Where to Eat Barbecue in Los Angeles
Ribs, brisket, smoked wings and more available for takeout and delivery.
There are cities you travel to just for the barbecue (during non-pandemic times anyway). But just because LA may not be world renowned for our baby backs and brisket doesn’t mean we don’t have a slew of stellar spots worth staining your shirt for. And because we’re not beholden to a certain style a la Texas or Memphis, we get to choose from a melting pot of regional specialties from Kansas-style burnt ends to slaw-topped pulled pork sandwiches that’ll transport you to the Carolinas.
“Chefs becoming more well-traveled, visiting iconic institutions around the country, and infusing different styles and techniques into their own menus, has helped shape the world of barbecue here,” says barbecue expert Adam Perry Lang, chef and owner of Hollywood steakhouse APL, its offshoot, APL BBQ, and the just-reopened Perry Lang’s in Yountville. “We have this wonderful opportunity here in LA not only to take these certain mantras of great barbecue, but be able to play them up a little bit differently. For example -- I’ll cook brisket in a Texas-style way, however I have my own intricacies, which I picked up while being in Kansas City and traveling around so I put my own personality to it.”
The LA barbecue community is a tight-knit one, says Perry, who adds chefs frequently talk to each other, offering help, support, and advice. “That’s one of the greatest things about barbecue, that information permeates from one respected pitmaster to the next,” he explains.
LA restaurants just reopened for dine-in service, but the uptick in to-go orders isn’t going anywhere. There’s another reason people are turning to barbecue right now, says Lang: “During these times when we’re really challenged, people gravitate towards comfort food.” For many, barbecue is just that.
Here are some of the best places still open in LA to grab ribs, brisket, hot links, and whatever other smoky, saucy dishes will bring you a dose of comfort during this time.
The meaty pop-up launched by spouses Andrew and Michelle Muñoz quickly became a cult favorite when it began dishing up Texas-style barbecue out of an East LA backyard and later at Sunday food fest, Smorgasburg. Since March, the spot has been delighting its sheltering-in-place fanbase with a curbside pickup offering on Saturdays and Sundays at The Row. You can pre-order items like pulled pork and brisket by the pound, racks of pork spare ribs, and packs of jalapeno-cheddar sausage along with sides and key lime pies to ensure a decadent weekend.
How to order: Pre-order online. Weekend pickup only.
Israeli native Burt Bakman made a splash on the LA food scene a few years back with his literal backyard barbecue at his Studio City home known as Trudy’s Underground Barbecue, where he’d created Texas-style specialties in his giant custom-built smoker. Since then, the pitmaster has opened his very own brick-and-mortar spot to plenty of fanfare. Right now, his takeout menu includes brisket, smoked chicken, the ridic “Ooh” brisket sandwich, racks of both spare and baby back ribs, and sides like cole slaw, collard greens, and corn in addition to containers of his signature sauces.
How to order: ChowNow for pickup or through Postmates for delivery.
Adam Perry Lang’s upscale steakhouse rolled out a daytime menu last year that put the renowned meat master back in the pit doing what he loves most: barbecue. Right now, you can get signature dishes including his low-and-slow brisket and pulled pork by the half pound, half racks of ribs, a pulled pork sandwich topped with a mustardy slaw and a double beef hatch chili dog. “My barbecue is defined first and foremost by the fire that is burning and how it’s burning. I don’t really care for overly smoky barbecue. Mine tends to be lighter in the smoke.” he tells us. And a bit of an inside scoop: Lang has been cold-smoking tons of salmon to include in the meals he’s been donating (APL has been serving meals to hospital workers and partnered with Lang’s pal Jimmy Kimmel for a meal-matching program with non-profit St. Joseph Center in Venice) and plans to add it to his regular menu -- along with smoked duck, maybe -- sometime soon.
How to order: Online for pickup or Grubhub and Postmates for delivery.
Eagle Rock’s Max City has gained a cult following by serving up Southern-style barbecue, wood-smoking St. Louis ribs and pork, and sourcing local ingredients for their collard greens, coleslaw, salads, and seasonal pies. Order up mixed meat plates of ribs, brisket, smoked chicken and sides in addition to sandwiches (there’s a housemade butter bean veggie burger on offer, too) and “Feed a Crowd” platters. The crew asks that you call before ordering from any app to make sure they haven’t sold out of what you’re looking for.
How to order: Direct through ChowNow for pickup or UberEats, Postmates and DoorDash for delivery. Call 323-254-4227 to get the daily menu.
Sadly, the OG Bludso’s in Compton is gone, but the fancier La Brea offshoot lives on, taking Kevin Bludso’s original recipes -- juicy brisket smoked low and slow for 14 hours, great pork ribs, amazing pulled pork – and giving them the love they deserve. In addition to its bevy of barbecue dishes available for instant gratification, you can also get Bludso’s @ Home frozen and vacuum-sealed family-size portions of whole brisket, smoked pork shoulder, and Texas red hot links along with refrigerated sides, all with reheating instructions and whole pans of that standout banana pudding.
How to order: Direct through ChowNow for pickup or delivery or Goldbelly for nationwide shipping.
The hidden standby near Union Station known for its hickory-smoked barbecue with vinegary Carolina-style sauces is offering much of its menu to pre-order for pickup or delivery Friday through Sunday. Look for smoked and pulled pork and honey bacon chicken sandwiches topped with unorthodox add-ons like ranch dressing and Muenster cheese along with plates of tri tip, brisket, burnt ends, Louisiana hot links, and slabs of beef and baby back ribs. You can mix and match meats for larger family-style platters that come with a variety of sides like slaw, mac and cheese, corn bread, and baked beans. Dine-in service available Wednesday through Sunday from 12pm to 8pm.
How to order: Through the restaurant’s website for pickup; via PDQ Courier for local delivery to DTLA, Echo Park, and Boyle Heights; or through Postmates for delivery elsewhere.
The modern barbecue joint on the Westside serves up wood-smoked classically prepared meats and elevated sides (plus two types of coleslaw to satisfy those craving creamy or the vinegar-based kind). The place is still offering an extensive a la carte menu in addition to special combos including a 3- or 6-packs of smoked brisket tacos, and big-dog family dinners to go including a meat sampler with a pound of that fabled brisket, pork spare ribs, a couple of housemade sausage links, a salad and sides. Dine-in service available daily from 11:30am to 9pm.
How to order: via Chownow, Caviar, DoorDash, or Postmates for pickup or delivery.
The South Bay food truck and catering outfit specializes in Central Texas-style eats (owner and chef Dustin Bartz spent years in Austin) smoking its meats over white oak and mesquite wood for 10-plus hours. Right now you can sign up for Saturday pickup of pork specialties sold by the pound like brisket-style pork belly and pork belly burnt ends along with whole racks of Korean sticky pork ribs, and containers of its barbecue sauce and house-made pickles.
How to Order: Sign up online for a pickup time and for ordering and payment instructions.
This shack-sized space -- right where La Cienega and Fairfax meet – is one of those spots you've probably driven by 1,000 times and never looked at twice. Now’s the time to try it out and take home great Memphis-style sandwiches of pulled pork, brisket, and housemade chicken sausage; slabs pork, beef and baby back ribs; and sweet, succulent baked beans. There’s a bevy of burgers and dogs, too.
How to order: Via walk-up window, through Postmates, or by calling 310-837-6838 for pickup and delivery.
Venice, Echo Park
Alright, we'll admit it's divisive: barbecue purists sometimes hate on this beloved-by-everyone-else mini-chain, but we're going on taste alone – that and the memories of when the OG Venice location was more of a mom-and-pop, BYO, wait-on-the-sidewalk kinda place. They offer a wide range of excellent housemade sauces (ranging from mild to sweet to habanero-infused XXX), tons of sides including that elusive barbecue category, the vegetable with stewed tomatoes, sautéed okra, collard green options, and delicious meat with sliced Black Angus brisket, hormone-free smoked chicken, and ribs done both Memphis and Texas-style.
How to order: Via Toast for pickup or delivery from Venice or Echo Park.
Santa Monica and Culver City
With locations in Santa Monica and Culver City; their menu is more far-reaching than most, with not just the standard brisket, rib, and chicken line-up, but also beef ribs on weekends, fried chicken sandwiches, and an extensive sides menu that includes an insanely great smoky corn chowder as well as kale and quinoa salads to combat the COVID-19.
How to order: Via ChowNow for pickup and delivery from both locations.
This Texas-style window opened at Grand Central Market a few years ago, and is known now for its moist brisket and tender ribs, along with craveworthy sides like cornbread and banana pudding. The spot’s current to-go menu is full of meat plates, and a few classic sandwiches on glossy brioche rolls including a killer fried chicken option.
How to order: Via Caviar Wednesday through Sunday for pickup and delivery.
This classic valley spot’s a little classier than your average barbecue joint, but the meat is totally legit; hits include hand-rubbed, hickory-smoked pork ribs and Santa Maria tri-tip, as well as fried mac and cheese (!!). Look for lots of Mexican and Tex-Mex-inspired specialties including brisket tacos, tri-tip quesadillas, in addition to sandwiches that run the gamut from Wagyu burgers to hot Nashville chicken to Philly steak.
How to order: Via DoorDash, Postmates, UberEats, and Grubhub for pickup and delivery.
Since the '60s, this Valley staple has been marinating delicious brisket and spareribs in its distinctive special sauce, served in truly monstrous portions. Expect your leftovers game to get a serious boost after a single take-out order from this joint. Dinner plates of hot links, baby backs, and pulled pork all come with two sides and a half-loaf of bread and you might as well throw in some of that sweet potato pie while you’re at it.
How to order: Via Chownow for pickup or Postmates or Grubhub for delivery.
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