Eating A+ Barbecue while watching the Single-A San Jose Giants
THE SANTA CLARA
April 14, 2016
Ah, baseball. America’s pastime. A national symbol alongside bald eagles, KFC Double Downs and invading countries under false pretenses. On April 7, I did my civic duty and attended the San Jose Giants’ home opener as they took on fellow Single-A opponent, the Lancaster JetHawks.
The San Jose Municipal Stadium is home to the Giants and seats 4,200 people. Even though it was a windy and overcast night, there was a solid turnout and it’s difficult to imagine a more comfortable place to watch a baseball game. The stadium is cozy, intimate and doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. But Muni Stadium’s main draw isn’t the ambience—it’s the food.
Fans don’t come to eat peanuts and cracker jacks. Here, the bird is the word, and that bird is Turkey Mike’s BBQ, where they serve up the best food you’re likely to find at any ballpark in America.
Located along the entire third baseline, Turkey Mike’s offers up countless options, ranging from traditional to over-the-top. One of their specialties, appropriately and intimidatingly named the “Big Filthy,” features two smoked hamburgers topped with two slices of American cheese and a monstrous helping of their signature pulled pork. A vegan would look at this dish the way Kim Jong Un would look at Honey Boo Boo. Even I, a self-proclaimed glutton, felt guilty after eating this one. Having said that, there’s no denying the fact that it was one of the tastier things I have crammed down my gullet.
Another specialty, “The Heater” (presumably named for the bowel movement you experience the day after eating it), consists of a hot link topped with jalapenos and, you guessed it, pulled pork. The pulled pork plays a bit of a cherry-on-top-of-the-sundae role in many of the dishes, but it is actually quite the stand-out. Turkey Mike’s pulled pork errs on the side of braised rather than smoked, and has a layered flavor profile that includes notes of tomato. It’s more of a pot roast really, but dammit if it isn’t delicious.
Personally, I was most taken with the rib dinner, which came with two sides of fruity and refreshing coleslaw. Turkey Mike’s ribs are some of the best I’ve ever had. The spice rub fully penetrates the meat—which rips clean off the bone—and injects a flavor so layered and so addicting that your only option is to eat until you explode. The ribs are so tender that even the bones break apart with ease. Add on some of their spicy and tangy BBQ sauce and you’ve got an Earth-shattering bite of barbecue heaven.
Between innings, there was an air-guitar contest, in which a 9-year-old girl named Rachel unjustly won over Calvin, a 12 year-old whose miming of “Back in Black” was a real face-melter.
Toward the end of the game, two ushers drove out a beat-up taco truck as part of Winchester Auto Parts’ “Smash for Cash” promotion.
Basically, three fans took turns hurling fastballs at the heap until the teams switch sides. No rules were laid out, nor cash awarded, people just hucked high cheese at a car for no apparent purpose other than it being a fun way to stall.
The Giants won 4-3, preventing a last inning comeback by the JetHawks. And fans were treated to a fireworks display that crackled and dazzled for a full three minutes.
Even if you’re not a baseball fan, a San Jose Giants game is a great way to spend a spring evening. There are rides and games for the kids, great food and it’s a stellar place to walk around and people-watch.
If for no other reason, come and eat at Turkey Mike’s, just so if someone asks, you can tell them, “Yes, I’ve eaten a ‘Big Filthy.’”
Contact Jimmy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.