I was a little skeptical walking into a BBQ restaurant that coined themselves as "California BBQ". In my experience that term either ends up meaning grilled meats or half assed bbq. But to my delight it actually meant really delicious!
The style of BBQ that Emil Villa's acquired 60+ years ago was introduced to the founder by native americans (the technique was invented by the Kiowas, Arapahoes and Utes indians). Heavy on the smoke and mopped during the cooking process with a solution they called "lassyemma". Emil's serves their meats sauce on the side to showcase the bark and smoke ring they work so hard to produce.
|The smoker at Emil Villa's|
Ribs - Besides the pies this is the number one reason you come to Emil's. They serve three styles: Emil Villa's signature ribs (which are spare ribs), st. louis style ribs and baby backs. Their signature ribs are the most moist and flavorful out of the three. Although, all three styles are properly cooked. Tender pork that still has a little bit of chew so that it comes clear off the bone but doesn't fall off the bone. The bark is there, the smoke ring is pronounced and the smoky flavor is heavenly.
Tri Tip - Called "sliced beef" here was surprisingly good. In my experience with tri tip it is usually tough and chewy. They ask you which temperature you would like it. We said medium rare and it came out exactly that and wasn't at all chewy. Not sure if it was because it was slow cooked or very thinly sliced but it gave me a new appreciation for the cut.
Brown Sauce and Red Sauce - Your server will ask you if you would like these sauces to accompany your smoked meats. The brown sauce is a thick au jus that tastes of beef bouillon cubes. I didn't find a need for it anywhere in the meal. The red sauce however is a very tasty BBQ sauce. Sweet, smoky and vinegary with a hint of black pepper. Good for dipping ribs into.
Sides - Ive tried three sides here. All good. Pit smoked beans are nice and smoky with just the right amount of sweet and spice. The coleslaw comes with a horseradish-honey dressing ladled on top so that you can mix it in right there at your table leaving it nice and crunchy and not wilted from hours sitting in a reach in. Potato salad is also great here, red potatoes mixed with mustard, mayo and relish. Simple and well balanced.
24047 Mission Blvd
Hayward, CA 94544