I’m a big fan of BBQ, but for some reason, most places I’ve tried outside of Texas, Missouri and the Carolinas seem clueless as to how to get it right. I was pleasantly surprised when my friend and I went to Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill in San Diego’s Mission Valley. We were both surprised to see a good crowd already there at 6 pm on a Tuesday evening. Once we tasted the food, it was no surprise at all why this place does so well. On top of that, all wine is half-off on Tuesdays.
Our server Alfonso immediately made us feel right at home. This location, there are 16 altogether, has been open for four years and he’s been there from the start. He took our drink orders immediately, Oyster Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanch for her, Meiomi Pinot Noir for me, and we began to peruse the menu.
Alfonso was extremely helpful and when he saw we had a tough time deciding between the artichoke and spinach dip and the Buffalo cauliflower, he suggested we try both and said he would bring out a half order of each. I’m not a cauliflower fan, but this was very tasty! They looked like Buffalo wings and had a very nice texture and flavor, served with carrot and celery slices and blue cheese dressing. The spinach and artichoke dip came with tortilla chips and salsa. Both were a perfect way to begin our dining adventure.
He checked to see if we liked cocktails and we answered with a resounding yes! We looked over the cocktail menu, featuring three different margaritas, an extensive whiskey cocktail selection as well as several other options. I went with the WR Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned. Made with whiskey from a barrel exclusively for Wood Ranch, it was crafted with fresh orange zest, cherry bitters, and Luxardo and served with a singular large ice cube. My companion chose the Newport lemonade, made with Ketel One vodka, mint, cucumber, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and simple syrup. Each was delicious and refreshing.
There were more difficult decisions to make. We decided on the BBQ chopped salad with tri-tip. A bed of mixed green is surrounded by grape tomatoes and topped with corn, black beans, carrots, tortilla chips, Monterey Jack, cilantro and scallions and chunks of BBQ trip-tip. It easily could have been a meal by itself. We followed that with a BBQ combo plate of brisket, baby back ribs and Carolina pulled pork. This bountiful plate was accompanied by sides of smashed sweet potatoes and peanut coleslaw. All three meats were packed with smoky flavor and tender and moist. Mind you, we split a salad and split an entree and there was a lot left for our doggie bags.
We chuckled when he suggested dessert, but relented and went with the peach cobbler. With a perfect crumble of whole grains, brown sugar and cinnamon atop piping hot Freestone peaches and a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream, it was a delightful finish to a lovely evening. Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill offers a great selection of food and exceptional service. We couldn’t have been more pleased with Alfonso, who was attentive, helpful and very knowledgeable. Located in the Hazard Center at 7510 Hazard Center Drive. Call (619) 764-4411.