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Mr. Cecil's BBQ on Ventura. Is it worth it?

I always have a favorite BBQ joint of the moment. Right now it's Kansas BBQ Company on Magnolia. Dem Beans Be Tasty! This morning driving down Ventura Blvd. I saw a place called Mr. Cecil's BBQ. The internet and this site tells me that there is another one on Pico. Is it a chain? The whole forced "ramshackle" design of the building, complete with corrugated tin roof, stinks way too much of corporate focus group design, like House of Blues. IMO, nothing kills good BBQ quicker that "Big Business"

So tell me board… Is their Q any good?


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  1. SKIP IT, nothing great at all, drive a few blocks down to "Boneyard Bistro" instead for great BBQ, its sort of hidden and doesn't look like a barbecue joint from the outside, once you bite in their food you'll be pleased. If your after a take out spot go for "Uncle Andre's BBQ"



    7 Replies
    1. re: Hypnotic23

      Second Boneyard. Better beer and wine there, too.

      1. re: Diana

        I had a horrible experience at Boneyard, but I will agree that Cecil's is not even worth the drive.

        1. re: dlayiga

          Could you explain your "...horrible experience..." a bit? Was it the food, service, price or........?

        1. re: Hershey Bomar

          What he said. Boiled ribs with burned-on sauce.

          1. re: Hershey Bomar

            That's too bad. I hadn't had a chance to check it out and heard some good things.

          2. re: Hypnotic23

            Gee, talk about your "boil-then-soak-in-mediocre-sauce!". I'm just sayin'. Greens and Black-Eyed Peas rock, though.

          3. I just went for the first time a few days ago (Ventura location). Had the baby back ribs and a few sides. Overall I thought the ribs were good (moist, flavorful, falling off the bone), sides were ok (fries, hush puppies, cole slaw)....in general a decent meal but a bit pricey for bbq. Worth a shot if you like trying new things, but I doubt it would become your new favorite.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Another no from me. Haven't been to Kansas City BBQ, so can't compare the two.

                Mr Cecil's is from the boil ribs, then burn sauce on at the end school of bbq. If you like real wood smoke in the meat, you won't find it here.

                1. For their pork ribs, I thought the flavor was nice, a sweet-smokey, not very tender, though. However, I hated their bbq sauces: the regular sauce was too sweet, and the spicy sauce tasted like supermarket bottled sauce.

                  1. I'm not a rib eater, so I can't comment on that. I had the hot link sandwich, and I thought it was too expensive for the quantity and the quality.

                    I never went back.

                    1. i've had the pico location ribs many times and i like them for what they are - still prefer JR ribs on la cienaga for their sauce - cecil's sauce is not good but the ribs dry have a good seasoning on them so edible without sauce - sides are okay - prices are high

                      1. I'm absolutely not into Mr. Cecil's. They just aren't any good. Boil and broil a rack at home and you'd be better off I think. You can't do worse with regards to flavor and you'll save yourself some money.

                        I'm the reverse of paulfromla. I find the ribs to be poor dry, though they are seasoned. I'd rather slather their mediocre sauce on them to get some sort of flavor boost rather than eat them dry. Scratch that. They aren't even worth the trouble of eating.

                        I cannot speak for them personally but I have heard good things about Uncle Andre's, which Hypnotic23 has mentioned. A crap shoot is always better than certain crap.

                        1. I would reccomend Kansas City BBQ. On Magnolia between Cahuenga & Vineland.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: 420 Reasons to eat

                            I'll second, Kansas City BBQ but check out Creo's Southern Kitchen on Lankershim, where Uncle Flip's once lived. Looks "purt gewd t'eat".

                          2. Mr. Cecil's ribs are too burned (not much meat left after I carved off the carcinogenic parts), too pricey, and the sauce they give is too ketchupy.

                            1. Skip it. Ribs are just okay. Sides are REALLY bad. The place is very overpriced for the quality of food. You'd be better off at Norm's.

                              1. The beef ribs are pretty good but even before food costs rose they were a bit pricey for BBQ. Try Zeke's on Santa Monica (Next to Target) for great pulled pork and a nice iceburg wedge with blue. Orange soda on tap, yum.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: tigger13

                                  YES! Zeke's is probably my favorite BBQ joint in LA right now. Their pulled pork sandwiches are singularly amazing. And their texas toast kicks ass, as well. Not to mention Mexican Coca-Cola!

                                2. The BBQ there is as phony as the building.


                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: BeenThereAteThat

                                    I won't argue the quality or lack there of when it comes to Mr. Cecil's product. But I will mention that their building on Pico Blvd. is a very significant and valuble part of L.A.'s chow history as is the other remaining example on Valley Blvd. They were part of the long gone Chili Bowl Restaurants and that's why they are shaped like a.....you guessed it - a chili bowl!!!


                                    1. re: sel

                                      Where is the Valley Blvd. "Chili Bowl"?

                                      1. re: sel

                                        I always wondered about this -- thanks for the info! As for the ribs, I enjoy them the way I enjoy ribs at Houston's. At their best, they're tasty, but because they're parboiled, the result is often less than ideal (e.g., meat falling off bone, etc.).

                                    2. Ribs USA is good in Burbank on Alameda. I like Boneyard Bistro as well. They do have a great fried mac n' cheese and beer menu.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: bosanova99

                                        I would never in a million years recommend Ribs USA for ribs and I've always found their mac 'n' cheese to be the most revolting version of the dish I've ever had. (I've never had a fried version, just the regular side.) I do, however, highly recommend the spicy chicken wings at Ribs USA, which I think are the best in the SFV.

                                        1. re: Jwsel


                                          I was refering to the fried mac n' cheese at Boneyard Bistro, not Rib's USA.

                                      2. nothing gets people going like a bbq thread
                                        but as one of the very few, maybe only posters that gives cecil a thumbs up, i was intrigued to notice that another thread which purports to be a bbq taste test gave mr cecil's a third place finish .... shocking considering the utter lack of love it gets on this thread

                                        and i have tried boneyard bistro once and the ribs - so - so - but that fried mac and cheese is so wrong yet soooo right

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: paulfromla

                                          Please note the vintage of that bbq taste test - 2001, when many of the competitors we now discuss were not even in business.
                                          Let's make sure we compare properly before assessing.
                                          If you have not tried the ribs at the boneyard within the past 6 or so months, Aaron has a new supplier and the ribs are even better. And they are ALL smoked on premises. I have walked back there and seen the smoker.
                                          Doubt you will find one at Ms. Cecils.

                                          1. re: carter

                                            Carter, I think paulfromla was referring to this taste test which took place last weekend: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/546226

                                            The tasters themselves were shocked that Mr. Cecil's came in third because as you said, Mr. Cecil's doesn't smoke their ribs. Go figure.