One of the most popular barbecue places in North County is found in one of the most unlikely areas.
Encinitas has a reputation for being health-conscious, so to find a meat-centric eatery in the heart of the city may come as a surprise to some.
However, Brett’s BBQ has been thriving at 1505 Encinitas Blvd. since 2008, offering smoked barbecue and Southern-style sides.
The restaurant – which also has a location in 4S Ranch — is owned by Brett Nicholson and Bruce Weisman, who met years ago while working at Remington’s, a former high-end steak and chop house in Del Mar.
It was Nicholson’s summer visits to the Midwest – where he grew up – that helped inspire the idea for barbecue. He would enjoy the authentic, smoked meats of the region while on vacation, but had difficulty finding anything similar in the local restaurants.
So Nicholson and Weisman aimed to establish their own eatery that would meet the standards of barbecue connoisseurs.
“Everything we always did was top-of-the-line,” Weisman said. “(We said) if we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it right. That’s what makes it fun for me.”
This included buying smokers that are fed with hickory, which is shipped from out of state. Brisket and pork leisurely absorb the vapors for about 14 hours, and the ribs and chicken for four to six hours, which softens them and deepens their flavors. They are served with sauce and rubs that are created in-house.
To get the full flavor of Brett’s BBQ, a guest may want to consider ordering the BBQ Sampler Plate. There are baby back ribs covered in sauce, tender and juicy slices of beef brisket and chicken, and a mound of pulled pork, all infused with hickory flavor. The large platter also includes a choice of two sides that complement the meats, such as buttery Corn Pudding and Sweet Potato Fries.
Besides platters, patrons can also order barbecue sandwiches. One popular option is the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, which features a pile of the succulent shreds contained in a thick bun, and served with a side such as Cole Slaw.
The meats can also be used to enhance the meal-sized BBQ Baked Potato, which is stuffed with a choice of pulled pork, beef brisket or pulled chicken with barbecue sauce; butter; sour cream; and chives.
To cater to a wider audience, Nicholson and Weisman expanded their menu to include items such as Fresh Salmon, which can be broiled, blackened or sugar-cured.
There’s also The Pit Master salad, which can be prepared with or without proteins – a colorful composition of mixed greens, smoked gouda, roasted sweet corn, black beans, jicama, tomatoes and sweet onion. It can be dressed with barbecue sauce and ranch dressing.
Patrons may want to consider leaving room in the tank for Bread Pudding, a warm, sweet, square-shaped dessert topped with whipped cream, presented in a golden whiskey sauce.
While the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, its busiest day is actually a day that it’s closed for dining: Thanksgiving. The restaurant is widely known throughout the area for its smoked turkeys, and this year sold out a month early.
For more information about Brett’s BBQ, call (760) 436-7427 or go to brettsbbq.com.