Los Angeles

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It’s easy to get lost in the long hours, the precise technique, and the sacred traditions of barbecue and forget that above all else, barbecue should be fun. Alan Cruz, pitmaster at A’s, doesn’t seem to have that problem—he’s always having a good time slinging his East Los Soul BBQ from his scenic driveway on a hill in East LA. The menu changes a lot—sometimes it’s all smoked meats, sometimes Cruz is flipping smashburgers or making tacos—but it always has an East LA twist on classic, well-executed barbecue technique. The ribs are glazed with tamarindo and perfectly tender, the pulled pork is seasoned like cochinita pibil, and the sausages are spiced like al pastor and flecked with pineapple, and they always have the essential hotgut snap.
How to enjoy: walk up, or order ahead via the website.

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