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Local News

By Leah Masterson 

Sunday, May 25, 2008

To tourists and new residents, San Diego seems like the land of eternal summers. But ask any local and he or she will say there’s a distinct shift in the attitude, weather and overall mentality that marks summer.

Several activities accompany the transition — buying bathing suits, rounding up camping gear and preparing the essential summertime accessory: the barbecue.

This is the ultimate barbecue guide for the summer, from new grills on the market to techniques and tips from local barbecue experts:

The right sauce

Russ Bruhn is the founder of Carlsbad Gourmet, a company that makes strawberry-based sauces, spreads, dressings, vinegars and mustards. He teamed up with Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido, Pizza Port Brewing Company in Carlsbad and Green Flash Brewing Company in Vista to produce a unique line of barbecue sauces using local beer.

“The results are amazing barbecue sauces made with that local San Diego twang,” Bruhn said.

The line includes Stone Ruination IPA Curry Mustard Grilling sauce, the Stone Smoked Porter & Pasilla Pepper BBQ Sauce, the Carlsbad Chronic Bar-B-Que Sauce and the Ruby Red Strawberry Bar-B-Que Sauce.

Everyone’s entitled

When it comes to barbecue, everyone has a different opinion.

“The barbecue industry is the funniest industry I’ve ever worked in,” said Joey Maggiore, owner of Joey’s Smokin B-B-Q in Carlsbad. “Everyone is a backyard barbecue enthusiast, and everyone has their secrets.”

Maggiore grew up in the restaurant business, learning the trade from his father, who owned and operated several Italian restaurants.

He decided to open up a restaurant to fill an unmet need for barbecue.

“We knew this was a great town for barbecue, but no one except Phil’s (BBQ) was offering it,” Maggiore said. “It just took off. We’re opening our ninth restaurant right now in San Diego.”

He had a few basic tips for cooking ribs.

“Baby back ribs are the best,” said Maggiore, who suggested buying two and a quarter pounds, and peeling off the membrane on the back of the ribs. “We marinade ours in a dry rub, and then let it sit in Coca-Cola for 48 hours. The Coke gives it a nice dark color and breaks down the meat a little bit, and makes it more sweet and tender.”

He then puts it in a smoker at 220 degrees and lets it cook over hickory for seven hours.

He said a grill will work, too, at 200 degrees for about five hours — flipping them half way through.

Maggiore offered something most barbecue aficionados take to their grave: the recipe to his barbecue sauce. In the tradition of the industry, he said he had to leave out one or two secret ingredients, but they shouldn’t have much affect on the taste.

Trade secrets

Russ Stanley, kitchen manager at Famous Dave’s in Vista, said the restaurant smokes its meat anywhere from two to eight hours before it hits the grill, and he couldn’t say much else.

“Famous Dave’s is pretty protective of their barbecue secrets,” he said. These are a few personal tips from Stanley, who’s been manning the grill since he was a kid.

Never throw cold ribs on the grill. The colder the meat, the tougher it will be.

“If you choose to boil your ribs instead of smoke them, make sure they go straight to the grill,” he said. “If they cool off, you run the risk of the meat being too tough.”

It’s all about temperature.

“You don’t want to overcook and burn the meat. A good temperature for steak is about 155 degrees inside, for medium rare,” said Stanley, who recommended 165 degrees for a steak cooked medium and 165 degrees for chicken.

Stanley’s personal cooking technique for a tri-tip steak on a charcoal grill: Heat the coals and separate them to either side of the grill, leaving no coals in the middle. Put the tri-tip in the middle of the grill and cook for 45 minutes. Don’t turn or flip the steak. “The fat on the bottom protects the meat so it doesn’t burn,” said Stanley, who used to enjoy this favorite with his dad when he was a kid.

“A little garlic salt and pepper, that’s all you need,” he said.

Cue up your Q this Memorial Day

You can get started on the delicious Pulled Pork Here!

Joey’s Sweet Sauce


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 white onion (chopped)
12 cloves fresh garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 ham hocks
Two 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 ¾ cups red wine vinegar
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper.


Sauté onions and garlic in vegetable oil until soft and add the remaining ingredients.

Bring to boil stirring constantly, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Maggiore’s beef brisket


1 beef brisket
¼ cup liquid smoke
2 cups Coca-Cola
½ cup Joey’s Smokin’ Dry Rub
16 ounces Joey’s Sweet Sauce


The night before you plan to serve, place the brisket in a glass container

and pour Coca-Cola and liquid smoke over the meat. Allow it to marinate overnight.

The next day remove the meat from the marinade and rub liberally with dry rub.

Pour Joey’s Sweet Sauce over the brisket and cover with foil. Bake for four hours at 300 degrees.

Coleslaw dressing


½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper.


Combine all ingredients and mix
thoroughly. Pour over shredded green cabbage.

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