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A beef rib over rice with kimchi.
A beef rib dish from Zef BBQ.
Wonho Frank Lee

20 Essential Barbecue Restaurants in Los Angeles, Summer 2022

Here’s where to get a consistent meal from some of LA’s best barbecue restaurants

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A beef rib dish from Zef BBQ.
| Wonho Frank Lee

Los Angeles has arrived as a barbecue city on the national stage. Gone are the days of overcooked tri-tip and too-saucy ribs. Today’s scene is all about growth and personality, as newcomers mix with longtime barbecue restaurants across the region to create an eclectic, unique moment for smoked meat. Pitmasters are turning to family recipes from across the diaspora for inspiration, while the term “barbecue restaurant” grows to include pop-ups, backyard hangouts, garage setups, and just about everything in between. For this list Eater is looking only at the restaurant side of LA’s local barbecue ecosystem; there are separate maps for out-of-town barbecue places, and for LA’s many pop-ups. Locations are sorted geographically.

Added: Big Ant’s BBQ, the Bad Jew, Zef BBQ, Smoke Queen BBQ

Removed: Dr. Hogly Wogly’s, Max City BBQ, Spring St. Smokehouse, Horse Thief, Beachwood BBQ

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Zef BBQ

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This weekly Simi Valley sensation is part pop-up, part restaurant, part meme-generating Instagram sensation. Chef/owner Logan Sandoval makes whatever the heck he wants, every week, from smash burgers to beef ribs and curry noodles to smoked housemate Spam musubi — and the fans can’t get enough. Expect fast sellouts, long lines, and lots of banana pudding for dessert. Address provided after pre-ordering.

Two hands hold a large tray of smoked meat including brisket, photographed from above.
A barbecue plate from Zef.
Wonho Frank Lee

Swinging Door BBQ

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While LA’s barbecue scene feels like a recent thing, its history goes back decades and is deeper than just the backyard Texas-style stuff in play now. For a glimpse of simple, high quality barbecue done with love (and for the local community) head up to Swinging Door. Lightly charred ribs, fatty brisket, and more come off a unique two-forked off-set smoker, and big take-home platters are always available.

The Memphis Grill

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For a taste of Tennessee-specific barbecue, get to the Memphis Grill in North Hollywood. The pandemic-era restaurant has been turning out some surprising meats over the past year-plus, and has big plans to not only grow its menu but also its restaurant, so keep an eye on them for more.

Boneyard Bistro

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Sherman Oaks’s Boneyard Bistro has grown over the years to become a kind of timeless gastropub, a place for fried chicken sandwiches, Southern-leaning brunch, and steady drinks to match. But don’t forget about the place’s barbecue backbone, because owner and chef Aaron Robins still knows how to turn out a mean rack of ribs.

An overhead image of brisket, links, and more from a barbecue restaurant.
A platter of meat from Boneyard Bistro.
Aaron Robins

Big Ant’s BBQ

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Hailing from Louisiana, this eastside restaurant is light on decor and heavy on smoke, with options for links, chicken, brisket, pulled pork, and all the usual sides.

Domestic BBQ

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Now with two locations (including the original in La Puente), this east Los Angeles County star turns out a wide array of smoked meats and other dishes, from burgers and ribeyes (and tea-smoked duck breast) to brisket, tri-tip, and St. Louis-style pork ribs.

An overhead shot of a red checkered plate with ribs and on-bone barbecue meats.
Domestic BBQ
Farley Elliott

Bludso's Bar & Que

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Bludso’s is an institution at this point, turning out reliable Texas-style smoked meats in a sports bar-like environment along La Brea. Co-founder Kevin Bludso is Los Angeles barbecue royalty, so it’s no surprise this place still holds up.

Moo’s Craft Barbecue

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Moo’s Craft Barbecue began life as an East LA backyard pop-up before becoming a staple tenant at Smorgasburg LA. Now the family-run setup operates a restaurant of its own, further east in Lincoln Heights. Moo’s serves some of the most impressive brisket and links in LA, if not America, with LA-specific sides like esquites to match.

Sliced barbecue meats with pink onions and chile pepper on butcher paper.
Moo’s Craft Barbecue
Farley Elliott

Slab BBQ

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Burt Bakman and his Slab team serve up some of LA’s top barbecue, starting from a trailer in a backyard and moving on to become a top player in the smoked meat scene. Stop by for Monday pastrami, all-the-time brisket, smoked chicken, and ribs two ways.

Smoke Queen BBQ at Smorgasburg

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This Orange County specialist has been anchoring the new smoked meat scene at Smorgasburg in Downtown Los Angeles lately, turning out crispy pork belly, smoked brisket, and a bunch of unique-to-them flavors that make this one of the most interesting new barbecue options to hit Los Angeles in years. The standard hours helps to keep new customers coming, too. Look for a brick and mortar restaurant to open in Garden Grove in 2023.

A long blade cuts char siu beef inside Smoke Queen BBQ 
Char siu beef from Smoke Queen.
Wonho Frank Lee

The Bad Jew at Smorgasburg

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Rebecca King is helping to change the LA barbecue landscape, one barky pastrami-brined pork shoulder at a time. Find her meats done as sandwiches and plates at the weekly Smorgasburg in Downtown Los Angeles.

Crusted pork shoulders on an offset smoker, being barbecued.
Porkstrami on the pit.
Farley Elliott

Phillips Bar-B-Que

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It’s no surprise that long lines snake out of Los Angeles barbecue icon Phillips Bar-B-Que, especially on weekends. This is a classic spot for saucy ribs, rib tips, chicken links, and more.

A white and blue sign during the daytime for Phillips Barbecue.
Phillips Bar-B-Que
Phillips Bar-B-Que

RibTown BBQ

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Lonnie Edwards is the smiling face behind Ribtown, the daily parking lot rib specialist in Jefferson Park. His off-set smoker, small selling trailer, and a few open-air tables are all it takes to turn out some of LA’s most tender rib tips — and don’t sleep on the beef ribs, either.

For a barbecue destination that feels like something special: Ribtown BBQ.
Ribs from Ribtown
Farley Elliott

Santa Maria Barbecue

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For more than three decades, Santa Maria Barbecue and Catering has held it down for the greater Culver City area. The group focuses on California’s most well-known regional smoke style, using red oak to cook off tri-tip cuts, ribs, and a whole lot more. Find them via catering and/or delivery options.

Maple Block Meat Company

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Maple Block has earned plenty of praise over the years, including from the vaunted Texas Monthly magazine. These days the restaurant continues to turn out barky brisket and tender ribs, while also moving into one-off holiday and weekend menus that use smoked meats as a baseline for so much more.

Woody's Bar-B-Q

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Big, sticky takeaway platters of pork ribs and slices of brisket are the main attraction at Woody’s, a staple Southern spot that’s been cooking in South LA for a generation. Far from the delicate, salt-and-pepper-only Texas style of barbecue, this is a saucy place to get those hands reliably messy.

Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Farley Elliott

Ray's BBQ

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Ray’s has been quietly serving the Huntington Park area for several years, doling out brisket, ribs, and links. The strip mall stop has legions of lunchtime and weekend fans from the local community.

Barbecue from Ray’s Halal Texas BBQ in Huntington Park.
Ray’s BBQ
Matthew Kang

The Wood Urban Kitchen

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Part sports bar, part late night patio hangout, part barbecue restaurant of Inglewood’s dreams. It’s hard to pin down the Wood Urban Kitchen on Market Street, simply because the restaurant can do it all so well. Swing in for big platters of saucy meats and extra-barky ribs.

An overhead shot of saucy meat from a barbecue restaurant, including very bark-heavy ribs.
The Wood Urban Kitchen
Farley Elliott

Robert Earl's BBQ

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This north Long Beach barbecue staple doesn’t offer much in the way of ambiance, but that’s sort of the point. Instead, the family focuses on making some of the most popular barbecue in town, with plenty of pulled pork, brisket, hot links, ribs (and rib tips), to go around. Expect a wait, especially on busy weekends.

My Father's Barbeque

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This family-run Carson restaurant is the place for barbecue with heart. The center of My Father’s Barbeque has always been chef and pitmaster Shalamar Lane, who presides over a hulking bespoke smoker to make some of the city’s best ribs, hot links, smoked chicken, and more.

Ribs, brisket, and pulled pork with sides from My Father’s Barbeque in Carson.
Ribs, brisket, and pulled pork with sides from My Father’s Barbeque in Carson.
Matthew Kang

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Zef BBQ

Two hands hold a large tray of smoked meat including brisket, photographed from above.
A barbecue plate from Zef.
Wonho Frank Lee

This weekly Simi Valley sensation is part pop-up, part restaurant, part meme-generating Instagram sensation. Chef/owner Logan Sandoval makes whatever the heck he wants, every week, from smash burgers to beef ribs and curry noodles to smoked housemate Spam musubi — and the fans can’t get enough. Expect fast sellouts, long lines, and lots of banana pudding for dessert. Address provided after pre-ordering.

Two hands hold a large tray of smoked meat including brisket, photographed from above.
A barbecue plate from Zef.
Wonho Frank Lee

Swinging Door BBQ

While LA’s barbecue scene feels like a recent thing, its history goes back decades and is deeper than just the backyard Texas-style stuff in play now. For a glimpse of simple, high quality barbecue done with love (and for the local community) head up to Swinging Door. Lightly charred ribs, fatty brisket, and more come off a unique two-forked off-set smoker, and big take-home platters are always available.

The Memphis Grill

For a taste of Tennessee-specific barbecue, get to the Memphis Grill in North Hollywood. The pandemic-era restaurant has been turning out some surprising meats over the past year-plus, and has big plans to not only grow its menu but also its restaurant, so keep an eye on them for more.

Boneyard Bistro

An overhead image of brisket, links, and more from a barbecue restaurant.
A platter of meat from Boneyard Bistro.
Aaron Robins

Sherman Oaks’s Boneyard Bistro has grown over the years to become a kind of timeless gastropub, a place for fried chicken sandwiches, Southern-leaning brunch, and steady drinks to match. But don’t forget about the place’s barbecue backbone, because owner and chef Aaron Robins still knows how to turn out a mean rack of ribs.

An overhead image of brisket, links, and more from a barbecue restaurant.
A platter of meat from Boneyard Bistro.
Aaron Robins

Big Ant’s BBQ

Hailing from Louisiana, this eastside restaurant is light on decor and heavy on smoke, with options for links, chicken, brisket, pulled pork, and all the usual sides.

Domestic BBQ

An overhead shot of a red checkered plate with ribs and on-bone barbecue meats.
Domestic BBQ
Farley Elliott

Now with two locations (including the original in La Puente), this east Los Angeles County star turns out a wide array of smoked meats and other dishes, from burgers and ribeyes (and tea-smoked duck breast) to brisket, tri-tip, and St. Louis-style pork ribs.

An overhead shot of a red checkered plate with ribs and on-bone barbecue meats.
Domestic BBQ
Farley Elliott

Bludso's Bar & Que

Bludso’s is an institution at this point, turning out reliable Texas-style smoked meats in a sports bar-like environment along La Brea. Co-founder Kevin Bludso is Los Angeles barbecue royalty, so it’s no surprise this place still holds up.

Moo’s Craft Barbecue

Sliced barbecue meats with pink onions and chile pepper on butcher paper.
Moo’s Craft Barbecue
Farley Elliott

Moo’s Craft Barbecue began life as an East LA backyard pop-up before becoming a staple tenant at Smorgasburg LA. Now the family-run setup operates a restaurant of its own, further east in Lincoln Heights. Moo’s serves some of the most impressive brisket and links in LA, if not America, with LA-specific sides like esquites to match.

Sliced barbecue meats with pink onions and chile pepper on butcher paper.
Moo’s Craft Barbecue
Farley Elliott

Slab BBQ

Burt Bakman and his Slab team serve up some of LA’s top barbecue, starting from a trailer in a backyard and moving on to become a top player in the smoked meat scene. Stop by for Monday pastrami, all-the-time brisket, smoked chicken, and ribs two ways.

Smoke Queen BBQ at Smorgasburg

A long blade cuts char siu beef inside Smoke Queen BBQ 
Char siu beef from Smoke Queen.
Wonho Frank Lee

This Orange County specialist has been anchoring the new smoked meat scene at Smorgasburg in Downtown Los Angeles lately, turning out crispy pork belly, smoked brisket, and a bunch of unique-to-them flavors that make this one of the most interesting new barbecue options to hit Los Angeles in years. The standard hours helps to keep new customers coming, too. Look for a brick and mortar restaurant to open in Garden Grove in 2023.

A long blade cuts char siu beef inside Smoke Queen BBQ 
Char siu beef from Smoke Queen.
Wonho Frank Lee

The Bad Jew at Smorgasburg

Crusted pork shoulders on an offset smoker, being barbecued.
Porkstrami on the pit.
Farley Elliott

Rebecca King is helping to change the LA barbecue landscape, one barky pastrami-brined pork shoulder at a time. Find her meats done as sandwiches and plates at the weekly Smorgasburg in Downtown Los Angeles.

Crusted pork shoulders on an offset smoker, being barbecued.
Porkstrami on the pit.
Farley Elliott

Phillips Bar-B-Que

A white and blue sign during the daytime for Phillips Barbecue.
Phillips Bar-B-Que
Phillips Bar-B-Que

It’s no surprise that long lines snake out of Los Angeles barbecue icon Phillips Bar-B-Que, especially on weekends. This is a classic spot for saucy ribs, rib tips, chicken links, and more.

A white and blue sign during the daytime for Phillips Barbecue.
Phillips Bar-B-Que
Phillips Bar-B-Que

RibTown BBQ

For a barbecue destination that feels like something special: Ribtown BBQ.
Ribs from Ribtown
Farley Elliott

Lonnie Edwards is the smiling face behind Ribtown, the daily parking lot rib specialist in Jefferson Park. His off-set smoker, small selling trailer, and a few open-air tables are all it takes to turn out some of LA’s most tender rib tips — and don’t sleep on the beef ribs, either.

For a barbecue destination that feels like something special: Ribtown BBQ.
Ribs from Ribtown
Farley Elliott

Santa Maria Barbecue

For more than three decades, Santa Maria Barbecue and Catering has held it down for the greater Culver City area. The group focuses on California’s most well-known regional smoke style, using red oak to cook off tri-tip cuts, ribs, and a whole lot more. Find them via catering and/or delivery options.

Maple Block Meat Company

Maple Block has earned plenty of praise over the years, including from the vaunted Texas Monthly magazine. These days the restaurant continues to turn out barky brisket and tender ribs, while also moving into one-off holiday and weekend menus that use smoked meats as a baseline for so much more.

Related Maps

Woody's Bar-B-Q

Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Farley Elliott

Big, sticky takeaway platters of pork ribs and slices of brisket are the main attraction at Woody’s, a staple Southern spot that’s been cooking in South LA for a generation. Far from the delicate, salt-and-pepper-only Texas style of barbecue, this is a saucy place to get those hands reliably messy.

Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Woody’s Bar-B-Q
Farley Elliott

Ray's BBQ

Barbecue from Ray’s Halal Texas BBQ in Huntington Park.
Ray’s BBQ
Matthew Kang

Ray’s has been quietly serving the Huntington Park area for several years, doling out brisket, ribs, and links. The strip mall stop has legions of lunchtime and weekend fans from the local community.

Barbecue from Ray’s Halal Texas BBQ in Huntington Park.
Ray’s BBQ
Matthew Kang

The Wood Urban Kitchen

An overhead shot of saucy meat from a barbecue restaurant, including very bark-heavy ribs.
The Wood Urban Kitchen
Farley Elliott

Part sports bar, part late night patio hangout, part barbecue restaurant of Inglewood’s dreams. It’s hard to pin down the Wood Urban Kitchen on Market Street, simply because the restaurant can do it all so well. Swing in for big platters of saucy meats and extra-barky ribs.

An overhead shot of saucy meat from a barbecue restaurant, including very bark-heavy ribs.
The Wood Urban Kitchen
Farley Elliott

Robert Earl's BBQ

This north Long Beach barbecue staple doesn’t offer much in the way of ambiance, but that’s sort of the point. Instead, the family focuses on making some of the most popular barbecue in town, with plenty of pulled pork, brisket, hot links, ribs (and rib tips), to go around. Expect a wait, especially on busy weekends.

My Father's Barbeque