As a Cal Poly, SLO graduate, I have strong feelings for a good tri-tip sandwich. Purists out there may argue over “real” barbeque and “authentic” tri-tip, but if you’ve been to San Luis Obispo and to Firestone (the restaurant, not the tire place), you know what a good tri-tip sandwich is. Sadly, no one makes it like Firestone, so you’re left to dream about how good it is, on the toasty bun, with the slightly sweet bbq sauce and the tender slices of beef.
T and I have been to quite a few bbq places, both in and out of San Diego, and we find our favorite is Phil’s BBQ for most things (pulled pork, onion rings, beans, ribs). We heard that Brett’s BBQ in 4S Ranch wasn’t that great and that a Joey’s Smokin’ BBQ was opening up in Carmel Mountain. On a night when I may or may not have been pouty due to hunger, we ended up at Joey’s and we really did well with our selections. I had to try their tri-tip sandwich and T got the sampler plate with the brisket, pulled pork, and baby back ribs. We also got a cornbread muffin, baked beans, mac ‘n cheese (I think), and collard greens.
I am very sorry that I have no pictures to show you, but this is why I will probably never become a “food blogger”: I get so excited when the food arrives that I just jump right in before I even think about the possibility of taking a picture. So, you’ll just have to go to the website and look at their pictures. It looks pretty much the same.
The ribs were good, but T says that’s basically cheating to use baby back ribs – of course, they’re going to be tender and tasty. Whatever. I really enjoyed them. The pulled pork was actually a little too wet and mushy for my tastes. I would have liked it drier and maybe a little crispier – much like the pulled pork at Phil’s. Incidentally, while trying out Joey’s wet bbq sauce and the sweet bbq sauce, we realized we really don’t like the bbq sauce at Phil’s (sorry, Phil). It’s too sweet. Joey’s wet bbq sauce over Phil’s pulled pork would be perfect. Anyway, back to our meal, the brisket was out of this world. So soft and beefy, with enough sauce to add flavor but not so much to overpower the meat. So good. I would be happy to order just a plate of the brisket on our next visit. Mmm…
I will concede that they make a good tri-tip sandwich, with melted cheese, tomatoes, and grilled onions. The meat is soft and bite-able and it’s a satisfying sandwich. But, it’s no Firestone’s. Still, if you are looking for a good tri-tip and aren’t sullied by the memory of Firestone, I recommend you try Jeoy’s.
Now for the sides… the beans were pretty good, the mac ‘n cheese was okay, and the collard greens were kind of standard. You know, good but not outstanding. I have issues with the cornbread, though. I admit that cornbread is hard to do. You either get one that’s too cakey or one that’s too dry and coarse. If you had to choose, you’d always choose the cakey over dry. Joey’s is more like a cornbread cupcake, very moist and light and sweet, but not very cornbread-like. It’s almost like dessert rather than a side. Still, it’s worth eating and you won’t be sorry you finished it. Now, if you want an awesome cornbread, go find yourself a House of Blues and get the one that comes in the skillet.
I’m happy we have a good bbq joint closer to home, especially one that has a decent bbq sauce. T isn’t convinced that it’s better than he can make at home, but at least we don’t have to wait 9 hours for bbq when we crave it on a whim.
I’ll have to pop in there for a tri-tip sammich the next time I do a Trader Joes run.
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