BBQ Review – Coop’s BBQ

December 18th, 2013

Name: Coops BBQ
Address: 2625 Lemon Grove Ave. Lemon Grove, CA. 91945

Date of Visit: August 10th 2013

Keep an eye out for this place or you may pass it by without realizing it. I barely saw it at the last minute and had to turn around. It’s in a very small strip mall so keep your eyes peeled. Also, there are very few tables inside and only a few 4-top tables. So you may have to wait a while if you are not ordering take out.

This is clearly a family run business and you can tell that they put a lot of sweat and love into the food they make.

BBQ Style: West Texas

Food Ordered:

  • Pork Ribs
  • Rib Tips
  • Pulled Pork
  • Beef Brisket
  • Corn Bread
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Baked Beans
  • Peach Cobbler


Food Review: 

  • Pork Ribs - The ribs were the best part of my meal with the exception of silver skin. It’s truly unfortunate it was not removed before cooking or I may have considered this to be one of the best ribs I have had in a long time.
  • Rib Tips – The rib tips had a tremendous amount of flavor, but unfortunately they were over cooked. Many of my pieces were very chewy and burnt.
  • Pulled Pork – The pulled pork tasted a bit like carnitas to me. This is usually a sign that the meat has been boiled or cooked in a crock pot, but I am pretty sure this was not the case as it had a good amount of smoke ring on it. The sandwich portion was huge and there was plenty of left over meat to take home. I wasn’t able to confirm with them how it was cooked, but I am suspecting some sort of jerk seasoned injection.
  • Beef Brisket – The brisket was a bit undercooked as it didn’t pass the pull test. The flavor was great though and it had a wonderful smoke ring. I would definitely try this again as it was almost perfect, I may have got a piece that was not quite done.
  • Corn Bread – The corn bread was horribly dry and very gritty. I would avoid it.
  • Mac and Cheese – The flavor of the Mac & Cheese was very nice, but the dish was on the dry/crumbly side. I think if they added more moisture to the mix, it would be the perfect side dish.
  • Baked Beans – OMG! These were the best beans I have ever had. I didn’t expect them to taste very well as most places use canned beans. They added a twist to their beans by adding pineapple chunks. This added a nice sweet flavor to the beans. Don’t pass these up.
  • Peach Cobbler – The peach cobbler was just OK. The peaches were really good, but the crust/cobbler part was gooey and doughy. I think it might have been a little undercooked. If you plan to eat in, they will hold the cobbler until you are ready for it. This was very nice of them and ensures it comes out hot.


Darkavich’s BBQ rating: I give it an 7 out of 10.

BBQ Review – Lil’Piggy’s Bar-B-Q

December 17th, 2013

Name: Lil’Piggy’s Bar-B-Q
Address: Coronado Ferry Landing 1201 First Street, Coronado, CA 92118

Date of Visit: June 16th 2012 (yes, I know it’s been over a year)

This BBQ place is located at the Coronado Ferry Landing. There are lots of shops to visit while you wait for a table and a wonderful view of the San Diego harbor.

BBQ Style: Memphis

Food Ordered:

  • Pork Ribs
  • Pulled Pork
  • Beef Brisket
  • Corn Fritters
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Po’ Tater Salad

The atmosphere of the place has the feel of a traditional boardwalk food joint with picnic bench tables that have a great view of the harbor and perfect for people watching. Be prepared to wait for a table on the weekend.

Food Review: 

  • Pork Ribs – The ribs were cooked perfectly and had a very nice sweet flavor. They serve baby back ribs rather than spare ribs. Which is fine, but most baby back ribs have less meat than spare ribs. So calculate that into your pricing. While I prefer a dry rubbed rib, the sauce used on their ribs was a pleasant surprise and it enhance the flavors of the meat.
  • Brisket – The Brisket was cooked well and passed the pull test. The flavor of the meat was bland though and the meat was a little chewy.
  • Pulled Pork – The pulled pork was well seasoned and the perfect tenderness. Unfortunately, one of our sandwiches came out with a ton of fat in the sandwich. Lack of attention when making the sandwich seems to be a real problem in many BBQ places. This was the only negative comment I have about the pulled pork. I would highly recommend it, just make sure you tell them to be sure there is no fat in it.
  • The sides were good, but the Corn Fritters are to die for. Their honey butter is delicious. You will want a side as an appetizer as well as a dessert.

This was a pleasant change from our previous review. I highly recommend this place, but the prices are a little higher than normal BBQ places. I think this is because of their location. It’s a premier spot and people are willing to pay a little extra when tourists.

Darkavich’s BBQ rating: I give it an 8 out of 10.


BBQ Review – Bulls BBQ

December 17th, 2013

Name: Bull’s BBQ
Address: 1127 West Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA 92110

Date of Visit: June 2nd 2012 (yes, I know it’s been over a year)

This BBQ place is located in an area of town that is a bit tough to find parking if you don’t know the area. I recommend that you park on the side streets and walk to the location as there are many one-way streets here.

BBQ Style: Texas

Food Ordered:

  • Pork Ribs
  • Pulled Pork
  • Beef Brisket
  • Bull’s Beans
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Cole Slaw

This being my first official review I had high hopes of a great BBQ place. The atmosphere of the place is nice and they have an outdoor patio where you can watch football on their projector screen. This location is very dog friendly and they provide bones from the previous days left overs. During our time there, we saw at least a dozen dogs with their owners come in and be given bones.

Service was good, but we were the second customers of the day.

Food Review: 

  • Pork Ribs – The bite into the rib meat was good, not overcooked and rich with flavor. The disappointment came when I bit through the meat and hit silver-skin. It caught and tore off the bone. This is a pet peeve of mine. Ribs should be properly trimmed and prepared before cooking. Leaving the silver-skin on leads to one of two things; being chewy or pulling off like skin. Both of these are not appetizing. This shows to me a lack of care in preparing the food, or a tendency to overcooking the meat so that you have to keep the skin on the meat to keep it from failing off the bone. (No visible smoke ring)
  • Brisket – The look, smell and taste of the brisket was not to my liking. The meat looked very overcooked and had an odd odor. When I picked up the piece of brisket it didn’t bend at all, it was very stiff. When I bit into it, it tasted like leather and it failed the pull test. I was unable to get it to separate. (No visible smoke ring).
  • Pulled Pork – This was the only saving grace of the meal. The pulled pork was full of flavor and had just the right amount of smoke. But it was not without its problems. Three of the four pulled pork dishes were fine, but the last sandwich was loaded with fat. No excuse to allow a sandwich to come out with 50% fat.
  • The sides were nothing special and I would avoid the mac and cheese. It’s supposed to be a favorite of many others, but it tasted like it was made with non-fat milk and non-fat cheese. It had very little flavor and a bit gritty.

I was disappointed with my food, but I can see how this location is very attractive to the locals and their willingness to allow the four-legged patrons on the patio. Overall, the food was OK but I would avoid the Brisket. The owner was not available this day to discuss the history of the place and to get additional details.

Darkavich’s BBQ rating: I give it a 5 out of 10.


This is why lecturing alone is not enough.

December 17th, 2013

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. – Confucius

So long and thanks for all the Cheese

April 25th, 2013

Pekoe Kitty – Can’t believe she was ever this tiny.

Today we say good-bye to our oldest baby. In 1996 Angie and I adopted two wonderful kittens. Angie picked out a lovely orange kitten. She picked because her because of her beautiful blue eyes. We named ‘her’ Orange Pekoe (after the tea). The funny thing is that everyone thinks ‘she’ was a ‘he’. Apparently, most orange cats are male. ‘Pekoe’, as we nicknamed her was a curious little kitten who loved to explore and get into all sorts of trouble.


Pekoe about to pounce on our heads on the couch.

Because of Pekoe’s orange color, she would blend into a lot of things in the house. Sometimes she would lay on a blanket that we had and you could not tell she was there. I remember the day we ordered our dinning room furniture. After they were done delivering the furniture we could not find her. As over protective parents we panicked trying to find her. We even called the delivery drivers and made them stop the truck and look in the back to see if she got scooped up in all the plastic wrapping they took away. After a very stressful 30 minutes, we found her sitting on one of the chairs, where she had blended in.


Pekoe chewing on Earl’s tail (nom nom)

Pekoe loved playing with her brother Earl Gray (yeah another tea name). She would seem to be the passive one when playing and appeared to be dominated by Earl. But, she was the stronger of the two. When she was tired of playing, she would lift Earl up and body slam him over, push off and walk away. That was her way of saying “I’m done playing now”. It was quite hilarious to see.

pekoe basket2

pekoe_basket A basket full of kitty.


Pekoe loved boxes, baskets or anything she could climb into. We found her hiding inside a cupboard once. She blended in perfectly because they are a honey maple color.

pekoe_shelf pekoe_fireplace

Pekoe loved to lounge next to the window, door and fireplace. Anywhere she could get warmth. She especially loved the fireplace. She would come over the second I started to make a fire and lay down all night enjoying the warmth.


Pekoe taking over the chair to relax by the fireplace

Pekoe wasn’t really a lap cat until later in her life. She also didn’t really have much of a meow. She would sort of make a grunting sound. She came out of her shell after her brother passed away meowing up a storm and demanding to be held and petted. In fact, if you didn’t pet her, she would head butt you until you would pet her.

pekoe_angielap pekoe_angie

You brought so much love and joy into our life and we will miss be missed. We know Pekoe is now in heaven with her brother, chasing each other and playing until exhausted and cuddling together.