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Perdue's BBQ is great -- Pasadena

My folks just moved to Pasadena and for awhile I was content with BBQ from the nearby Whole Foods on Arroyo (don't laugh WH comes from Austin) but that didn't last long. Their Q strangely tastes mostly of water.

I'm here to report that chowhound let me down. I've been on her for 8 years and have high expectations. Perdue's BBQ wasn't on these boards but it was on some others with high reviews. I've now been 3 times in two weeks. Phillips is my favorite Q in LA and now Perdue's is my second.

Perdue's pork spare ribs are dark, meaty, crusty and delicious. They come with crunchy buttery garlicky Texas toast. The red beans and rice is the best I've had in LA. Better than Harold and Bell's. The beef ribs were not my favorite. I didn't try the baby backs and the rib tips were very good. The make their own red velvet cake!

Perdue's has been open for over a year. The friendly family running the place is from Arkansas.

456 E. Orange Grove, Pasadena, CA 91104
Phone: 626.229.0742 Fax: 626.628.0362
Email: bestq@perduesbbq.com

Perdue's Q BBQ
456 E Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

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  1. Thank you for this, Hershey. I will have to try it. Is this the place that is in the same strip mall as Village Pizzaria? It always looks closed to me. Glad to hear they are open. Can you eat in house or is it only to go?

    3 Replies
    1. re: WildSwede

      It is kinda hidden on the first floor of a new condo complex - ha ha. You can eat in and it's a comfy down home kinda vibe ( old photos and woven baskets on the walls) but the tv seems to always be on. Not loud but on.

      1. re: Hershey Bomar

        so you said none of the beef bbq here is good?

        is there pork sausage in the red bean and rice?

        1. re: kevin

          There isn't enough meat red beans for me and no sausage but it's still very tasty.

          I only had the beef ribs but they have a chopped beef sandwich too.

    2. That poor unfortunate building seems cleverly designed to hide whoever's in it - if the pizza place didn't have banners draped everywhere you'd never know it was there. I drive by that place at least twice a day and have NEVER noticed a BBQ place... and of course there's not much of anywhere to park, either. Now I know, I'll make an effort to check them out, especially after having been warned off of Big Mama's...

      Big Mama
      1721 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

      3 Replies
      1. re: Will Owen

        but someone did mentione that at Big Mama's is exceptional. for oyster po boys (not for bbq, of course, though).

        Big Mama
        1721 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

        1. re: kevin

          I believe he just said it "took him back" to New Orleans as no other po' boy in these parts has, and then allowed as how it took a certain amount of imagination. I'd be game to give it a try, and probably will, but I'm in no hurry. I got no major NoLa itch to scratch.

        2. re: Will Owen

          There is parking behind (and under) the building. Plenty of it, too. You enter off Los Robles.

        3. Inspired by the posts to this thread, the wife and I went to Perdue's tonight. We were very, very pleased!!! Finally there is really good BBQ in the SGV! My wife ordered the brisket of beef sandwich, which had lots of tender and tasty thin-sliced beef piled in a Kaiser roll. I ordered the baby back dinner, which came with Texas toast and two sides. I chose the mac cheese and greens.

          The ribs were excellent. Really meaty and tender, and obviously smoked a long time with TLC. They didn't really need the sauce, but the sauce added another dimension. Nicely smoky with just the right amount of sweetness, it was very good. The mac cheese had plenty of cheese and also just the right crustiness. The greens were tasty too, with a nice kick to them. All in all the food was great. The young lady that was at the counter was very friendly and provided excellent service. We were lucky enough to find a parking space right in front. In my opinion, this place is well worth a visit - great BBQ, and finally at a place where we don't have to drive across town!

          1. took my family here on saturday night and while the quality and quantity of food was great, the friendly service was NOT happening for us! the girl behind the counter seemed bored and uninterested. we also could not get over that they have no soda except fruit flavored sodas and snapple... we got the baby back rib plate and the pulled pork sandwich and it's very sour-y for bbq, in my opinion. but the sides (mac and cheese; yams) were great and the quality of meat was good, too... at night, from the outside, the tall chairs in the restaurant almost make it look like the chairs are on top of the table for closing time.

            i'd also recommend taking out from this place, not eating there...

            2 Replies
            1. re: chon76

              Most of the better Q places in LA are takeout only.

              1. re: Hershey Bomar

                WOW. Good reviews...I'm shocked. Perdue's WAS on Western in L.A. at one time. After they were ranked #3 in L.A. via the Steve Harvey "Hoodie Awards" I gave them a shot & came away quite disappointed (as were many others). Maybe they have perfected their recipes (their side dishes were either straight out of the can or slightly modified Smart & Final) AND system.

            2. What a disappointment. This place doesn't compare to Philips. Got a sampler last night, brisket, pork ribs, chicken, hot link, short ribs - the only good thing I can say is that the meat is slow cooked and falls off the bone. The ribs had a lot of fat, which can be quite tasty when done right. But here it was just blobs of greasy fat tissue and really gross. Gooey raw sauce was unnecessarily slathered over much too smokey ribs, the "Texas Toast" was soggy and saturated with butter - I mean you could wring it out and butter another couple of slices. I was expecting baked beans and instead got chili beans (what the?) and the cole slaw? It has apples in it and tasted just like the junk your grandma made that you pushed around on the plate and only pretended to eat. The hot link was hot, flavor typical of any other hot link, but it was really dry. The brisket was just very thinly sliced, no particular flavor, with a nice, big ribbon of soft fat running along the top of each slice. Could have used a trim. Never got to the chicken - I was already feeling a bit queasy. I was hoping against hope that we might finally have another Robbie's Rib Cage, but not even close.

              Perdue's Q BBQ
              456 E Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

              6 Replies
              1. re: Poot728

                Can't argue with some one's opinion especially their BBQ opinion but I'm sick of people ranting about meat falling of the bone as if that's a good thing. Did grandma also serve you ribs made in a crock pot?

                In Jonathan Gold's, "Good to the Bone," review for PHILLIPS’ published on August 05, 2004 he wrote. "Ribs are often described as 'falling off the bone,' as if that state of wet, yielding misery were something to be desired, but the meat of Phillips’ ribs seems rather attached to its bones, clinging to them with a lover’s tenacity, embracing the smooth parabolas in a tight, smoky hug that yields only reluctantly to the teeth."

                I never get my ribs with the sauce on them. I get mine on the side. Just a tip.

                1. re: Hershey Bomar

                  in my experience, "falling off the bone" is a euphemism for succulent and tender. it doesn't actually fall apart or pull away from the bone like a good pot roast.

                  the first time i went to phillips, half of my order was "falling off the bone," the other half was tough and dry. the second time i went, everything was a little dry and quite chewy.

                  if i had to pick one place that has the best texture for pork spare ribs, it would be mom's on imperial. they're just like what mr. gold says of phillips, except they aren't dry and chewy.

                  1. re: Hershey Bomar

                    "Falling off the bone" just means very tender, so unbunch your panties. My point was that the only positive quality was that the ribs were tender. Not all rib joints drown their ribs in sauce - I enjoy it when it's cooked with the ribs and especially when it's carmelized on the grill. Being the first - and last - time at Perdue's I didn't expect it to be so bad.

                    1. re: Poot728

                      Or maybe "Falling off the bone" is a cliche used by people who don't really like BBQ but do like babyback ribs.

                      1. re: Hershey Bomar

                        Ha! Yes, it is a cliche in the sense that it's overused, but it's a pretty common expression that every BBQ lover knows - maybe "practically falling off the bone" would describe it better when the meaning is "sooo tender - but still on the bone"!!

                        As for everyones comments about the horrible service - their excuse Friday was that no one showed up for work. So here we have it: Surly or non-existent customer service, the ding-ding of a microwave reheating food, long waits, blaring TV, the taste of Smart & Final canned food. I agree that the quality of the meat itself is good, but the owners don't seem to care for either their customers or their employees. What a shame.

                        And I love love love barbecue - baby backs aren't my favorite, though. And my grandma didn't own a crockpot, but she always made those weird dishes like lime jello with celery and god-knows-what-else in it.

                        1. re: Poot728

                          "And my grandma didn't own a crockpot, but she always made those weird dishes like lime jello with celery and god-knows-what-else in it." I have not tasted that in over 40 years, but I can taste it now. Either we had the same grandma or that dish was normal!

                          Anyway, it looks to me like I can stop thinking up a good excuse to go to Perdue's. Probably a blessing...

                2. I actually visited Perdues based on your comments. Went there at 1:00 on Wednesday and.... ... we were the only people there. Still, it took something like 25 minutes to get served. Wish I could say we passed the time in pleasant conversation, but CNN on the television was so loud we could barely hear each other. My wife -- who never, ever does something like this finally got up and turned the sound down to the point where it wasn't actually painful. She got a sharp look for her troubles.

                  So, how was the food?

                  In a word -- microwaved. I repeatedly kept hearing a microwave dinging in the back as our food was prepared. I do enough bbq'ing of my own to recognize reheated meat, which actually can have its own charms, but sampling reheated 'cue was not why I spent $25.00 on two sandwiches along with two sides and drink each for us.

                  First the good news -- the brisket sandwich was good and was well presented. The pulled pork on the other hand was just pathetically horrible --- it had a definite leftover taste to it. The meat was dry and ropey (one step beyond stringy) and smothered in a heavy overly sweet sauce in an attempt to revive some moisture --- you know you're in microwave land when the sauce is hotter (temperature and not spiceyness) than the meat.. Both the mac 'n cheese and beans were just passable -- completely unremarkable.

                  Not a good experience at all. Having said that, the brisket showed me that these folks can turn out good food if they want to. All they have to do is suck-it- up and try.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pdn2

                    Sadly, I had the same experience as you with poor service (at one point, two of the three people in the kitchen turned and looked over at me and it was obvious that they had forgotten to place my order... 15 minutes after I had placed it). The ribs were heavily smothered in sauce that killed the smoke flavor that is telling of a good BBQ cook, the pulled pork was dry, and the presentation of everything else was staggered (my sides arrived 5 minutes after my meal and incomplete... read on) and rushed. On the other hand, the people there were very nice and even offered to bag up my bread and beans to go while I was leaving because they forgot to bring them to me while I was eating at my table. I haven't returned since then.

                  2. I live around the corner so I went by for take out lunch earlier this week based on the review. I can say many of the latter observations posted are accurate. I went in around 1:30 two other couples had been waiting for quite sometime for their orders over CNN blasting on the TV. I waited about 10 minutes to place my order and probably another 20 to get it. I ordered rib tips and macaroni and cheese. During my wait the microwave was running constantly and I watched the nice lady pull my rib tips out of the refridgerator, not a good sign. I got it home and it was apparent to me that everything had been reheated most likely from the day before. The actual quality of the rib tips probably two days or so ago was most likely very good, but at this point it had reached the end of its lifespan as it was dried out and chewy and had the aroma of the fridge underlying some tasty BBQ sauce. Needless to say I chucked it. The Mac and Cheese was tasteless, oily and was as old and had been reheated. This was a big disappointment the owners seem very nice and seem to know how make good BBQ for whatever reason due to slow business or wanting to make alot in advance they have cut corners and its taking the toll on the food. I wish them well, but I won't be going back until they get busier...

                    1. After reading the mostly negative posts in this thread, it sounds like my wife and I had an atypical experience over there because our food was fresh and tasty. The service was very good, too. We had read on the Yelp board that it took a long time to get your food and people advised calling your order ahead of time, which we did. When we got there, it took only literally about two minutes before she brought the food to our table. Once we started talking to the girl, she was very friendly. Oh, and we asked for sauce on the side so it wasn't smothered when we got it. Anyway, we were very pleased but I guess we caught them at a good time? I plan on going back.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: monkuboy


                        These other -posters are haters. I tried sharing a tasty new place for Q in Pasadena and everyone bugged out. What other Q options does Pasadena have?

                        LA Q rules:
                        Be open minded. Never order with sauce on top. Sides are never good if the meat is. Call ahead.

                        1. re: Hershey Bomar

                          I hear you! Perdue's is not the best BBQ I've ever had, but it sure beats anything I've had in the SGV, that's for sure. What is nice is you can go eat there and sit at a table. Philips has excellent bbq but I don't think you can go there and sit at a table. At least not inside and if the one outside is being used you are out of luck. I am just glad there is a place with good bbq that I don't have to drive a long distance to reach.

                          1. re: Hershey Bomar

                            What other Q options does Pasadena have?

                            Let's see:

                            -Robin's Wood Fire BBQ & Grill
                            -Zeke's Smokehouse Barbeque
                            -Gus's Barbeque
                            -Hutch's Barbecue
                            -Big Mama's Rib Shack
                            -Barn Burner BBQ
                            -Clifton's BBQ (Friday-Sunday only)
                            -Bonnie B's Smokin

                            I'm partial to Zeke's, Robin's & Gus'. Mama's not so much & Barn Burner not at all. Haven't tried the rest (or Perdue's).

                            So yes, there are options.

                            1. re: Briggs

                              Most of the above are awful and some aren't even in Pasadena.

                              1. re: Briggs

                                ergh, none of those places are worth the convenience of proximity.

                                1. re: Briggs

                                  I've been to Robin's, Gus' and (not on your list) Tony Romas. None of them come close to Perdues. Robins has so many high ratings from people but I found it disappointing, and as for Gus', I like Top's way better than this place (same owners).

                                2. re: Hershey Bomar

                                  "These other -posters are haters." If they're not liking the food, you have plenty of room to disagree with that. But I don't think anyone is inventing the many anecdotes of slow and/or indifferent service; maybe it didn't happen to everyone, but it obviously did happen to many. If the TV is blaring, if the servers would rather hang with each other than serve customers, if the food was nuked right in front of everyone, those are tangible, demonstrable facts, and more than reason enough in my book to stay away.