Here are LA’s best barbecue joints, for all the ribs, brisket, hot links, and whatever other meats you’ve been craving lately.Less
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since the 60s, this Valley staple has been marinating delicious brisket and spare ribs in its distinctive special sauce, served in truly monstrous portions. Expect your leftovers game to get a serious boost after dining in or taking out an 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.
Eagle Rock’s Max City has gained a cult following by serving up Southern-style barbecue, wood-smoked 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.
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 of pork, beef, and baby back ribs; and sweet, succulent baked beans. There’s a bevy of burgers and dogs on the menu, too.