11 Best BBQ Spots in California

Where to Find The Best Barbecue in CaliforniaCALIFORNIA - California may not be synonymous with barbecue, but don't let that fool you. The Golden State has incredible BBQ joints that satisfy even the most discerning taste buds.

11 Best BBQ Spots in California
Where to Find The Best Barbecue in California

Where to Find The Best Barbecue in California

1. Heritage Barbecue in San Juan Capistrano

One such gem is Heritage Barbecue in San Juan Capistrano. Drawing inspiration from central Texas, Heritage Barbecue delivers on flavor, offering perfectly charred meats that are juicy and tender. The smoky aroma that fills the air as you enter the restaurant sets the stage for a truly mouthwatering experience. Whether you're indulging in their melt-in-your-mouth brisket or their succulent ribs, each bite is a taste of barbecue perfection. And let's not forget about their delectable desserts. With its creamy texture and rich banana flavor, their banana pudding is the perfect way to end your barbecue feast. Or, if you prefer something more indulgent, their pineapple upside-down cake is a sweet and tangy treat that will leave you wanting more.

2. Smoked BBQ in Orange

Smoked BBQ in Orange is a popular BBQ restaurant that offers a great atmosphere for watching sports and enjoying comfort food. Started by two friends, it has become a local favorite for its delicious beer and food selection. Signature dishes like avocado fries and smoked candied bacon are perfect for starters. For the main course, customers can choose a combo plate to try different types of meat and traditional sides like coleslaw, BBQ beans, and corn on the cob. Located in Orange, Smoqued BBQ is a must-visit for BBQ lovers in the area.

3. Q Restaurant and Bar in Napa

The Q Restaurant and Bar in Napa, California, is not just your average barbecue joint. It is a contemporary and stylish establishment that offers a fresh take on Memphis-style barbecue. This casual spot is known not only for its delectable barbecue but also for its excellent deals and happy hours. Their fried chicken is highly recommended if you're in the mood for something other than barbecue. It is crispy on the outside juicy, and flavorful on the inside, making it a worthwhile trip even if you're not strictly craving barbecue. And let's not forget about their impressive selection of wines and beers that perfectly complement their mouthwatering menu.

4. Horn Barbecue in Oakland

Heading north to Oakland, you'll find Horn Barbecue, which takes its meat seriously. As you step inside, you're greeted with the mesmerizing sight of their smokers working tirelessly to create the mouthwatering meats that await you. Their trays of unfussy yet irresistible brisket pulled pork, and sausages will leave you wanting more. Each bite is a symphony of flavors that will make your taste buds dance joyfully. The combination of their perfectly smoked meats and signature sauces is a match made in barbecue heaven. And don't forget to try their unique side dishes, like their creamy mac and cheese or smoky collard greens, for the ultimate barbecue experience.

5. Craft by Smoke and Fire in Anaheim

Craft by Smoke and Fire in Anaheim takes pride in craft food and cocktails. They use 100% Halal meats to create mouthwatering dishes like short-rib birria quesadilla, Nashville hot chicken sando, and brisket burrito. Their steak dipped in fresh chimichurri sauce is also a must-try. Besides the food, Craft by Smoke and Fire is known for its signature cocktails, including the Duck Around and Find Out, which comes in a unique spraying bathtub cup with a floating rubber ducky. Located in Anaheim, this restaurant offers an artistic and delicious dining experience.

6. Moo's Craft Barbecue in Los Angeles

In the heart of Los Angeles, Moo's Craft Barbecue pays homage to the time-honored traditions of Austin, Texas. As you walk into the vibrant and lively atmosphere of the restaurant, you'll immediately be captivated by the enticing aroma of their smoked meats. Their smoky brisket is a crowd favorite, with its tender and melt-in-your-mouth texture. The flavors are enhanced by their perfectly balanced rub and the hours of slow smoking that goes into every piece of meat. And if you're looking for a spicy kick, their sausages, packed with cheddar and jalapeños, are a delicious twist on a classic. You'll feel like you've been transported to the Lone Star State with every bite.

7. Bad to the Bone BBQ in San Juan Capistrano

Bad to the Bone BBQ in San Juan Capistrano is known for its natural pit BBQ, slow-cooked over pecan wood for incredible flavor. Start your meal with crispy fried pickles and follow it up with their delicious baby back ribs. The menu at Bad to the Bone BBQ is extensive and offers various options. Owned by an Oklahoma cowboy and show-jumping horse trainer, this place has a rustic and rodeo-inspired vibe. Their signature sauces and dry rubs are also available for purchase. Located in San Juan Capistrano, this BBQ spot is a must-visit for authentic and tasty BBQs.

8. Pig in a Pickle in Corte Madera

If you find yourself in Corte Madera, stop by Pig in a Pickle. This restaurant takes pride in using humanely raised and hormone-free meats. Their commitment to quality is apparent from the moment you taste their food. Each bite of their pulled pork practically melts in your mouth, leaving behind a smoky and savory flavor that lingers. And their 18-hour smoked brisket is an actual labor of love. The tender meat falls apart with every bite, and the rich and smoky flavor makes it worth the wait. You'll be rewarded with bold, smoky, and unforgettable flavors.

9. Big Sur Smokehouse in Big Sur

And lastly, Big Sur Smokehouse is a hidden gem that offers meat platters bursting with flavor. Tucked away in the picturesque coastal town of Big Sur, this charming farmhouse-style restaurant is a true delight for both the senses and the palate. The rustic and cozy atmosphere creates the perfect ambiance for their mouthwatering BBQ. The show's star is their expertly smoked meats, which are perfectly seasoned and cooked. Each bite is a burst of bold flavors that will leave an impression. But what sets Big Sur Smokehouse apart is its creative and smoky sauces. From tangy Carolina mustard to sweet and spicy Kansas City-style, these sauces add an extra layer of deliciousness to an already memorable meal.

10. Dr. Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas BBQ in Los Angeles

Dr. Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas BBQ is a renowned barbecue destination in Los Angeles and a historic landmark in the city. Established in 1969, this iconic restaurant has been serving delicious sweet and smoky ribs that have gained a loyal following over the years. The ribs are slow-cooked to perfection, resulting in tender, fall-off-the-bone meat that melts in your mouth. Their secret sauce is a true delight, complementing the flavors of the beef and adding an extra layer of deliciousness. Don't forget to pair your ribs with their homemade pickles, providing a delightful tangy crunch that balances the meat's richness.

11. Bull's Smokin' BBQ in San Diego

Bull's Smokin' BBQ is a must-visit if you find yourself in San Diego craving slow-cooked, Texas-style barbecue. Locals and visitors flock to this vibrant spot to indulge in perfectly cooked meats. Whether you're in the mood for ribs or salmon, you can rest assured that Bull's Smokin' BBQ will treat the meat with the utmost care and attention. The slow cooking process ensures the meat is incredibly tender and flavorful. What sets this casual establishment apart is the added treats they offer. They provide bones for dogs, allowing your furry friends to enjoy a treat of their own while you savor your meal. Additionally, free ice cream for kids is a sweet gesture that makes Bull's Smokin' BBQ an ideal spot for the whole family to enjoy.

From north to south, California has plenty of barbecue spots that will leave you craving more. So, if you're in the mood for mouthwatering meats and unforgettable flavors, look no further than these 11 restaurants that prove great BBQ can be found anywhere.