HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Wood Ranch BBQ - what to order?

I noticed the overwhelming response is the tri-tip - anything else you're a fan of? I suspect a future visit and would like some first-hand knowledge. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. adding the place...

    Wood Ranch Barbeque
    540 New Los Angeles Ave, Moorpark, CA 93021

    1. While not the best in LA, the burger is good and is cooked to order. The peanut cole slaw is good also.

      1 Reply
      1. re: scrappydog

        I actually didn't care for the burger, but only because it's seems to be done over the same fire as their ribs et al. giving it such a SMOKY flavor that I found it undesirable. I don't necessarily suspect it was artificial, but it was so strong, every bite tasted like liquid smoke. For me, that works on a rib, not on a burger. So be warned.

        Also, on a service note, this is one of those corporate places that force their servers to don fake smiles and work from a script, even when it's clear that the customer isn't loving it. A friend and I dropped in late one night, glanced at the menu and ordered two burgers. The server then launched into an awkward monologue: "Is this your first time dining at Wood Ranch Barbeque?" Even though the answer was "no" we were treated to an interminable explanation of their concept and cooking process. By the end we were practically laughing and the server appeared to be in pain. He may have been newish and not yet grasped the subtleties of the upsell. But I've worked at corporate restaurants that insist the servers plow through a script regardless of what cues they're getting from the customer. Some people like to be stroked by contrived corporate fluff I suppose, and some people like to deal with human beings.

      2. If you can, a taxi. If you're at Woodranch in Calabasas, direct the taxi to Dr. Hoggly Woggly's or Boneyard Bistro. If you're at the Grove/Farmer's Market, have them spin you down to JR's, or Phillips. That aside, I agree that the tri-tip is the way to go at Woodranch. Good beans too. It's not bad, it's just very corporate.

        1 Reply
        1. re: techbod

          That's a long taxi ride-Calabasas to Sherman oaks or Van Nuys. It would make for an expensive meal.

          Isnt there a woodracnh in Universal city?

        2. I think Wood Ranch is a very good local chain. Chain restaurants all have some degree of compromise but I think WR puts out a consistently good product in a pleasant atmosphere. The tri-tip is very good even if a bit different from traditional Santa Maria style. The ribs are tasty although not true BBQ...I believe these are seasoned, baked and then finished off on the grill. I've had a lot of good experiences with the chicken dishes as well, but steak and prime rib that I had once each were nothing special. My favorite side by far is the corn on the cob...so many restaurants give you the soft over-boiled stuff but WR's is grilled and tasty. My wife likes their cole slaw as well.

          5 Replies
          1. re: RSMBob

            I second the BBQ Chicken there. Was surprisingly good.

            1. re: wutzizname

              A bacon cheeseburger. I've had it twice and it was great both times. Caution, their bbq sauce is disgusting; ask for it on the side if you get the bacon cheeseburger. Their fries are good too.
              I disagree with the tri-tip UNLESS the tri-tip you get as a dinner is different than the tri-tip in the sandwiches. The tri-tip sandwich tastes like steamed beef slathered in bad bbq sauce. Twice I've had this and have determined that I will get a burger from this place and be happy whenever I have to go here.

              1. re: wutzizname

                I third the BBW chicken salad as well. They have a grilled vegetable with goat cheese salad that's quite good (not sure if that's the exact name though)... though I would order it with light dressing. They tend to drown that salad with dressing which kills the great grilled vegetable taste.

                1. re: ns1

                  Hmm, do I need to change my name to "The great and powerful Oz"? Hey, i appreciate the props and have also enjoyed your great reviews and recs.

              2. Wood Ranch is yummy. I recommend the roasted chicken, mashers, slaw and eating your body weight in their addictive garlic rolls. For pics...


                1. Our favorites, besides the tri tip, are the baby back ribs and the chicken. For the sides, the peanut coleslaw and the smashed sweet potatoes (I would love a recipe for these!!). The tri tip / mushroom soup is also very good.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Michelle

                    I asked for the recipe for the sweet potatoes, and the server came back with the cooks recipe scaled down.......
                    I never made it because it had cream and CREAM CHEESE in it (I wish I didn't know that because now I have huge guilt whever I order it)

                    1. re: msmd310

                      Do you still have that recipe for the sweet potatoes from Wood Ranch? After enjoying them for 7 years now I moved and can't get them anymore :(

                      1. re: msmd310


                        I would *love* to have this recipe, if you don't mind sharing!! Pretty please??

                        1. re: msmd310

                          Do you still have this recipe? If so, I would LOVE it..I've been trying to get it with no luck & these are my absolute favorite thing @ Wood Ranch. I'd like to surprise family & make them for Thanksgiving.

                      2. I like the tri tip and peanut slaw! Just recently had it! Mmm.

                        1. Go for the baby backs, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob.

                          1. Our office has had Wood Ranch catered lunches several times. The tri tip is always the big favorite. I seldom eat beef but I never pass up Wood Ranch's tri tip.

                              1. The mac n cheese side is smooth and creamy - an American-style with mild cheese.

                                Natalie's salad is quite nice,too - greens, blue cheese, avocado, cukes, pecans. As a veg, I enjoy the portobello sandwich (grilled with a mild vinaigrette, roasted red peppers, grilled red onions and cheese).

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Snackish

                                  I've eaten here for over 10 years. It's my family's favorite so there I must go at least 3 times a year. Stick with the bbq chicken on the bone, garlic mashed potatoes and coleslaw. The tri-tip salad with gorgonzola is good too although not as popular as the chicken chopped salad. Their tri-tip is good but I've received dried out tri-tip on my Tri-tip sandwich last time I ordered it. Boo. This has only happened when I ordered the sandwich. Must be a re-heating thing. They are also known for their garlic rolls and BBQ sauce (so good). Try this - get the combo with both the BBQ chicken and the Tri-tip. Best of both worlds. Order the shredded onions for the table to share. Enjoy!

                                2. I've been there once, had the baby backs with veggies, and I think there was some mashed potatoes. The baby backs were good. The veggies were a little burnt, but tasty if you ignore the slight burnt flavor. I prefer my mashed potatoes smooth and rich, these were the lumpy type and dry.

                                  1. I have tried various Wood Ranch locations and have never been impressed till I ordered their BBQ beef brisket sliders at the Agoura restaurant. What a great item - served with cole slaw. I totally enjoyed it.

                                    1. I vote tri-tip, both the dinner and the salad. I was disappointed when Wood Ranch took the “mug-of-margarita special” off the drink menu (Patrón Añejo Tequila on the rocks, yum), but they still have it by request. IMO, they make great cocktails.

                                      1. Went once, Santa Clarita location, ok and just ok meats and sides but awful overly sweet and lacking spice sauce. After Carl's (long gone) BarBQ and Dirty Rice or Phillip's BarBQ sauce and true long cooked Q, I don't see how folks can pay for this mediocrity!!! I won't be going back to Wood Corporate Loose the Oven Baked Meats Ranch!

                                        1. The answer to your question, "Wood Ranch BBQ - what to order?" is...a map, and plot your course to Phillips BBQ, I-10 & Crenshaw blvd. Once you get there, patiently wait in the long line, and order a rack of pork ribs with mixed sauce (half mild-half hot). Nuff' said...

                                          1. I think tri-tip is the best item (at medium-rare). We usually get that and the mashed sweet potatoes. The BBQ pork ribs are decent (as long as you don't think of it as 'BBQ').

                                            I ordered steak once. Decent, but pricey. Too big so I split it.

                                            Chicken is chicken. It's tender, but not like it has a lot of flavor.

                                            Prime rib was tough the one time I ordered it. The Buffalo wings appetizer was not good at all.

                                            2 Replies
                                              1. re: bebo27

                                                I second the grilled trout. Perfectly cooked.

                                            1. I haven't had the trout, bebo27, but for food in general, Wood Ranch is probably better than 3/4ths of the BBQ places lauded on this board -- certainly far better than Hogly Wogly, Baby Blues, and JNJ, e.g. In addition, they're comfortable, attractive restaurants that also serve nice drinks and wine, and I find them much more appealing than faux-South "joints" like Lucille's and Johnny Rebs'. Medium-rare tri-tip is my favorite order at WR (chicken and ribs are good, too), and don't forget the high-quality sides -- sauteed mushrooms and peppers, baked potato, sweet potato fries, mac and cheese, ... -- and good salads.

                                              As noted above in this old thread, management forces the dining-room staff into "corporate" behavior, although it seems to be less of a problem than a few years ago. If you do get a live one, after the "Have you been here before?" opening, I recommend saying, "Yes, I've heard the pitch many times," and that invariably brings out the human being in him or her.

                                              Wood Ranch is no Big Mista', Mista', but, then, neither are the top-rated places here -- Boneyard Bistro, Bludso's, Jay Bee's, etc. Choose it when you're thinking of Houston's or its weak sister Bandera and want something that just hits the spot.

                                              1. The Tahitian Tomato dressing on anything - no serioulsy...salad, bread, baked potato or chicken.


                                                1. Wood Ranch is a good place for large group dining. I'm not much of a carnivore, so when we do go to Wood Ranch, I'm a little reluctant.

                                                  I find their portions to be generous and they have a lot of side dishes. Always, I order just two or three side dishes and am very satisfied. Their sweet potatoes are divine; guard them or they will disappear! Or, you can make sure that every guest at the table orders his own!

                                                  Additionally, their cole slaw and their beans are very good. Be sure to add some BBQ sauce to the beans -- and also to the slaw!

                                                  1. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the soup of the day is a Tri-Tip Mushroom Soup that is quite excellent.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Hackenbush

                                                      Abowl of mushroom soup and one side dish sounds like a perfect dinner to me!

                                                    2. My wife and I go to Wood Ranch in Rancho Santa Margarita way more often than we should. She always orders the beef ribs, and I always order the babyback ribs. It's our favorite BBQ in Orange County, but if someone recommends something better, we're open to suggestions (we've been to Lucille's too).

                                                      1. I really like their grilled vegetable salad. I add medium rare sliced steak to it. It comes with a tangy vinegarette. The vegetables usually include eggplant, peppers and zucchini and onions if I remember correctly.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                          Hi, LA Buckeye Fan. I'm also a Buckeye, but not a fan anymore. I've been away too long.

                                                          That grilled vegetable salad as you describe it sounds really good. I don't think I have ever been with a crowd when anyone ordered that. I'll keep it in mind. I'm glad you posted about it.

                                                        2. I had not heard of that place before, though I used to live in the area.

                                                          I will look at going to try it out - thanks for the recomendations.