Phil’s BBQ, San Diego, CA
What you’re getting: The El Toro sandwich and a half rack of baby back ribs
San Diego!? California!? To see a place in Southern California make the list might cause some consternation from the purists, but Phil Pace’s spot has earned a seat at the table. Combining self-taught recipes for rubs and sauces with traditional mesquite BBQing has netted him a successful mini-empire in SD, and last year, that El Toro tri-tip ‘wich was a finalist for Alan Richman’s “Best Sandwich in America” (though those same purists might want to just stick to the baby backs).