More than Great Barbecue at Epic BBQ: A Review

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© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

Although the city of Stanton rises in the middle of suburban Orange County, California, it lies at least half-an-hour away from any freeway. Its isolation has turned it into a sad and decaying island surrounded by prosperous continents. I have little reason to pass through it. However, in the past two weeks, I have entered its borders twice. My ultimate destination was Epic BBQ.


My Rating

5 stars for Epic BBQ
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Environment

The restaurant occupies a couple of storefronts behind the parking lot of a non-descript shopping center. Inside, 14-foot ceilings enlarge the space, which only has nine wooden tables. Three of them consist of picnic tables, painted in black, and seating at least six each. Although we’ve always come when it’s empty, I’m told it’s hard to get a seat during the lunch and dinner hour, even though much of the traffic is take-away.

The floor is a checkerboard of black and white, and an open kitchen lets you watch the cook prepare your meal over mesquite charcoal. A handwritten sign on a yellow piece of paper offers a 25 percent discount if you recommend the eatery to friends or review them on Yelp.

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Menu

The menu only has about a dozen or so dishes showing sandwich and meal variations of BBQ beef, pork, chicken, hot links and tri-trip. The five side dishes include macaroni salad, potato salad, grilled squash, garlic bread or baked beans. Newbies should try the lunch meal, which offers any two meats and one side, or the dinner meal, which allows any three meats and two sides. They’re both available any time of day and under ten dollars. Look for the colorful flyer on the counter, which includes 15 percent off those meals.


Beef rib near the top. Pork ribs near the bottom. Barbecue sauce in the cup to the left.
Beef rib near the top. Pork ribs near the bottom. Barbecue sauce in the cup to the left. | Source

Food

You can sample the mild, medium and spicy sauces before deciding on one, with the first being hot enough for me. Expect a house-made, reddish-brown delight that flows easily and seems to have a tomato base with some sour tamarind. The smoky flavor burns the throat slightly, which is a reason to take advantage of the soda with unlimited refills.

I mostly use the sauce, which comes in a small plastic cup, for dipping sides. Because the meat does not need it, which to me is always the mark of good barbecue. Whether you order the beef (my favorite) or pork (my partner’s joy), expect a juicy interior and a crispy, charred exterior. The beef ribs are at least six inches long and encourage the use of hands and frequent gnawing because the meat does not fall off the bone. Prepare to get bits of meat and sauce on your face and cheeks. You can always clean up with the moist towelettes or in the restroom.

Skip the hot links sausage, which is undistinguished though adequate, and may come from a store-bought package. The beans also come from a can. The garlic bread is grilled on-sight to a light, crispy and buttery taste, and the squash comes from zucchini, which is sliced lengthwise, and grilled with some oil, leaving it firm, chewy and delicious.


Bottom Line

The restaurant is inexpensive and offers generous portions of mesquite-flavored barbecue. We’ll continue to visit it frequently. Though we haven’t tried the chicken or the tri-tip, we’ve heard good things about them. Another sign of the excellent quality are the regular patrons who simply ask for “the usual” to get their orders.


More like Pet Purgatory.
More like Pet Purgatory. | Source

Warning

The colorful and expansive signs of humungous Pet City next door seem to presage a nirvana of animal companions, worthy of post-meal exploration. Steer clear of the deception, especially if you have kids. Though large and impressive, establishment is neglected and dingy, with forlorn dogs whose cages you want to open so you can yell “Flee!” One deformed creature suffered from underbite with protruding fangs, which he used to threaten with between barks and growls.


Update

Sadly, Epic BBQ reduced its opening days a couple of weeks after this review was published. It then closed soon after. I was never able to return to enjoy the barbecue. I tried to call them several times on the phone but no one was there. Incidentally, the pet store next door is still going strong.

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Comments 10 comments

Attikos profile image

Attikos 4 years ago from East Cackalacky

Beef? Tomato? Tamarind?

Sacrilege!


mpropp profile image

mpropp 4 years ago from Minnesota

Now I'm hungry for BBQ. I don't suppose there is an Epic in MN? Seriously, I love the smaller mom & pop restaurants that use their own recipes. And the price range sounds perfect!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Perhaps, attikos, but it tastes great.


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

I just spent a few minutes trying to give this hub 5 stars, before I realised it is an authors ranking. lol

Great hub Aurelio. Sharing.

Michael


dragnhaze profile image

dragnhaze 4 years ago

What a great looking plate of BBQ and the sauce looks similar to my favorite BBQ sauce, mmmmmm. I have to agree with mprop, I want some, I'm on my way...jk California is a bit to far for me at this moment.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Lol, molometer. You have to be careful about that. Sometimes the ratings are an author's rating, and sometimes they're an audience rating.


loveofnight profile image

loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

I am hungry already, I wish that I had a sample to taste right now. Thanks for the info. and keep hubbing.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

This is an excellent review. Now, I just want to run out and get a plate of BBQ beef ribs. This is such a thorough review. I have a food website and would love to share your review with my food readers. I know they will enjoy it.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

I can relate to being lured into a sorry area of town for good BBQ. Since we're originally from the Midwest, we can relate to meat so delicious it doesn't even require sauce. It sounds like the BBQ sauces offered are pretty spicy. It's too bad about the Pet City. : ( Great review, thanks!


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 3 years ago from Chennai, India

Another well-written restaurant review! I am fond of grilled/barbecue food. When I have the chance to visit USA in the near future, I will try this place thanks to your engaging review. Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up

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