What do Texas and Kansas have to do with the Long Beach Peninsula? Just ask the many fans of Beach Fire BBQ.
The restaurant’s staff has been creating luscious slabs of wood-fired deliciousness in downtown Long Beach since spring of 2019.
Thursdays to Sundays, Texas- and Kansas-style smoked barbecue is served, along with pulled pork, chicken, sausage, and homemade fixin’s, from ranch beans to coleslaw.
“We do everything fresh daily,” said co-owner David Allen. “No vacuum packing, freezing or reheating and we do it all ourselves with the exception of sausages. When I say, ‘Do it all ourselves,’ I mean mostly the other Dave. He’s the one monitoring the smoking and doing the work. He’s the one in the kitchen every day.”
Allen runs the restaurant with co-owner David Dinsmore, whose Flat Black BBQ in Ocean Park was a mainstay for years, along with his former barbecue selections at North Jetty Brewing’s Taproom. Now, after teaming up with Allen of Streetside Taco and Streetside Pizza in Ocean Park, the two Dave’s are in business.
Allen and Dinsmore use a state-of-the-art National Sanitation Foundation certified wood-fired rotisserie smoker at Beach Fire BBQ.
“The smoker is 100% wood fired. Set it and forget it,” Allen said. “It does a fantastic job and can easily be monitored. We can check by wireless how everything’s doing — the heat of the external smoker as well as the internal temperature of the meat. It’ll send a cell phone alarm if anything is not to as it should be. Because it does such an awesome job, all of our meat is consistent. That’s crucial for us.”
Allen has worked in food service for more than 25 years. He once had a barbecue trailer and catering company in California.
“I’ve always loved barbecue and consistency was always a challenge,” Allen said. “Brisket especially can be a worry. You have 10 to 15 pounds of meat in each brisket, 14 to 16 hours of smoking, and a lot of money wasted if you don’t get it right.
“For us, we’ll have about 10 briskets going overnight, plus ribs. That’s generally about 200 pounds of meat daily getting ready. Our smoker takes the guesswork away.”
Brisket is the restaurant’s specialty, Allen said.
“It’s something that people would rarely take on at home. And bless our brisket people who kept us going with take out this last year. 2020 was brutal. We’re looking forward to summer when visitors will be able to get out and come back to the peninsula. Since we have such a small place though, we’ll be sticking to take-out for now.”
Depending on the day, the restaurant’s menu varies. Sandwiches and plates are available. The option of ordering just meat and sides is especially convenient for family or groups. Choose your brisket, pulled pork, or pulled chicken in 8 ounce and 1 pound selections — or ribs in a third, half or full rack.
Sides range from one-person, 4-ounce servings, to a hefty gallon. Be sure to order ahead for large quantities and check the restaurant’s Facebook page for menu changes. Prices range from $9.99 for a pulled pork sandwich to $38 for the hefty Dune Fire, a combination platter of brisket, ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, sausage, beans and potato salad.
“Some people, like me, really love the ‘burnt end,’” Allen said, meaning the crusty, fatty, sauced point of a brisket. “It’s a real treat. Like meat candy. It’s the only thing we prepare sauced, otherwise it’s our rubs only.”
Sauces come on the side but are available to purchase separately too. Dinsmore makes the sauces from scratch and often will make specialized sauces.
“Dave’s the one who has the driving passion, no lie. He used to practically give his food away. This stuff’s really what he was made for. On top of perfecting our meat and sides, he’s always adding a lot of fun sauces,” Allen said. “He’ll have seasonal experiments like cranberry in the fall, or something special out of the blue, or a suggestion from someone … If you barbecue lovers out there have ever been to, say, Franklin’s in Austin, Texas, and stood in line around the block just to get a taste of their famous barbecue, you’ll be happy here. Honestly, we’re the real deal.”