Thanks to the wonder of those group coupons sites, I found out about Bubba’s Smokehouse BBQ in La Jolla and Jake is really glad I did.
I bought the certificate on a whim – I actually bought two of them since I had some credit stored up in my account. I had never heard of this place before. Jake and I both thought it was a little weird for there to be a BBQ joint in Downtown La Jolla – it just seems kind of out of place to us. But we went one afternoon in September and decided to give it a try.
I’ve got a combination of “bad cell phone photos” and “good photos” so bear with me!
It’s a walk-up BBQ joint – you place your order at the counter and then they bring you your food. It took us FOREVER to decide what to get on our first visit. We had 2 group coupons worth $50 to spend so we tried our best to get a little bit of everything to try as much as possible.
The nice thing about Bubba’s is that they keep their sauces warmed up. They have a sweet sauce and a tangier, spicy sauce. I really, really like the sweet bbq sauce and that’s saying a lot because I’m not using a sauce person.
Iced tea in a bucket amuses me!
On that first visit we got some appetizers. These are the Corn Nuggets ($4.99) – they’re similar to hush puppies but they have corn kernels in them and they’re not as crispy. We didn’t really care for these. I thought they would be crispier with a nice crunch and a soft inside… ahh, well. There are tastier things ahead!
Bubba’s Onion Rings ($4.99) were crunchy, crispy and had a sweet kind of batter on them. The thing I didn’t like was that they fell apart after the first bite and the onions completely fell out. I thought they were just okay. Phil’s BBQ still wins the Onion Rings battle, if such a thing existed.
Here’s one of the “Bubba Combo” plates that we got. The Bubba Combo, or the Bubba’s Signature Pit Platter ($14.99) lets you choose any three meats: pulled pork, sliced or chopped brisket, pulled chicken, hot links, baby backs, Texas longhorns or 1/4 chicken. They’re also served with homemade cornbread and a side of your choice.
Above is Jake’s platter: He got a Texas Longhorn, baby back ribs, chopped brisket and BBQ beans. I know for a fact that Jake loved the brisket, a lot. He liked pretty much all of the meats he tried with such joy that he kept going inside to talk to the owner, Jeff, about the food. His head was swirling with ideas for concoctions to try, as Jeff told us he’d pretty much make anything you wanted as long as he had the time to make it in the kitchen. Jake was dreaming of brisket topped fries and a shepherd’s pie like dish with brisket on the bottom instead of ground beef. He is serious about his food!
This is my platter: I also got the Texas Longhorn plus pulled chicken, hot links and mashed potatoes. I like the beef ribs a lot – they’re tendy and juicy and are really awesome with the sweet BBQ sauce. The pulled chicken is fairly average, I was just in a chicken kind of mood that day and decided on that. I poured a lot of BBQ sauce over the chicken – really good! I also loved the hot links – not really “spicy” per say, but they have a good flavor and a nice bite.
On our first visit we also got a Bourbon Pecan Pie ($3.99). I almost forgot about the pie but they brought it out to us – straight from the oven – near the end of our meal. It’s a pretty good sized pie – it’s the whole width of one of those red baskets that they put the food in. Really excellent pie – good crust, good filling.
Here’s some photos from our more recent visit! We went back for Jake’s birthday last week. Above is a photo of Bubba’s Chili ($4.99) – with brisket added on top. Jake had this on his first visit after chatting it up with the owner for quite some time. I don’t remember what they had talked about, but somehow they got around to chili and Jeff gave Jake a bowl of chili with all of the fixings to try – and Jake now loves it so much that he says “This is the best chili I’ve ever had.” You’ll have to take his word on that though, since I’m not a big chili person. I do admit though that this is pretty good, especially with the extra brisket on top (you have to ask them to put the extra brisket on – they actually put brisket inside of the chili, too!).
This is Jake’s sandwich (T got the same sandwich both times) that he got on his birthday, it’s Bubba’s Signature Sandwich ($8.99) and comes with pulled pork, beef brisket and hot links, topped with sweet BBQ sauce on a bun. I don’t know how anyone fits this into their mouth – it’s HUGE. What I do remember from last week is that T had some leftover hot links from his sandwich that he gave to his dad. As Jake picked it up I gave him puppy dog eyes to entice him to give it to me instead, which totally worked. Score.
On our 2nd visit I decided to “make my own combo” by getting a few things “a la carte”. This is the Fried Catfish ($3.99 for one piece). Really crispy, crunchy, well seasoned and very sweet. I liked it!
I also got another one of those Texas Longhorns ($3.50 for 1 rib), being the beef rib fan that I am.
I also got a side of Mac & Cheese ($2.99 for a cup) – creamy and good, though not the best I’ve ever had. The mashed potatoes are really good – they’re actually garlic mashed potatoes and the garlic flavor comes through really well on them.
All in all, Bubba’s Smokehouse BBQ has some pretty good BBQ and some tasty side dishes. They also serve other things, such as burgers, meatloaf, “build-a-potato” (where you can fill up a baked potato with whatever you want), salads and more. The food is excellent, the service is great, the owners are super friendly, and the place is unassuming and fun. Highly recommended! And yes, I do like this more than Phil’s BBQ simply because I like their sweet sauce so much more than the tangy one at Phil’s. Their beef ribs are smaller, too, but I think just as tasty! Give it a try!
Bubba’s Smokehouse BBQ
888 Prospect Street
La Jolla, CA 92037