SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. — Craft barbecue has grown in Southern California over the last few years with many new restaurants and pop-ups opening to serve Texas-style smoked meats. One new Orange County business draws lines around the block for their brisket, ribs, and sides.

Owner of Heritage Barbecue, Daniel Castillo spends early mornings at the smoker tending to various meats. He spent years perfecting his craft and selling his smoked meats from his backyard, even getting some extra training from the best in Texas. Castillo took his knowledge back to Orange County opening his first restaurant just this year.

What You Need To Know

  • Heritage Barbecue in OC serves authentic Texas-style smoked meats

  • The restaurant has one of the few offset smokers legally certified for use in California

  • With indoor and outdoor dining shut down, the restaurant's food is in high demand for takeout

“We lived here for 20 years. We built our following here by working at the different breweries. We thought it was a great place for us to do it,” said Castillo.

His restaurant is home to one of the first offset smokers to be legally certified for food use in California.

“These are 100% analogue. It’s all up to having somebody that tends the fires, that rotates the proteins, to make sure they are ready to go,” said Castillo.

That’s the key to standout barbecue: time, precision, and patience. For instance, the brisket was smoked for 12 hours. This means Castillo’s crew is working round the clock. Barbecue takes dedication and you can see that by the tattoo of the word "barbecue" right on Castillo’s face.

“It’s been a journey for sure. We are always learning,” said Castillo.

Heritage now draws lines around the block for their house-made sausages, pork, and beef ribs, smoked turkey and chicken, pulled pork and of course the brisket that they sell more than anything else of. No sauce is needed, just salt, pepper, and some special seasoning.

“To really let the protein speak for itself, since it’s a great product,” said Castillo.
With outdoor dining on pause during the pandemic, this is the only time customers can actually order ahead for curbside pickup. Demand has been so high, on one occasion, police needed to help coordinate traffic. It's success Castillo never expected.

“It’s incredible to see. We are really thankful for that. You know it could be a hassle for people to have to deal with that, so we are grateful. It has to be worth it. It’s really important to me,” said Castillo.

Make sure to get a large platter with basically one of everything to really get the taste of Heritage Barbecue located at 31721 Camino Capistrano. San Juan Capistrano, CA.