Name: Heritage Barbecue
Cliques: Follow on IG @heritagebarbecue
The Beef: Buried deep behind the Orange Curtain exists a magical, shimmering Shangri-La of Texas BBQ mastery
Lookit here, y’all. First and foremost: FINALLY I FOUND SOME COT DAM JALAPEÑOS IN SOCAL BBQ
I’m sure some of y’all will claim its fake, but I swear I can tell the smell of burning post oak vs any other hardwood smoke. I know it sounds impossible, but it’s true. I rolled up to the Green Cheek brewery in Orange, CA and the second I stepped out of the truck, I smelled my Texas past, replete with all the memories called up by the warm carbon haze. I knew immediately that this was not red or common white oak, like most Cali BBQers opt for since it’s cheaper and easier to find, but it was the elusive, mighty California post oak that was smoldering in these big offsets. Or maybe I just smelled the burning cow flesh and was crazy hungry after the long-ass drive down from Los Angeles. (editor’s note: it was only like 40 minutes).
I grew up mainly in Dallas, but lived in SW Louisiana for a spell as well and still have people there. I found out Heritage was doing a Cajun-style pop up and Good Lort I was very much here for it. Or there, that is. I dipped down behind the Orange Curtain, not expecting much, but my puny mind was blown to smithereens. Daniel is doing the bona fide THING down there. There’s really not much more to say. It was a beautiful sunday, the Green Cheek beer was good and cold, and the BBQ was absolutely sublime.
The brisket was perfectly rendered, pulled well, good smoke, great bark. The pork ribs were the Aristotelian ideal of ribs. The andouille had good heat and snapped like a bayou turtle. Even my Godmother Erline in Lake Charles, LA would have agreed that the Louisiana sides (blackened mac w pork belly, dirty rice, red beans, cajun tater salad) were all exactly what they should be – flavorful, well-crafted, but never overpowering the main show which was the perfectly seasoned, smoked, and cut meats. And thank god the “cajun” potato salad wasn’t just regular-ass mayo tater salad dusted with that weird orange salt that everybody outside of the 504/337 area codes seem to think makes something “Cajun.” PLEASE STOP IT WITH THAT ORANGE SAND, IT’S NOT EVEN CHACHERES Y’ALL SHOULD BE ASHAMED
Daniel is clearly a gifted culinary mind. He’s adventurous while still staying true to tradition. He’s not only putting out some of the best BBQ in the state, he’s consistently changing themes and sides. I am fairly floored by his and his team’s output. I can’t really hone in on a menu standout, we sampled them all, and ALL were stellar. The bolillo roll seemed a little out of place, but seen as a quiet nod to locals’ Calimex roots, I was on board. I really can’t say much more, Heritage Barbecue is ABSOLUTELY GREAT. Daniel and his team are doing it as well as anybody in this state, and I would suggest they can rival literally anybody in Texas too. Next time they pop-up, I’m running the truck southward again, let me know if you wanna come bird-dog in the back; I’m deadass serious, y’all.
So if I can’t lavish any more praise on Heritage, let’s spend the rest of this review about something that has been bothering me for a while, you dig? Somewhere around about a decade ago I was in Texas and talking BBQ with my eaters who stayed behind in the Great State. Everyone was all a-titter about big ass beef ribs popping up at the more cutting-edge shops. John Lewis, Black’s in Lockhart, Mueller (elder and younger), they were all putting out these $35 dinosaur bones. Call me a philistine, but I don’t get it.
Beef short ribs are at best just pot roast on a rib; huge chunks of gelatinous same same on a bigass bone. At worst, you’re stuck with a massive hunk of boring. Good fat runs all the way through them, sure, but there’s a terrible bark ratio. They take up huge swaths of smoker real-estate and have the worst margins in the game, and are just not as spectacular as the BBQ instagram meatheads would have you believe. Sorry if I’m stepping on your tongue here, but it feels like the Emperor’s New Bones. Give me a pound near the point and a half rack of the swine any day over these blood and fat loaves. That said, the beef rib from Heritage was exactly what a beef rib should be. Regardless of my feelings about the cow cage, it was done right.
Whew, now that I got that off my chest, let’s go see Daniel and his family again in OC ASAP. The truck is gassed up and I’ve got the loose belt on. CONGRATS ON ALL FOUR HOOVES CLICKING TOGETHER IN STRIDE, HERITAGE, KEEP IT UP.