Valley News -

By Alex Groves
Associate Editor 

Visitors find smoky barbecue and sweet treats at Calhoun's in Murrieta


Last updated 4/25/2018 at 3:46pm

Alex Groves

A picture of Calhoun's sampler plate which comes with chicken, baby back or spare ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, two sides and dinner rolls.

I was in a "food coma" for most of the afternoon last Friday. I felt happy, full and all I could think about was taking a nap after consuming some of the best barbecue I've eaten.

Earlier that day a buddy from high school and I grabbed lunch at Calhoun's Texas Barbeque, a family-owned establishment located in Old Town Murrieta.

I heard about this business from word of mouth as well as online reviews (It's actually number 56 on Yelp's "Top 100 Places to Eat for 2018"), and I was very excited to try it. My friend staked down a table in the busy restaurant as I went to the front counter to order.

The menu boasts a variety of options including sandwiches, sliders and a la carte portions of different cuts of barbecue meat.

My friend and I decided we would split the Sampler Plate ($23.95), which came with a quarter piece of chicken, four baby back ribs, six ounces each of beef brisket and pulled pork, two sides and two dinner rolls. For our sides we chose potato salad and baked beans.

Our food came out and I knew we were in for a serious eating challenge. The tray was filled with containers, each with a different kind of meat or a side. The dinner rolls were neatly packed in a sandwich bag on the side.

The pulled pork and brisket stole the show; both were extremely moist with a great smoky flavor. Containers of reddish-brown barbecue sauce added a great tang to the meat.

The barbecue chicken and baby back ribs were also excellent. I wondered to myself whether the thick barbecue glaze on the outside of the chicken helped to retain its moisture because it was plump and juicy.

The inside of the restaurant feels homey and authentic. Menus are written on blackboards. Tin signs with such messages as, "There will be a $5 charge for whining" and "Good Food - Good Friends - Good Times" line the walls.

As my buddy and I finished up our lunch and planned to go our separate ways, I decided I would get one of Calhoun's famous sweet potato pies ($5.50). Online reviews rave about them. The pies are available Wednesday through Saturday only.

Alex Groves

The sweet potato pie is an extremely popular menu item at Calhoun's and it's not hard hard to understand why. The pie is sweet and extraordinarily rich.

My heart skipped a beat when the gentleman behind the counter told me they might be all out of the pies, but he would go in the back and check. He came out and told me I was lucky because I had managed to snag the very last pie.

I took the 6-inch pie home and split it in half with my brother. I poured myself a cup of coffee to go with it.

I've never had sweet potato pie before, but now that I've had one I'm hooked. The pie was a golden brown on the top and a deep vibrant orange inside. It was wonderfully sweet and full of spices.

For a long time, I've been looking for a great barbecue place in Southwest Riverside County and I can say now that Calhoun's is going to be my go-to spot.

Calhoun's Texas Barbeque is located at 24710 Washington Avenue, Suite 11 in Murrieta. For more information, visit their website at

Alex Groves can be reached at [email protected]


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