I could taste the flavor of the grilled ribs, the sauce added just enough sweetness to the flavor profile.  I sampled a little bit of the chicken as well and it was actually juicy and flavorful.  I am not typically a fan of chicken at restaurants because it seems to be overcooked and dry, but this chicken was done perfectly.

If I had to complain about anything, and it really isn't a complaint (more of a personal preference), it was the sweet tea.  The tea tasted kind of bitter, almost like it was Splenda and not sugar, but I couldn't pinpoint it.  As a sweet tea junkie it is hard to find one that measures up to what I will call Jenny's Sweet Tea.  Growing up my friend's mom made the best sweet tea in the world... I think the sugar to tea ratio was about 7oz of sugar to ever 1oz of tea! It was kid crack and once you had a glass you couldn't stop going back for more.  So I will cut Phil's some slack on the tea.

If you haven't had it, it is worth the visit.  If you make a trip to San Diego, it is worth a detour.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Smoked Pork Shoulder

Today I fired up the beast for an early morning smoke.  I am starting to delve into the world of sauces and needed something to test my creations on, so a pork shoulder fit the bill quite nicely.  I used my standard method for smoking my pork shoulder, the only exception being, I rubbed it in spicy mustard prior to applying my rub.

I left the skin on the shoulder, just cutting it back, rubbing in the spices, and folding it back.  I then put it on the smoker skin side down, so the skin can act as a shield for the meat.  Since this was a 10lb shoulder I left it on the smoker for 11hrs at 225-250 degrees using a mixture of apple and oak logs.  When I do pork I like to mop it occasionally to keep it moist.  I do a modified mop, and spray it with a mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar about once every two hours soaking it down quickly and closing the lid to limit heat loss.

As for the sauce, I really like vinegar based sauces from the Piedmont region of North Carolina, but being a Virginia boy I wanted to do a Virginia style sauce.  Fortunately it is very similar in style to the Piedmont Sauce, but with a touch of mustard and hot sauce.  I of course added my own touches since I can never leave well enough alone.  Leave it to me to change a perfectly good recipe.  But it was good none the less. (Note to self, ensure you always have a sweet sauce in supply for Mandy...)


When I pulled the shoulder off the smoker I could tell by the feel of it in my hands it was perfect. I pulled, chopped and sliced the hunk of amazingness until all that was left was bone and skin... Needless to say we had tasty pulled pork sandwiches and some of Mandy's Mac'n Mac and Cheese.