That Boy Good
326 Horne St.
Oceanside, CA 92054
It's that time again when we make a sojourn south to get Katie a new Coach purse for her birthday at the Outlets in Carlsbad. It's probably no secret that I'm not a fan of shopping at the outlets down here. I usually go into the very busy Coach store for about five minutes, soon grow bored, and just wait outside for Katie to finish getting her discounted purse. My favorite part of the day is, of course, picking somewhere to eat. This year I narrowed our choices down to six restaurants, and finally decided on That Boy Good BBQ.
Leaving Carlsbad, I punched That Boy Good into Google Maps, and it led us to this newer of the two T..B.G. locations, which was fine because I had heard that parking at their original location on PCH can be a little bit challenging, especially on weekends like this one. This location, which is situated on the corner of Horne and Civic Center has a nice big lot and was closer to the freeway. This is their walk-up counter and catering center and a space which they share with Northern Pine Brewing Company.
That Boy Good is owned by a husband and wife team. Chef Mark Millwood, a Navy veteran, who lived all over the world growing up, including Mississippi, where he acquired his love of southern cooking, which would later become the basis for this restaurant. In 2008, while both were working in Colorado, Mark met his future bride while they opened a five-star resort in Vail. Together, they finally settled down in Oceanside, had a son and opened their first spot nearly six years ago now. This second location opened just over half a year ago. I've heard that this spot is a great alternative when there's a long wait at the one on PCH.
We arrived here at just before 5 on a Sunday evening and walked right up to the register to order. The menu is not going to overwhelm you with choices, they offer six kinds of smoked meats, seven different sides, and then a couple of what I'd call hybrid specials that combine both their sides and meats. Prices are not too extreme, and I've definitely seen more wallet-draining prices for barbecue. We quickly made our selections, and then sat at one of their unoccupied communal tables that fill the rather large space. Let's see if this is indeed the best barbecue in these parts.
Here's a brief overview of what we got at That Boy Good. Yes, we kind of went overboard, but I did not know when I'd be back, and I wanted to try a good majority of their menu. I'd say mission accomplished. Let's take a look at all of this food in more detail.
Let's start things off with what Katie ordered on this early evening. She's a big fan of deviled eggs, so the Deviled Egg of the Day ($3.50) were a must for her. On this day the deviled egg was a barbecue chicken egg. It was topped with a jalapeno, some barbecue sauce and a chicken and egg mousse were pipped into the hollowed out egg shell. Katie said they nailed this. There was definitely a barbecue chicken feel to these, and she would not hesitate to get them again. For her entree, she went with the Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich ($9.25). The hefty amount of pork on this sandwich was moist, but not mushy, which is a hard balance to achieve. The bun was structurally sound and nicely toasted. If you like extra meat you can add it to the sandwich for an extra $3, but there was plenty on here for Katie's taste. One of the better pulled pork sandwiches Katie has had in a while. With the sandwich, you get a choice of one small side item, and Katie selected the Corn on the Cob, which was grilled over the same wood they use to smoke their meats, and as a result, it infused a smokiness into the ear of the corn to elevate this side a bit. She was completely satisfied with everything she had here on this visit.
When I saw that they offered a BBQ Combo Plate ($27) I knew that's what I'd be having. Whenever I'm eating at a new place for the first time, my strategy is to get the most variety on one plate, and this was definitely the best option at That Boy Good. It comes with a Half a Rack of Pork Ribs, Pulled Pork, and Chopped Beef Brisket. I'd say that they give you at least a half a pound of meat of each, but that's a very conservative guess on my part. The portion sizes are huge. The best of the meats was probably the brisket, which I will ask for sliced instead of chopped next time. There was a good mixture of meat, a small amount of fat, and some crispy end pieces included in this moist and tender brisket. Some of the best I have had since a trip to Bludso's far too many years ago. The pulled pork was another winner. Just like on Katie's sandwich it was moist without being too mushy. The ribs completed the trifecta of excellent meats. Plenty of delicious pork on each bone, which pulled gently away from the bone with very little effort. I liked that they did not mask the true flavor of the meat with lots of smoke flavoring, and they allow each customer to add their own amount of desired sauce to each option, not that you even need sauce for barbecue this good. The sides were on point as well. The Collard Greens are the real deal here, and do not need to be gussied up with bits of meat like a lot of other places have to resort to doing. The Mac and Cheese is another subtle side item that works. Not over the top cheesy, it clings to the well-cooked noodles wonderfully and provides a nice mellow flavor that makes this one of the lightest versions of this sometimes too heavy for its own good side dish. The only thing I was not so excited about was the Cornbread. It had a good texture, but I like a sweeter version. Katie, however, loved this and was happy to take it off of my hands.
To round out our meal at That Boy Good, we got these Dirty Fries with Beef Hot Links ($11). These are basically cheese fries with your choice of meat on top of them. I was surprised that they put four hot links on top of these, but they do not skimp on the serving sizes at That Boy Good. The fries were fried nicely and I'm not usually a big fan of cheese sauce, but it was good here. The beef links were great, with a nice snap to the casings, but it would have been easier to eat if they were sliced in more manageable bite-sized pieces. Next time I'm getting these fries with brisket on them.
As I was walking out of That Boy Good with my three to go containers filled with food that I would cherish eating for the next two days, I had a sense of dread spread over me thinking about next yeas visit to the Carlsbad Outlets. Part of the only reason I like coming down here is the chance to pick and try a restaurant we normally would not get a chance to try, and it will now be hard to pass by here and not come to That Boy Good. Of course, the other reason I like coming down here is making Katie happy with a gift that she definitely deserves for putting up with me. Just had to make sure I got that in. Back to this visit though. That Boy Good is one of the better barbecue restaurants in Southern California, and one of the best we have been to in recent times. The value for the money is excellent as the servings are good sized and you will have leftovers for the next day. Service at this very casual counter restaurant was cordial and the vibe was very mellow.
Out of five bicycles, (because Oceanside is the starting point for the 3,000-mile bike race, Race Across America), five being best to zero being worst, That Boy Good BBQ gets 4 bicycles.
For more information about That Boy Good, head over to their website here: https://www.thatboygoodbbq.com/