Food & Drink

The Best LA BBQ Joint for Every Meat

Published On 06/08/2015 Published On 06/08/2015
Joshua Lurie/Thrillist
Bigmista’s
Joshua Lurie/Thrillist
Joshua Lurie/Thrillist
Joshua Lurie/Thrillist
Joshua Lurie/Thrillist
Joshua Lurie/Thrillist
Joshua Lurie/Thrillist
Horse Thief BBQ
Joshua Lurie/Thrillist
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1. Bludso's 811 S Long Beach Blvd, Compton, CA 90221

This BBQ mecca serves up incomparably juicy burgers, thickly shredded pulled pork, and melt-in-your mouth ribs. Opener Kevin Bludso moved to LA from TX, so he specializes in the thick, slow-cooked meat his state is famous for. Sides include baked beans, mac & cheese and potato salad, each perfect in its own right.

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2. Phillips Bar-B-Que 1523 Centinela Ave, Inglewood, CA 90302

When you realize that this BBQ joint doesn't allow you to get the side order of mac-and-cheese as a side for your spare ribs, but requires you to order them as an additional side, you might be put off. But when your teeth sink in to either those ribs or one of your choices in the three meat combo, you'll forget all about your gripes.

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3. Bigmista's Barbecue & Sammich Shop 3444 N Los Coyotes Diagonal , Long Beach, CA 90808 (Long Beach)

The first brick-and-mortar from Neil Strawder, aka Bigmista, is cranking out not just the classics (though you'd be hard-pressed to find better pulled pork in town), but next-level dishes as well, like superlatively smoked pastrami and specialty Q-Buns -- rolls with brisket cooked inside.

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4. Robert Earl’s BBQ 703 E Artesia Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90805 (Long Beach)

Since 2013, Robert Earl, his wife and son have buffeted north Long Beach with pecan wood smoke, which billows from the custom barrel set-up in back. This storefront, which has red and white checked tablecloths, wagon wheels, and model cars on the wall, has earned a fast reputation for serious meat. Their pork spare ribs are lacquered with sauce and cook for 4-5 hours until they’re juicy and carry a satisfying chew. Request spicy sauce, which has good pop, but won’t stun your tastebuds.

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5. JNJ Burger Shack 5754 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016 (Baldwin Hills)

Hidden behind awnings and an iron fence, this literal shack in West Adams specializes in burgers and barbecue standbys like pork ribs, beef brisket, and pulled pork. The menu is crowded with meats and sides (collard greens, chili fries, mac & cheese), and you’ll have to make a game time decision between the BBQ combo plate and one of the single or double burgers. Before you make any rash decisions, know that the signature Four Finger Burger -- two patties, two hot dogs, three slices of bacon, and an egg -- is unforgettable. Aside from the kitchen, JNJ is outdoors, but there’s a covered patio with picnic tables.

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6. The Park's Finest 1267 W temple, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

Not to be confused with a compilation of sassy headshots of cops in Echo Park (but just as alluring!), The Park's Finest is a former catering-only BBQ/Filipino joint just today launching their first cafe-style, shared-table brick-n-mortar, all from a crew of dudes who grew up in the 213 and stayed out of trouble by learning to cook for backyard parties and at their community center.

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7. Smoke City Market 5242 Van Nuys Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91401

This Texas-style spot serves scrumptious BBQ Texas-style, on large platters with white bread, onions, and a variety of finger-lickin' sauces.

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8. Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 210 E 3rd St, Long Beach, CA 90802 (Long Beach)

Beachwood's Long Beach location is perfect for relaxing after catching some surf -- get a few brews, an indulgent entree (mac and cheese, without a doubt), and kick back. Beachwood specializes in BBQ fare in a laid back, diner-style setting. Quaint midcentury modern touches take the decor one step farther and go perfectly with the "so good it must be homemade" plates.

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9. Horse Thief 324 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

An Austin import's opened up this take-out BBQ window, so you know it's legit. Whatever you do, don't miss out on the ribs.

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10. Bludso's Bar & Que 609 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

This BBQ spot/sports bar is a fine place to get loaded up with some serious grub -- get some rib tips, creamy mac 'n cheese, and an assortment of hot links.

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11. Odys & Penelope 127 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Mid Wilshire)

Odys and Penelope, from the married couple behind Hatfield's, is a casual grill named after the protagonists of The Odyssey. The move here: dry-rubbed smoked short ribs and grilled Snake River Wagyu tri-tip.

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12. Barrel and Ashes 11801 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

For the best barbecue in Studio City, look no further than Barrel and Ashes. The family-style menu includes out-of-this-world Texas-style brisket, wings, and tri-tip, plus a gooey, buttery, hoecake for dessert. Add a friendly staff, communal tables, and boozy cocktails, and this spot is a go-to for a casual and beyond-satisfying dinner.

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