One of Los Angeles’s most legendary barbecue joints was the brainchild of the late Woody Phillips, who opened his first venue on Slauson in the mid 1970s and gained a loyal following spanning generations. The multiple no-frills locations serve up slow-cooked Southern-style platters of saucy beef and pork ribs, chicken links, and simple sides of coleslaw, macaroni and potato salads, and BBQ beans.
Ragtop Fern isn’t your traditional barbecue restaurant, but rather a weekend pop-up on the stoop of self-taught pitmaster Fernando Carrillo’s home. The full-time UPS driver spends his Saturdays BBQing under a tent with brisket and beef ribs that would make Texas proud, as well as finger-licking pork ribs, all cooked on a smoker that the owner welded himself. The only way to order is to slide into those Instagram DMs and hope you get lucky.
How to order: via Instagram.
This two-plus-year-old collab between Horse Thief’s Anthony Chin and Houston chef John Carrizales touts all-day brisket-stuffed breakfast tacos and burritos along with other Tex-Mex treats like BBQ sauce-doused nachos, and pulled pork-and-pepper jack quesadillas. Also look for hefty plates of tri-tip, hot links, and half-chicken, plus an array of sandwiches and sides of street corn, BBQ beans, Mexican rice, and cornbread with honey butter.
Though the OG Bludso’s in Compton is gone, the newer La Brea location is still going strong, taking Kevin Bludso’s original Texas-inspired recipes—juicy brisket smoked low and slow for 14 hours, great pork ribs, amazing pulled pork, rib tips, even smoked jackfruit for the vegan set—and giving them the love they deserve. With the return of real-deal gatherings, you might also consider some of Bludso’s large-format trays that come with a mix of meats in addition to multiple sides, pickles, cornbread, and some of that beloved BBQ sauce. And don’t forget the banana pudding.
The meaty pop-up launched by spouses Andrew and Michelle Muñoz quickly became a cult favorite when they began dishing up Texas-style barbecue out of an East LA backyard and later at Sunday food fest, Smorgasburg. For the last several months, the couple has been offering curbside pickup on Sundays in the Arts District. 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.
Israel 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 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 menu includes brisket, smoked chicken wings, the ridic “Ooh” brisket sandwich, beef ribs that are only available on weekends, and sides like cole slaw, collard greens, and corn.