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Much talk on barbeque this past weekend. Former S.F. hound here. What are the 5 best "sit down" barbeques in the entire L.A. area. I know that Phillip's, Woodys, J&J and the like are great but we're looking for joints that have great music, possibly a bar, comfortable seating and a good barbeque vibe. We'll travel anywhere in the area, beach to the mountains.
Any ideas???

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  1. Well, that's a good question...an interesting one...and a tough one to answer.

    I'll give you my top 2...I've been to probably 30 or 40 in the LA area but 2 stand out to me

    1. Tulsa Rib COmpany - Orange - simply the tastiest "BBQ" meal I've had in SoCal. The baby back ribs and Tulsa potatoes will prboably be my last meal if I ever leave SoCal.

    2. Buckboard BBQ Grill - Upland - this is Santa Maria-style BBQ done right...still the best tri-tip I've ever had, and that includes up in Santa Maria!

    I'll be looking forward to other rplies here...there's a LOT of places I hope to try out.

    1. While I've been to at least 5 BBQ places in LA/OC, not many have been sit-down places, and some were not good enough to recommend to others.

      Best BBQ I've had recently has been at Joey's BBQ, at their Pomona location. Absolutely best beef ribs I've had in a long time, high meat-to-bone ratio, and even every item on the appetizer combo platter tasted good. Usually, one or two items on an appetizer platter are just average, but here, every item was quite tasty.

      There are two other Joey's BBQ locations, one in Upland, the other in Chino.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Wonginator

        I would suggest to the OP that BBQ and great music usually don't travel together. However, I will second the recco for Joey's, not been to the Pomona location, but at the mother-ship in Chino, on a spring or summer evening you can enjoy live cowboy music in Joey's "backyard". And I agree with Wonginator, Joey's has about the best beef ribs in these parts, and I like their brisket too.

        1. re: ChinoWayne

          It's interesting to see a 2-year old thread resurrected, but talking about BBQ never gets old. Since my post back then, I've visited almost every BBQ place in OC, with only 3 places that I haven't tried yet. I've probably tried about 10 different places in LA, but there are at least another 40-50 restaurants that I haven't been to yet.

          Joey's BBQ still stands at the top of my list for best BBQ. Tulsa Rib is still my favorite for OC locations, #2 on my list overall.

          Based off the numerous posts about Porky's, I'm pretty eager to try it. There seem to be 2 different websites, though, touting 2 different locations for the new location opening. Anyone know which one is correct or more accurate?

          new location in Sept 2007 at 1314 Rosecrans Blvd, Gardena

          new location at the end of the year at 937 Redondo Ave, Long Beach

          Both websites list the Manchester Blvd location in Inglewood as the current location.

          1. re: Wonginator

            Yeah, even when the apocalypse comes, people will still be extolling their favorite 'Q and pizza joints.

            1. re: Wonginator

              Regarding Porky's BBQ.

              I believe the Gardena address listed above is the catering location.

              The Restaurant location is,

              Porky's Barbecue
              Restaurant Telephone-310-671-2900
              801 E. Manchester Blvd.
              Inglewood, CA 90301

              ribs123.com is the correct location for now.

        2. That's pretty difficult if you exclude the take-out only places but here's my list of favorites.
          Robin's BBQ in Pasadena
          Baby Blues BBQ in West Los Angeles
          Lucille's BBQ in Long Beach
          Ribs USA in Burbank
          Rib Ticklers in Agoura

          1. Yeah, that's a difficult one to answer since I haven't been to too many sit down joints. But don't forget Tasty-Q on Crenshaw is a sit down joint. I'm not sure if BBQ vibe is what I would describe it. They play gospel music out the window on Sundays and one time I went they let us watch the 'Simpsons' on the TV while we ate our ribs. They do remain one of my favorite places for slabs of pork spareribs.

            1. #1:Johnny Reb's in Long Beach, Bellflower, and Orange.
              Runner ups:
              JR's BBQ on La Cienega at Venice Blvd.
              Baby Blue's on Lincoln in Venice

              second tier: (good tri-tip places)
              Rosie's in SFV
              My Brother's BBQ in Woodland Hills
              The Pig on LaBrea at Melrose (shredded tri-tip)
              Outdoor Cafe on Washington in Culver City
              Santa Maria BBQ company in Culver city

              I have never tried Robin's
              I don't much like Zeke's, JJ's, Andre's, Bennys or Dr. Hoggly's.

              I think the best of LA's BBQ joints are not sit down:
              Phillips, The Pit, Prayer Church, Woody's, etc.

              1. My favorite BBQ in LA has to be JR's BBQ (Culver City). The pork rib literally fall off the bone. Their sauce can be spicy, but has a great texture and works with the BBQ, not against it.

                2nd place would have to go to King's BBQ (Downtown LA). GREAT Tri-trip. Great prices too! Try their 1LB burger, if you can handle it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Devil 2 U

                  FYI, Bar B Que King downtown has outdoor picnic table-type seating only.

                  1. re: Devil 2 U

                    I love their burger, I get mine with chili-yummy!

                  2. For what you describe, I'd have to recommend Baby Blues, on the east side of Lincoln in Venice just north of the Smart & Final. Good pulled pork and ribs, some good sides (some posters like the roasted corn, I prefered the mac'n'cheese, slaw, and corn bread). A real Venice vibe, with laid-back service, pierced cute servers, and moderately high prices. Beware the brisket, it is served stringy like the pork rather than sliced. Fun place, has become deservedly very popular, occasionally runs out of items or they aren't ready yet.

                    My favorite place the last year or so is Porky's, down in Inglewood on Manchester just east of La Brea and west of the Forum. Converted fast-casual place, with a drive-thru, easy parking, and plenty of seating with a bigscreen TV. Extraordinary pulled pork, tender succulent juicy with crispy crusty bits, and they do very good spareribs as well. Big portions, good value, really try to please, though the service can be a bit slow and mixed up. They also serve Golden Bird fried chicken. I have been known to volunteer to drop folks at the airport so I can stop at Porky's on the way back.

                    I was very disappointed by the Outdoor Grill on Washington. BBQ King downtown on Cesar Chavez at Figueroa is the slowest, most overpriced, least tasty Q I've had in SoCal, though the burger is what I'd order if dragged there. JR on La Cienega near Jefferson makes some good, meaty, tender ribs, and their hot sauce is really burning, but while it has comfortable indoor seating there is no fun atmosphere there at all.

                    1. my unorthodox list:
                      1. j r bbq in culver city - sauce is to die for
                      2. mr cecil's in west la or valley if you're so inclined - forget the sauce it's about the seasoning
                      3. houston's - not a bbq joint but their ribs are surprisingly good
                      4. sam woo's bbq pork - okay not officially bbq joint but that pork can be amazing
                      5. dem bones - long gone, but lives in my heart from my college days (probably an enlarged heart!)

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: paulfromla

                        Houston's is definitely not a BBQ place. Their ribs are braised, steamed, maybe finished for a minute on the grill -- anything but slow-smoked or grilled. They are "fall off the bone" mushy shlock. And my goodness, the price! A portion of ribs there was as or more expensive than a steak, approaching or maybe over $30! Ridiculous.

                        1. re: paulfromla


                          I haven't heard anyone mention Dem Bones in an age. Their 'Q was ok, but omigish, their sauce! I would pay a hefty sum for the recipe if anyone ever had it.

                          1. re: paulfromla

                            i've gotta disagree with mr cecils...well, at least the wla branch. i went to mr cecil's for lunch last week and ordered the bbq pork sammie. the pork was dry and tasteless. i had to drown the sammie in a blend of their tangy and spicy bbq sauces to make it palatable.

                            however, i did enjoy their buffalo wings. the sauce on those suckers were pretty darn good.

                            1. re: wilafur

                              Agreed. I have to say that I have found the Mr. Cecil's on Pico sadly lacking in good 'que, dry, without flavor and some very unmeaty and gristly beef ribs. The only thing I have found that I liked are the beans. In the WLA area Baby Blue's still has about the best that I have found -- across the board.

                          2. My favorite is Porky's. As someone else notes here, it's a converted fast food place (an old KFC) but the food is excellent, especially the pulled pork and the Golden Bird fried chicken.

                            I never liked The Pig and apparently no one else did. It's out of business.

                            JR's on La Cienega is usually great. Every so often, I find their food too spicy for me. It's as if they have two different chefs, one of whom makes the food too hot.

                            Dr. Hoggly's is quite variable. It used to be the best BBQ in town by far. Now, it's hit and miss, especially due to tough meat. But when it's good, it's very, very good.

                            Everything I ever had at Tasty Q was old, stringy meat smothered with way too much sauce with way too much spice.

                            Santa Maria BBQ in Culver City has tasty tri-tip when its not overcooked. It's like Dr. Hoggly's in that regard, except the portions are smaller and the prices are higher. So I don't go there anymore.

                            Mr. Cecil's is overpriced and undermeaty.

                            Boneyard Bistro is pretty good but sometimes very crowded.

                            1. Porky's in Inglewood gets my vote. My two cents on Robin's in that I was disappointed after hearing so much praise for the place. The ribs were good but not great, not worth driving out of your way for them.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: monkuboy

                                I had no idea there were other Porky's supporters out there, and dommy & m haven't even posted yet. We should arrange a chow meeting and gorge on pulled pork and ribs and links and even some fried chicken sometime soon!

                                1. re: nosh

                                  I found out about Porky's from my quest for Golden Bird chicken which I used to devour in high school / college but hadn't had for a long time. I found out they were a licensed seller of the chicken, went there, and got hooked on their food. I know this thread is about BBQ but the fact that Golden Bird chicken is da best of anyone and whips Roscoe's up and down the street any day of the week is just another plus for Porky's!

                                  1. re: monkuboy

                                    Nosh, I am definitely on board for a Porky's meetup. Been 'cue-less for too long (not to say CLUEless - that's another issue!) and it's almost another year before our annual trek to Tennessee; can't wait that long. Let's get over to SCARF and round up the Usual Suspects...

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      I am on the Scarf List would love to join in.. Tried Jay Bees last week.. not good.. IMHO..

                                      1. re: Foodandwine

                                        What didn't you like about Jay Bees? I had their beef ribs and pork ribs and thought both were excellent. I liked the cole slaw alot, too.

                                        1. re: hpcat

                                          I had the pulled pork and a link. Both were cold. I was there at 4:30 mid week and the gal said that they were changing shifts when I had mentioned that my food was cold. Anyway they made me a new sandwich which had no smokey flavor, meat was a bit warmer but must have been staging for a long time. There was no smoke comming out of the stack like at Phillips ( my personal favorite ) the Link was terrible, cold, flavorless, like a large hot dog from a school cafeteria but spicy..

                                          1. re: hpcat

                                            When Jay Bee's is firing on all cylinders, it's a dead-ringer for Interstate BBQ in Memphis (I used to eat at Jay Bee's about twice a week and I just tried Interstate for the first time last month). Everything from the sauce to the sides is almost identical, with Interstate having perhaps a slight edge in complexity. Apparently there's some sort of family connection between the two.

                                            Of course, no place in So Cal compares to my favorite (so far) Memphis BBQ joint, Central BBQ, but if you're looking for an authentic variety of Memphis soul cue in So Cal, Jay Bee's is the place to stuff your face.

                                            1. re: Gorgonzilla

                                              Jay Bee's is owned by the sister of the Interstate guy, I think.

                                            1. re: Foodandwine

                                              I'd love to meet some 'hounds at Porky's. A weeknight could be difficult -- traffic along the 405 or getting down from the westside for me. Can people make a lunch? I joined SCARF about a year ago, but I'll admit, between trying to remember my Yahoo ID and that one, I couldn't even get in today when I tried. I'm open to suggestions.

                                              1. re: nosh

                                                mattapoisset (sic?) and dommy liked porky's a lot, and m comes up on SCARF... it is absolutely true that Porky's website has coupons for 2-1 dinners (amazing -- a good value at the normal price) and discounts on the incredible pulled pork sandwich and even the golden bird chicken. lunch, afternoon, dinner? weekday or weekend?

                                    2. Boneyard Bistro and Baby Blues. They are both very LA, so don't expect typical texas smokehouses or cheap prices! I usually say Very LA with a positive connotation, but the term is fairly ambigious, so take it as you will.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jlrobe

                                        Tried Baby blues and it was strange. Had the Pork sandwich and all i tasted was the over-toasted Ciabbate roll it was on. seperated the pork and it was kind of flat and bland. As far as the service goes, this is where it gets wierd. My server took care of me while on her cell phone the whole time, thats not professional i dont care how funky you think you are. I observed one of the cooks talking to another table and i hope they were very close frinds because i saw the cook reach down and scoop something off of the customers plate into a bowl and started eating it while he continued talking to them about the food. Never seen that before.

                                      2. Here's a third for PORKY'S, as clean and comfortable a 'que joint as I've ever been and having Golden Bird chicken on the menu does not hurt at all. Now if only the Lakers and Kings were still at The Forum, you'd have the elements for a great sport-feast combo.

                                        With a handful of benches and no table service, JAY BEE'S HOUSE OF FINE BBQ -- on the Gardena - Carson border -- likely doesn't qualify for your thread but, it merits mentioning because "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," only brought attention to a long-held belief amongst South Bay locals: It's the best bbq in SoCal.

                                        1. i was totally disappointed by baby blues bbq. worst potato salad, so so mac n cheese and the pulled pork was not smokey and amazing. made me sad i was really looking forward to it. the hot sauce was not hot either.
                                          i'm dying to try porky's. especially coz they have my old fave golden bird chicken...

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: jessiebelle

                                            Baby Blues strength is in their ribs. Everything else is okay to decent. But the babybacks are extraordinary.

                                            1. re: wutzizname

                                              really? damn...well, crap. i of course ordered the wrong thing. and i love me some babybacks...

                                            2. re: jessiebelle

                                              I second your disappointment with Baby Blues. I was suspicious upon my arrival, due to the lack of smoky aroma in the air, but ordered anyway. I had the brisket, pulled pork and sausage link yesterday (Cherokee Spike?). The seasoning was ok, but there was no smoke flavor whatsoever.
                                              It's one thing when you're served "kitchen Q" knowing it's from your mamma's crockpot, but another when it's billed as Memphis or Texas style "Q". Then it's just flat disappointing. Given the lack of smoke, I'm not sure I would like the ribs any better.
                                              I must say that the servers were very nice and the coleslaw was good, but I'm thinking the place is popular because of the "vibe" and not because it's authentic.

                                              The search continues.....

                                              1. re: Grubber

                                                Again, I was not at all impressed with their brisket or pulled pork (never tried the links) but their ribs are a whole other perfectly charred thing.

                                                Why is it that most every BBQ place does just one or two things so right, and everything else sorta wrong?

                                                1. re: wutzizname

                                                  The pork ribs are reasonable (but not spectacular IMHO) at BBBBQ. The beef ribs I find are atrocious. I have been there 3-4 times and every time the beef ribs have been scorched to carbon during the reheating on the grill.

                                                  1. re: westwood

                                                    Don't care for beef ribs in general so haven't tried theirs, but as for pork...BBBBQ's BBs are the Bomb.

                                            3. From Porky's website:

                                              "Porky's BBQ to open a new location near the end of the year!
                                              We will be opening our second location near the end of 2007! You will find the new Porky’s at 937 Redondo Ave. in the city of Long Beach."

                                              Also, they have a page of coupons at their website, which is www.ribs123.com

                                              1. Hands down for all the things you want... Lucilles. there's like 5 or 6 the closest one is about 40 minutes from LA as someone already stated. Long Beach, Rancho Cucamonga. Live Music, great bar scene, great barbecue, neat decor, fun signs, and a real long wait (I wonder why)

                                                1. My experience of LA BBQ is actually pretty poor, and I hope to one day remedy it.

                                                  I just haven't eaten enough, or much at all.

                                                  Of what little I have had, Boneyard Bistro has stood out. I like the sauce and the beans, and the meat is sooo good. The fabulous beer selectionalso supremely colors my opinion, as do those yummy corn muffins. Service is great!. A little loud i there, though. Portions are huge, but prices are high, I'll admit.

                                                  Downhome BBQ should be a little more attainable.

                                                  Maybe chowhounders should do "BBQ crawl"

                                                  1. I'm from the south and kind of a bbq fanatic, but my focus is really always on the food. The only places I've been to in LA that wouldn't be an embarassment elsewhere are both sit-down joints but they have no atmosphere:

                                                    Mom's: http://www.momsbarbq.com/

                                                    Junior's: http://www.jrs-bbq.com/

                                                    There are a lot of LA hounds who are way into bbq:


                                                    The thing is, none of the above really satisfies what you seem to be asking for, which is a bbq place that has "great music" and a "vibe." Those kind of joints are all over the South (and presumably Texas), but unfortunately, when it comes to LA 'cue, there seems to be an inverse relationship between atmosphere and food.

                                                    If music and vibe are really as important as the quality of the bbq, you need to drive a couple of hours east to Pappy and Harriet's in Joshua Tree. They make delicious barbecue among other things on an open-air grill in the desert. They have live bands every night, along with actual cowboys, bikers, uninhibited women and assorted drunks to provide entertainment. You can stumble past the horses to the Pioneertown Motel across the street and crash when you're done. I'm telling you, it's some kind of paradise:


                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: hungrymungry

                                                      Not to nitpick, but I have never heard of JR's called Junior's -- the latter is a deli. As much as Porky's has become my favorite, I do enjoy JR's but it has little atmosphere. I recall a pork rib sandwich lunch awhile ago -- I was somewhat let down to see only three ribs on the plate, but it turned out they were meaty enough, with much more meat than bone, to satisfy. I ordered the hot sauce, which was almost too hot for me, and I like spicy. Needed to use the cool potato salad and bread to take a bit of the hot edge off. Woman at the counter was great about refilling my giant lemonade, and I had a pleasant chat with a doctor seated alongside who was grabbing lunch between UCLA hospital and the south bay.

                                                      1. re: nosh

                                                        1. Tulsa BBQ in Orange. Hands down, the best beef ribs in So Cal
                                                        2. Robin's. Only place in So Cal I've eaten so far with the sweet mustard sauce.
                                                        3. Buckboard BBQ. Santa Maria tri tip is the star. BBQ is also quite good.
                                                        4. Joey's. Good but a bit pricey to me for what you get.
                                                        5. Johnny Reb's. Used to be my favorite. It's good still but above four have definitely surpassed them in taste.

                                                        A confession and question: I've been to Porky's multiple times, but i concentrate on the Golden Bird Fried Chicken and have never had their BBQ. What do I order?
                                                        And have they opened their new store yet? It said September, but I kept calling for weeks with no answer.

                                                        1. re: nomo_fan

                                                          At Porky's, your best bet is pork. Pork ribs and pulled pork.

                                                          1. re: Hackenbush

                                                            Porky's has won us over. Ample portions, reasonable prices, great food. Their standard sauce is sweet but has a smoky complexity. There are two hotter sauces if desired. The pulled pork comes in huge, tender chunks and is the one thing we always, always order. The brisket is sliced and is not the most tender brisket I've ever had, but it carries a nice smokiness. Hot links are delish. Rib tips are meaty and tender. The baby backs are underwhelming, choose the other ribs or the rib tips.

                                                            Excellent sides: creamy cole slaw, homemade mac & cheese. The beans are a bit on the greasy side but they are meaty and delectable. We love these beans! Potato salad is the consistency of mashed potatoes but still very flavorful in a classic potato salad way. Dirty rice is overcooked but they don't skimp on the meaty flavorings.

                                                            We also love the fried chicken!! So good. The coating is crunchy and yet it melts in your mouth, and the chicken inside is juicy and tender. I think you can add a chicken breast to any bbq meal for a buck and a half.

                                                            Be sure to print out the coupon referenced above for incredible savings on already-good prices. The woman behind the counter looked surprised to see it when I produced one a few weeks ago but they still honored it, as they should since it is still on their website.