Phil’s is a barbecue joint in San Diego, but it’s a lot more than just that. It was rated one of the top ten restaurants in the city by Trip Advisor, and San Diego Magazine deemed its barbecue the city’s best. Its ribs, chicken, and pulled pork are all worth writing home about, but their El Toro Tri-Tip Sandwich is what’s put it on the map.
Tri-tip is a cut of beef that doesn’t get the respect it deserves, but here owner Phil Pace treats it like a king. He soaks it in a secret marinade, cooks it to medium-rare on a mesquite grill, and then lets it cool. When ordered, the meat gets sliced super-thin, then is placed back into the grill, where the magic happens. A large ladle of Phil’s secret barbecue sauce (there are a lot of secrets here) is poured over the mound of sliced meat and allowed to caramelize. The resulting pile of smoky, tender sliced beef is then loaded onto a fresh-baked Kaiser-style roll, topped with another ladle of sauce, and presented to a grateful customer.
Phil’s first opened inside a small space back in 1998, and it had folks lining up to get in. Thankfully a couple years ago a second, much larger location was opened, but this is still a sandwich that we wouldn’t mind waiting in line for.
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