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Love's BBQ Rib Sauce?

  • c

As a displaced Angeleno, fond memories of the Baby Back Ribs from Love's Woodpit BBQ come creeping back. I've heard there are only a few locations left. Does anyone have the rib sauce recipe? I remember the ribs having a honey based sauce with a sort of pickling spice in it (bay leaves, etc.). I've bought their bottled sauce on the net, but this isn't what they used on their ribs. They had great bbq beans and cole slaw as well.

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  1. Love's has/had the worst Q I ever tasted.

    End of story!

    2 Replies
    1. re: tondra

      I seems that Chris liked it.
      Maybe you shouldn't end your story, but educate us.

      1. re: tondra

        I think these posts say a lot about perception and memory...It seems that those who posted positive notes about Love's remember the place from their childhood, as do I. When I was 6 years old (since you mentioned first grade) I was hospitalized for 6 weeks with a bacterial infection. Upon release I requested two things: 1) a Vacu-Form (anyone remember those?) and 2) dinner at Love's. I got both things and loved both. Love's was hands-down my favorite place to eat.

        Years later, as an adult, I was hard pressed to remember what I had loved so much about Love's as a child. Kind of like going back to a place and remembering it as having been much larger than it actually is. I was convinced the place had changed for the worst, particularly with regard to the BBQ (beans and slaw still good), but now I think I just liked it better when I was 6 years old.

        Perhaps it was a sauce that particularly appealed to the child's palate.

      2. Say what you want about the BBQ (I also LOVEd it as a kid growing up), but the cole slaw was hands-down THE BEST EVER. Most cole slaws are insipid, overly sweet concoctions. Love's on the other hand, was not only tangy, but actually a bit spicy. Celery seeds had something to do with it, but the dressing itself was simply perfect.

        The bbq beans, which had chunks of meat (pork?) for flavor, were also outstanding.

        I really miss it.

        1. You can buy the sauce online.

          Link: http://www.lovesbbq.com/main.html

          1. Just goes to show that nostalgia is the most powerful flavor enhancer there is. Sorry -- I don't have a source for the rib sauce or marinade, but I'll keep my eye out for it, and if you run across a recipe for the beef soo chow they used to serve at Ah Fongs, let me know!

            1 Reply
            1. re: David Kahn

              David, have you *still* not found the Beef Soo Chow recipe? I know I haven't. Didn't Lord Lipitor say that he had a direct line to the Ah Fong's heiress? I guess that didn't pan out. Well, let's both keep up the search.

            2. Been going to Love's for about 45 years.

              Initially the Encino location, which is long gone. The west L.A. (on Pico) location is now an RJ's, I believe, the Rosemead (Rosemead at I-10) is now something else, the West Covina (Grand at I-10) is now someone else's 'Q joint; the Riverside location was terrible the last time we ate there.

              But in their hey day, the were very good. As a BBQ chain, in fact, they were exceptional. Their baby-backs with that sweetish glaze, the wonderful short ribs, golden, succulent chicken, sliced beef and pork, oustanding coleslaw recipe and the beans with bits of bbq'd meat were great. How many 'Q joints can anyone say did as well with both the meat and the sides?

              The Mrs. and I liked to hang in the bar in the West Covina branch until they folded. Nice, cozy bar, a game on the TV, sippin' a few beers and eat'n 'Q. Life was always better, "in the old days".

              2 Replies
              1. re: Chino Wayne

                West L.A. location on Pico is now a car dealership after languishing unused for quite a long time. Prime property, too.

                1. re: Chino Wayne

                  I don't remember the Encino location but there were 3 other locations in the valley that we just 'love'd; Woodland Hills, Devonshire and Mason, and on Balboa near Devonshire.

                2. There is still a Love's in Lakewood, at least it was there about 10 months ago. It's off of Lakewood Blvd. by the shopping center.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Neta

                    Everytime I drive by the Anaheim or Garden Grove stores, the aroma's quite enticing.
                    There's actually quite a few still around.

                    1. re: Curt

                      When you're in Love's the whole worlds....I'll leave the last word in that jingle up to the individual CH's.

                      See link to Love's locations, sauce purchase or what have you.

                      Link: http://www.lovesbbq.com/main.html

                      1. re: WLA

                        Funny, the one on Euclid, in Anaheim, isn't listed.

                    2. There one also one on Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills, just off the 101 as it crosses near Shoup.

                      I think that location is now an estate planning attorney's office; surely they must have gained at least a few clients while dining at the location when it was Love's back in the old days!!

                      There was also one on Balboa Blvd. just south of Devonshire in Northridge back in the day as well. Don't know what's currently in that location.

                      1. They had great beans. I've found the recipe online (not easy, and hard to replicated because it involves a lot of "bark" - which is the dark chewy meat that was cut off the smoked meats and then put in the beans, which were in turn put in the smoke pit).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: foodiemahoodie

                          Anyone find a recipe for their shortribs? (My sister LOVEd those.)

                        2. There seems to be just one, in Jakarta, Indonesia. It is just too long of a drive from Arizona. Looks like you can order their 'Q' sauce online and maybe get a franchise open for all of us!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Big N Fat

                            I emailed them to see if they could send their ribs through the mail. That was two weeks ago and still no response....hmmm imagine that!

                          2. Here it is. You will probably have to cut the recipe though.

                            1 gal cider vinegar
                            28 cups brown sugar
                            1 cup salt
                            1 cup onion powder
                            1 cup garlic powder
                            1 cup celery seed
                            1/2 cup black pepper
                            1/2 cup paprika
                            1 cup lard
                            4 cups pickling spices

                            Add vinegar and brown sugar to pot over medium hot
                            and blend by stirring. Add other ingredients as you add them
                            stir so they will all blend together. Keep and eye on the pot
                            because if boils over you will have a mess you wont believe. let cook for about 45 minutes, and lower the heat if foams up too fast.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: GRM0511

                              I'm sooo excited. My husband talks about Loves all the time! How lucky am I that this post started in 2004 has the Love's sauce recipe that was just posted a day ago! Yeah! I am going to try to make the sauce this weekend and I will let you all know what my husband says if it is as good as the original.

                              1. re: GRM0511

                                Thank you so much for the recipe. I'm going to make some this weekend, and then smoke them in our smoker over some pecan and apple wood.

                                1. re: sunnyinsandiego

                                  Please let me know if it brings back memories. This recipe is the real deal. It will bring back memories of the Love's right off of the I-8.

                                  1. re: GRM0511

                                    We just finished Loves rib dinner, recipe was close. We needed to cook the sauce longer to get it more syrupy. Also the pickling spice we used contained clove and cinnamon but my husband did not remember those strong flavors. However the coriander seeds and bay leaves brought back memories. We will try again soon. Someone else please post their attempt and let us know the results.

                                    1. re: HollyCali

                                      Sorry it didn't work out the way you hubby remembered. The source I got this recipe from says it was from a Love's chef. I was a Love's fanatic. I seem to remember a little clove.

                                      1. re: GRM0511

                                        It was still the closest taste to Love's he has had in 25 years:)

                                        1. re: HollyCali

                                          Cool. It's funny, I've had this recipe for about a year and I haven't made it yet. I kinda' forgot about it until I read this thread. I'm going to be making it next weekend.

                              2. Great post, brings back memories, I loved Love's. They had great baked beans IIRC.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: Funwithfood

                                  Those beans! I miss those beans!!!

                                  1. re: GRM0511

                                    That's a recipe I'd be interested in having!

                                      1. re: Funwithfood

                                        This should be really close to the original Love's barbecue beans recipe:

                                        3 (1 pound) cans pork n' beans
                                        1 cup packed brown sugar
                                        2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
                                        2 teaspoons chili powder
                                        1/4 cup dark molasses
                                        1/2 cup bottled chile sauce (Hienz Chili)
                                        2 tablespoons vinegar
                                        fried bacon and bacon drippings
                                        liquid smoke

                                        Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Mix well. Cover
                                        and bake at 400 degrees F for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

                                        1. re: RBS55

                                          Can't wait! We are doing the ribs again next weekend. I have my friend's mother coming over. We was also a huge Love's fan.

                                          1. re: HollyCali

                                            Please let us know what you think. I haven't tried the recipe myself, and I can't wait to do so.

                                            I do remember that Love's barbecue sauce had some spices in it that I could never quite identify that made it really different than any other barbecue sauce. Could it be the same pickling spices that go into their rib glaze?

                                            1. re: RBS55

                                              Yes the coriander seeds were very unique. When my husband bit into them the last time we made them he said it brought back a flood of memories.

                                              How did you come upon this recipe?

                                              1. re: HollyCali

                                                I found it while surfing the Web. I've done so many times over the years, and usually any Love's recipes that I've found weren't even close. This one actually sounds like the real deal.

                                                1. re: RBS55

                                                  Can't wait to hear how it worked out...

                                  2. "When you're in Love's, the whole world's delicious." : ) Not great food, but great memories. Thanks.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: EarlyBird

                                      Yep, still remember the jingle.