About this Business
From Our Editors
After moving to San Diego in 1987, Matt Shlemon walked into a Texas-style barbecue restaurant and was floored by the smoky flavor. Convinced that this was the best food he had ever tasted, Matt scribbled a number onto a napkin, offering to buy the restaurant right then and there. The best part? It wasn't even for sale. Regardless, the ensuing hours of negotiations paid off, and the Shlemon family soon found themselves with a Zagat-rated eatery.
To prepare for the monumental task of recreating a region’s iconic cuisine, Matt and his wife, Athena, traveled to roadside barbecue joints throughout Texas to ask patrons for their thoughts. They learned numerous tips and tricks during this sojourn, many of which they incorporated into their business. Abbey’s Real Texas BBQ's signature beef brisket, for example, slow cooks for 18–24 hours inside a hand-built cast-iron smoker from Texas, which the Shlemons stoke with mesquite, green oak, and Red Hots, the candies that never stop burning. Elsewhere, they cook the brisket with the fat-cap for holding in the flavor. And, like any good Texan cookbook, the menu makes room for everything from pork spareribs to sausage hot links, as well as housemade side dishes.
The Texan and American flags proudly hang over the counter, and the walls’ collection of longhorn skulls, wooden wagon wheels, and Texas license plates evoke even more of the Lone Star State’s character. Black-and-white checkered cloths adorn each table, helping catch any stray morsels of sauce or homemade coleslaw, and adding to the distinctively down-home ambiance.
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