Food & Drink

Discover an Off-the-Menu Fave at Mission St. BBQ

The ribwich is one of Aptos and Mission St. BBQs’ best kept secrets

The ribwich at Mission St. BBQ (and Aptos BBQ) has been an insider favorite for nearly a decade. PHOTO: KEANA PARKER

While I enjoy exploring the food scene, and often go out of my way to try new restaurants, pop-ups and food trucks, there’s nothing like the comfort of returning to a beloved tried-and-true eatery.

I love knowing what I’m going to order before I walk in the door. It’s so relaxing to remove the decision-making part of the dining experience and immediately ease into sweet anticipation of my meal, preferably with a beer or glass of wine in hand.

I used to feel this way about Mission Street BBQ. For six years, I’ve been able to order the tri-tip sandwich with confidence. There was never a care on my mind as I devoured my reliably delicious meal, smoke wafting up the back of my palate as I savored each tender slice smothered in spicy barbecue sauce. I have been known to say on visits with friends, “Get the tri-tip. You won’t regret it.”

But that phase of my life has come to an end. You think you know a place, and then one day you discover a secret menu item and it changes everything. 2018 is now the year of the Ribwich.

I feel like I’ve been living with my head in the sand when General Manager Mike Falco explains to me that the rib sandwich has been around for more than a decade at both Mission St. and Aptos St. BBQ, although it’s always been an off-menu item. “It’s definitely an underground thing. But for people who know about it, which is probably 20 percent of our customer base, that’s their go-to.”

Falco explains that they only have the rib sandwich three or four times a week, depending on their supply of ribs. “We take racks of ribs that go through a duel cooking process of smoking and then roasting in the oven. It really tenderizes them.”

Then they pop out the bones and lay the rib meat between soft ciabatta bread with their signature sauce. Softly crunching through the dark bark on the outside of the ribs and into a thick cut of tender, smoky rib meat is incredibly satisfying. In this sandwich, you get all of the enjoyment of ribs without all the work. Whether you’re a barbecue zealot or just very hungry, it will easily secure a place in your go-to menu.

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