Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Southern BBQ in North County

Update 3/20/12:  As of a few weeks ago, ApeHangers is no more.  Unfortunately, the city wouldn't permit their smoker.

After spending college in the South, I love me some Southern BBQ.  Slow smoked, tender, juicy, meaty goodness.  But where to find non-barbacoa BBQ in San Diego?  Some will no doubt say Phil's, but once you've had real Southern barbecue, Phil's not-so-tender pulled pork and ketchupy sauce does not cut it.  Well last year Randy and Charli Brown filled the void, opening ApeHangers Grill in Oceanside.  Randy mans the smoker and Charli--a South Carolina transplant-- serves up some wonderful Southern-style sides and desserts, from fried okra to banana puddin'.

From the smoker, they serve up Carolina pulled pork, Texas-style brisket, Memphis ribs, and (of course) California tri-tip, all finished with a sweet and spicy KC BBQ sauce, which comes in three varieties: sweet, regular, and spicy.  The spicy sauce is perfect--enough kick to make you gasp, but sweet enough to go down smooth.  From the fryer, delicious fired okra and zucchini, awesome hot wings (including the deadly 100 mph wings), and my favorite dish, the fried catfish po' boy with aioili and slaw, which I've had on about 90% of my visits.  Wash it down with a great selection of mostly local craft beer and wine-based cocktails.

The name and decor might lead you to think that ApeHangers is a biker bar.  Though plenty of motorcycles may be parked out front, it is not.  The staff and regulars are a friendly as can be, even a Raiders-Chargers game is a good time.  So next time you're looking for BBQ in North County, do yourself a favor.  Skip the looooong lines at Phil's and give ApeHangers a shot.

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