The barbecue scene didn't necessarily explode last year, but there were a number of new entrants that started to change the game, such as Horse Thief and The Crossing. The catalyst, however, might have been the opening of Bludso's Bar & Que on La Brea, which brought over Compton's finest 'que to the heart of L.A. Below, Eater presents a handy guide to the Best Barbecue Joints in Los Angeles.Read More
A Handy Guide to the Best Barbecue Joints in Los Angeles
1. Bludso's Bar & Que
Ever since this popular Compton barbecue spot opened an outlet on La Brea, it's shaken up the local 'que game. The team behind the Golden State teamed up with Kevin Bludso to bring his unique brand of Texas-style barbecue, with marvelous brisket, superb ribs, and a slew of great sides.
2. Smoke City Market
This authentic-as-you-could-get Texas barbecue has received accolades from the likes of Jonathan Gold. The by-the-pound system placed on trays, along with the bench-style seating, makes it feel right, but in the end, the smoky, tender brisket and other meat completes the deal.
3. The Crossing
Though the takeover was a little unsung, the new management behind the former Atwater Crossing is taking its barbecue seriously, taking cues straight from Austin's Hill Country. The by-the-pound brisket, ribs, and more are deliciously smokey, inbued with more flavor than most other 'cue's around town. Arguably the best brisket in town at the moment.
4. Horse Thief
Adjacent to Grand Central Market, this true Texas barbecue takes a decidedly simple approach, with barbecue, sides, and white bread. The ribs and sausage are respectable, but the brisket is the draw, as any Texas-style bbq should be. On its best days, the smoke ring is thick and the flavor is unparalleled. Just be sure to ask for "moist" brisket.
5. Phillips Bar-B-Que
Los Angeles, CA 90008
An old standard in South L.A., Phillips is old school barbecue done right. The flavor is spiceful, the meat is tender to the bone, and the sauce is righteous. What more could you want from a barbecue. Before the newer places opened up, Phillips was considered one of the best bbq spots in the city by Jonathan Gold.
6. Baby Blues BBQ
An old Venice standby with an offshoot in West Hollywood, the word is a little mixed on Baby Blues. The Memphis-style ribs tend to get the most attention, while the brisket sandwich on ciabatta, while not perfectly authentic, is still great in a pinch for those living on the Westside.
7. Dr. Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas BBQ
The North Valley's barbecue gem, this simple, old-school spot has some of the best sauce west of Texas. The meat itself is a little scattershot in terms of flavor and tenderness, but on its best days, it's very satisfying. And who can deny the great name of the place?
8. Big Mista's BBQ
Though the location of this barbecue might depend on the day, this farmers market mainstay around town. The style itself isn't Texas or Carolina, just a blend of everything. The pulled pork and the ribs are the things to order. Sundays at Atwater Village (10 a.m. - 2 p.m.), Pershing Square Downtown on Wednesdays, Century City Farmers Market on Thursdays, and Bank of America Plaza on Fridays.
9. JNJ BBQ
Los Angeles, CA 90016
The semi-outdoor location of this South L.A. barbecue spot makes the experience that much better. Order at the counter (with the smokers behind in the yard), and take a seat at the picnic style tables. The meat itself isn't revolutionary or mind-blowing, but sometimes digging into a tray of brisket and ribs is the perfect antidote to boredom. Cash only.
10. Spring Street SmokeHouse
Just south of Chinatown and nearby Union Station, this hideaway of a barbecue spot has an impressive beer selection to boot. As for the meat? Stick to the brisket and the burnt ends, and douse it all in the sweet sauce. The pulled pork is also very good.
11. The Park's Finest BBQ
This Filipino-style barbecue has many fans on the Eastside, with very low prices that make it easy to try much more than one would typically want. The pulled pork is an excellent choice, along with the dry-rubbed chicken. Don't skip the cornbread with coconut cream cheese.
12. JR's Barbeque
This Culver City barbecue spot won't win awards, but for the Westside, it's more than respectable. The variety platters are a good way to try a little of everything, from the rib tips to the brisket to the beef links. The sweet potato pie is the right way to finish a meal here.
13. The Hungry Pig
Los Angeles, CA 90026
This competitor to the Park's Finest is another Asian-style barbecue, this time infused with the flavors of Thailand. This is still American-style barbecue. Think baby back ribs, satay, brisket, and beef curry, all under one roof.
14. Boneyard Bistro
This Sherman Oaks restaurant is might be more known for its stellar beer selection, with an epic bottle menu, the barbecue is at least respectable. The brisket can range from very good to just fine, but with this kind of craft beer available, it's hard to complain.