I grew up in East County San Diego. Until a recent visit back I had never known about a restaurant called The Wrangler Family Barbecue , thats been around since 1965. Wrangler's has a wood fired pit and specializes in brisket, pork spareribs and surprisingly, ham. They also put out beef stew on mondays and pulled pork on thursdays and saturdays.
Upon arrival we were introduced to JR, one of the owners. He was nice enough to take us back into the kitchen to take a look at the smoker which was loaded with spareribs, briskets and a big metal container filled with pit beans. He revealed that they use oak wood, which you could smell all throughout the restaurant.
Wranglers, we are told has stayed very consistent over the years. Everything is in plain view at the ordering counter, including all smoked meats sitting on a counter ready for slicing and cases of fresh baked pies, beverages and side dishes. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful.
We ordered the beef, ribs and ham sampler with a side of baked beans and mac salad. A towering plate of food at a great price and the kitchen was even nice enough to give us a sample of the days special, pulled pork.
Pork spareribs had a predominate smoke ring, nice chewy texture and light smokey flavor. Mac salad was vinegary with chunks of carrot and celery. Beans were smoky with just the right amount of sweetness and spice.
Ham was moist, tender and juicy. Brisket wasn't falling apart tender but wasn't tough either and had good beefy flavor reminiscent of pot roast.
Pulled pork had good texture, a smoky flavor and was tossed with just enough bbq sauce to cut the fattiness of the meat.
Our experience at Wrangler's all in all was a good one and I look forward to coming back next time we are back in town visiting mom.
The Wrangler Family Barbecue
901 El Cajon blvd.
El Cajon, CA 92020
open 7 days a week lunch & dinner