I apologize in advance for the blech photos, but this is what happens when you use a malfunctioning camera in low lighting. Flash does this food no justice.
When people want great barbecue in San Diego, the first thought that comes to mind is Phil’s BBQ. Every night there is a line out the door and around the corner, so we thought by going at 4:30pm on a Sunday would be in the door in no time.
We waited in line for an hour. So the question is, was it worth it?
When you finally get to the front of the line, you wait your turn to order at the counter. The cashier gives you your receipt and a buzzer, and you find your own table and wait until your order is ready to pick up. Less than 10 minutes went by before all our food was ready. We ordered a full rack of baby back ribs, with fries and baked beans, and a half BBQ chicken with mac salad and coleslaw. We shared a humungous platter of battered onion rings with the couple we dined with.
The baby back ribs were seasoned with a dry rub, and we dipped them in BBQ sauce on the side. The seasoning wasn’t overpowering, and the meat was tender and smoky and flavorful. The fries were ok, and I didn’t try the baked beans but I heard they were pretty good, with a smoky flavor.
The BBQ half chicken was slathered in BBQ sauce, which was fine by me. The dark meat was juicy and captured all the smoky flavor wonderfully, but the white meat was a bit on the dry side. I guess it happens since it was probably smoked, the put on the grill right before it’s served. The coleslaw was amazing and the mac salad was tasty.
These monstrous onion rings were to die for. They were as big as my face. I ate 3 of them (ok ok, the 3rd one was puny but still counts). The thick batter was satisfyingly crunchy. The onion didn’t slither out like they usually do in other places, and they held up well with the batter. I’d order a plate of these for myself if I didn’t fear for my health.
We compared Phil’s to another joint we liked on the East Coast, Dinosaur BBQ. Which one was better? It’s a tough call. For the sides, I would say that Phil’s has better onion rings and coleslaw, while Dinosaur has their cajun corn and fried green tomatoes. For the chicken, both places are a tie. For the ribs…..it’s hard to compare since they’re different. I guess it depends on your preference. Phil’s has a more smoky, meaty taste, and Dinosaur has strong, tangy kick in every bite. Sometimes it gets to be overpowering, if you like that sort of thing. If you don’t want to burp and taste ribs all night, I’d recommend Phil’s.
We’ll add this place to our favorites whenever we crave BBQ. But we probably won’t wait in line that long again. Good thing you can phone in your order and pick it up.
Phone: 619 226-6333
3750 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110