By Kiera Wright-Ruiz
By Cleo Tobbi
By Moss Perricone
By Anne Marie Panoringan
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
All your American dining needs are below!
DINNER FOR TWO:
¢ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Less than $10!
31738 Rancho Viejo
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Region: San Juan Capistrano
305 N. Hesperia
Santa Ana, CA 92703
Region: Santa Ana
21501 Brookhurst St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Region: Huntington Beach
1639 E. Imperial Highway
Brea, CA 92821
511 S. State College Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92806
2640 S. Bristol St.
Santa Ana, CA 92704-5727
Region: Santa Ana
513 N. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832
$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10-$20
$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20-$40
$$$ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¡Eres muy rico!
BAD TO THE BONE BBQ
Barbecue sandwiches are usually messy affairs, but Bad to the Bone's house sausage sandwich is as austere as it is sumptuous. A lean, sweet pork sausage speckled with pepper bits and accompanied by sautéed onions and bell peppers, it strikes several notes, the wonderfully bitter distinct from the sweet and salty. The crunchy French roll lends a taste of honey. 31738 Rancho Viejo Rd., Ste. E, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 218-0227; www.badtothebonebbq.com. $$
For years, Fred Burrell has smoked ribs, hot links, chicken legs and more in his beloved shack, his North Carolina-style 'cue still sublime, the pulled-pork sandwich as vinegary as a slow roast in Raleigh, North Carolina. No matter what time of year, lunch at Burrell's picnic-table seating is our communal Fourth of July party. 305 N. Hesperian, Santa Ana, (714) 547-7441. $
CHRIS & PITTS
Low prices and macro-brew vibe bring the teeming masses, who scarf on outrageously meaty beef and pork short ribs slathered in industrial-strength barbecue sauce. If you notice how much Chris & Pitts is like the Claim Jumper, don't be surprised—Mr. Jumper got the idea for his chain while growing up and eating here.601 N. Euclid St., Anaheim, (714) 635-2601; 15975 Harbor Blvd., Fountain Valley, (714) 775-7311. $
THE DISTRICT LOUNGE
The District Lounge's 'cue is serious, and Reverend Morton's Savory Bar-b-que Savior Sauce—a relishy, sweet glop the District crew administer judiciously to all meats—could score a ribbon in a Kansas City cook-off. The tri-tip's middle is pink, its skin charred yet juicy, and it arrives about eight lengths to an order. Ribs plop off easily, and enough chewy meat hangs off the bone to fill you and create a separate hamburger. Chicken wings slap the tongue with their salty, mesquite burn and await a dunking into a thimble of great mustard-ranch dressing. 233 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 639-7777. $$
LOU'S RED OAK BBQ GRILL
Lou's Red Oak BBQ Grill is Orange County's original place to knife through Santa Maria-style barbecue, the supremely succulent charcuterie tradition of the central California coast. Whether it's monstrous tri-tips, weighty steaks or divine chickens you're gnawing through, they all retain hints of Lou's red, oak-smoked, rotisserie pedigree. And there's a reason it was once "Lou's Oak Oven Beanery"—their poquito beans side is the ideal hybrid between the pinto bean's gentle bite and the red bean's furtive sweetness. 21501-D Brookhurst St., Huntington Beach, (714) 965-5200; http://www.lousbbq.com. $
LUCILLE'S SMOKEHOUSE BAR-B-Q
Side dishes at Brea's hottest spot—two per entrée—would serve a family for a month in some sub-Saharan nations. But these servings are mere crumbs when weighed against the feral bulk of a Lucille's barbecue plate. After plowing through one of these, you'd better waddle out fast before the Lucille's owners size you up as ready for a dance on the grill, so plump will you be. 1639 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, (714) 990-4944; www.lucillesbbq.com. $$
PAPA'S WESTERN BBQ
Papa's specializes in Santa Maria-style barbecue, a tradition native to the coastal central California town that dates to the time when Mexico's rule over California wasn't just a MEChA dream. So, like the Californios of yore, the Papa's crew smokes folds of tri-tips and other meat cuts over red oak chips that impart a fragrant, salty flavor. This is also one of the last places in Southern California to order the spicy Portuguese sausage known as linguiça. 10900 Los Alamitos Blvd., Los Alamitos, (562) 594-9251; www.papaswesternbbq.com. $
Open here for 11 years, Ruth's Place carries a tough-to-read sign out front advertising Southern-style soul food. You'll always find Ruth here, cooking catfish steamed and piled fist-high, yams sweet as Sade (the singer, not the sadomasochist), cornbread greasy as Pam Houchen's palms, and black-eyed peas that are soft and plump and just the proper earthen hue. 1236 Civic Center Dr. W., Ste. C, Santa Ana, (714) 953-9454. $
A tour of barbecue traditions within the confines of a gleaming Surf City development, Smokin' Mo's redeems the red states from which it pulls its stuff. Tennessee shines with vinegary, massive, great pork ribs, and Louisiana appears with hot links that please like a boat ride through the bayou. Better than that, we love its pig mascot—wide-eyed, holding a massive wooden spoon, grinning at the thought of eating its brethren, the happiest cannibal since that weird gay German guy. 301 Main St., Ste. 107, Huntington Beach, (714) 374-3033; www.mosbbq.com. $
I defy anyone to find a finer summer Friday night than the kind you get at Angelo's: a burger-fries-and-Coke combo for six bucks, a girl/boy by your side, nameless kids chucking pickles at one another, buxom waitresses skating without pause, and the half-Latino, half-white crowd communally willing another Vlad Guerrero horsehide bomb into the television sky.511 S. State College Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 533-1401. $
Santa Ana's finest used to crack down on Latinos who would cruise around this quasi-1950's diner, but why drive around slowly in circles? Inside is Bristol's Monster Burger: three patties topped with buttery avocado, fatty bacon, crunchy lettuce and onions, and two slices of Cheddar. Make sure to top off the burger with splashes of Tapatío and pickled jalapeño slices. A close rival is Bristol's pork tamale covered in sweet chili beans, a surprisingly appetizing combination of spice, sweetness and warmth. 2640 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 241-7166. $