Summer is upon us, and for many Angelenos, that means firing up the grill for backyard barbecuing whenever the mood strikes. For the millions of people in Los Angeles that live in apartment complexes where the community BBQ pit looks more like a breeding ground for Salmonella, it means heading to a restaurant for that sweet smoky flavor. Some BBQ connoisseurs say the key to great BBQ is all in the sauce. Others claim it’s in the meat. Whatever the case, getting bad BBQ can definitely diminish your summertime spirit. So when you find yourself in the mood for a messy good time, head to one of these five BBQ joints and you won’t be disappointed.
Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas BBQ
8136 Sepulveda Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91402
You know when a place has been around for over 40 years it has to be good. Such is the case with the Valley’s Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas BBQ. Set in an unassuming intersection on Sepulveda Blvd. in Van Nuys, this spot is all about Texas BBQ and they do it really well. On the menu is a slew of options which include their slowly smoked meats cooked in an authentic brick pit oven using firewood. Delicious BBQ sanwdiches include sliced pork, sliced beef, sliced ham, pulled pork or spare ribs, or you can order either ala carte or by combo. Combos let you mix and match any of their meat items and are served with delicious fresh baked bread and your choice of baked beans, macaroni salad, potato salad or coleslaw. Come with a big appetite as you won’t want to stop eating!
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609 N La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Another Texas-inspired BBQ join, Bludso’s BBQ claims to bring “the best in Texas-style barbeque” and surely delivers that much and more. With locations in Compton and on La Brea Ave., this famed bbq spot offers everything from brisket, ribs, bbq chicken and more. Created by Texas native Kevin Bludso, the restaurant offers an array of options for the bbq-loving crowd including pork shoulders, rib tips, beef ribs, brisket, sausage links and more. Sides include potato salad, baked beans, cole slaw, must-order greens and mac and cheese. And, if you can garner some extra space, you’ll want to order one of their famed desserts. A banana pudding is a must, as is their peach cobbler. It’ll make you feel as if you’ve stepped into the heart of Texas.
Horse Thief BBQ
324 S Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Situated in Grand Central Market, Horse Thief BBQ is owned and operated by two Texas native’s with an approach of offering traditional Central Texas BBQ along with modern sides. Serving lunch and dinner until they run out of food, the Brisket here is the way to go. Smoked for over 15 hours and dry rubbed, it’s a must for any first timer. But, really anything is delicious given the owners’ slow cooking method. Pulled pork, pork ribs, smoked chicken are also terrific tasty options. While most BBQ joins lack in the side department, Horse Thief takes it to a new level with favorites like their German potato salad, collard greens, jambalaya, creamed corn and cornbread, as well as beans, french fries and more.
Kansas City BBQ
10863 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Kansas City BBQ sits in the outskirts of North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District on Magnolia Boulevard. This ghetto-fab meets mid-west eatery imports its meat from ranches in Wyoming, Nebraska and California, and the wood from Oklahoma, to deliver an authentic hickory flavor. Smoked 20 hours and treated with a blend of spices, the rib dishes and burnt end sandwich deliver an abundance of flavor and a better time than any backyard BBQ you’ve been to.
Randolph’s Smoke House
8472 S. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90001
Blink and you might miss one of Los Angeles’ best spots for delicious barbeque. Next to Chambers Shoe Repair between 85th Street and 84 Place, Randolph’s Smoke House is well worth the trip. The ribs are “low and slow” smoked and tastes best if you’re lucky enough to get there on the day they’re smoked (you can call for the smoke schedule) but even the day after the ribs are still better than most, despite the charred appearance. The menu offers BBQ beef, pork and chicken combos and sandwiches with various standard sides like beans, potato salad and corn bread. However, the mac-n-cheese is made with real cheese and, dare to say, better than mom used to make.
Bonnie B’s Smokin’ BBQ Heaven
1280 N. Lake Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91104
Bonnie B’s Smokin’ BBQ Heaven is a firm believer in TLCC (tender loving care cooking) and serves up that motto with every plate of mouthwatering BBQ. You can actually taste the love with her 24-hour marinating, dry-rub ribs and slow cooked and smoked ribs as making great BBQ is all about the preparation at this cozy joint. It also has an award winning secret sauce that has been family perfected and protected for many years. The beef brisket is chopped, not sliced, and the ribs stay true to the Oklahoma style that was the original inspiration. And fear not vegetarians for Bonnie B’s has love for you, too. All vegetables are cooked separately.
Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.