Smokin' Jonny's BBQ - Gardena
I dare you to try this place...I dare you to compare to all the other LA favorites. You'll be happy you did. I want to support my Gardena hometown businesses and this spot is well worth keeping around for the next few centuries. Plus, the owner is a GHS Alumni. Give him a try folks. This is really, really good BBQ.
Pork and beef ribs and chicken smoked to perfection. These are the items I have tried so far. For sides, I've tried the baked beans and potato salad...both of these are very well done. You can tell the owner and his family went to great lengths to get the best recipes they had for everything. They also do homemade desert. Mine is currently waiting for me to eat. But if the homemade cookie they give you with the combos is any sign of their desserts, then you can already assume it's tops.
I drove by a few times thinking I need to read up on it or just stop in and give it a shot. I ended up reading their story and went in last Sunday. Let me tell you, I was thinking about it all freakin' week, but I was too busy at work to get out for lunch. So I told my friend about it at work and she went and picked up food for a few of us for lunch. Oh what heaven that was to sit there and eat heavenly bbq in peace in my office. Well, lemme tell ya, I just got through eating another plate for dinner tonight.
They have a couple of combo specials that are real winners, because you get to sample a lot of their food with one combo. The first combo I got was $9.95 and it comes with two St. Louis pork ribs, one beef angus rib, choice of one side, extra bbq sauce hot or mild, one truly delicious homemade cookie, and a slice of bread (it's not out of the supermarket white bread, it's a damn good quality slice of bread...you'll see what I'm talking about). That's a helluva deal for $9.95. The pork ribs are super addicting, come easily off the bone, full of flavor, with a great sauce. If you go out of the way for a great steak, then you'll appreciate the quality of beef their angus beef ribs have...I could eat those ribs out of the smoker with nothing but bare bones natural beef flavor...they are that good. Combine that with their seasoning and sauce, and you're in heaven. The other combo I get is $8.95 and comes with two St. Louis pork ribs, one piece of chicken, choice of one side, that delicious homemade cookie, extra sauce, and the slice of bread.
You can't lose at this place. If you don't like the food here, then you're just dead inside. In addition to the great food, there's no parking hassle, it's super clean inside, and the family that runs the joint are super nice and friendly.
They occasionally have a specialty they call dinosaur bones - beef ribs with a lot of prime rib on them, in a spicier sauce. It's by far the best thing there, and worth calling in advance to reserve. I have enjoyed the brisket at Smokin Jonny's more than other commenters here. It's certainly better than anything else in the South Bay.
Smokin Jonny's was featured in the Sunday LA Times in an article about the affects of the draught and the high cost of food. It picqued my interest, and then I found this post. On Western just south of Rosecrans, it's near a Golden Bird and DUTC.
I was actually quite surprised at the quality of the bbq here. I enjoyed my pork ribs and brisket. Decent rub and smoke.
The brisket was nice and juicy, if a little too tender. I have sometimes found other briskets too dry. The quality of the pork rib meat was about on par with Big Mista's. Very good size tho the rub was not quite there.
My wife had the beef ribs, which were overdone and below what I have had at Big Mista's, tho BM doesn't have it very often. Also not as good as Bludso's, which makes a nice beef rib.
Stay with the pork ribs and brisket. This may be the best BBQ in the South Bay and a notch below the gold standards on Chowhounds. If you live in the area, it's definitely worth a visit. If you don't, it still might be worth the try.
Thanks for putting this up. Good timing on this post as I had errands to run this Saturday in the area. Timed it to have lunch here. Small clean place, only open a month and a half. I got the Texas sampler which gave a taste of everything. One Angus beef rib, two pork ribs, three slices of brisket and choice of either a sausage link or two pieces of bbq chicken. I opted for the hot sausage. Italian or reg beef was also available. As part of the sampler, two slices of bread and two 12 oz sides were included, I chose the cole slaw and bbq beans. Unfortunately for me, I forgot to order the sauce on the side and didn't think about it until the food was ready. I prefer to try all meats the first time without the sauce whenever possible.
Order showed up pretty quickly. The sauce was a bit on the sticky sweet side for my taste. I started with the brisket since I could easily scrape of the sauce. Decent smoke flavor, bark was non existent, it wasn't dry but not juicy either despite a good ribbon of fat running through it. It was tender but when tugged apart was on the crumbly side that denoted it was leaning on the dry side instead of the pull apart of properly done brisket. I'd rate it as a bit better than some of Bludso's or Big Mista's subpar batches but not close to being better when either of those places are on point.
As an aside, I went to Smoke City Market for lunch today and their brisket was considerably better than Jonny's. Juicy, tender pull apart and not crumbly with a good bark.
I moved on to the beef rib. This was my least favorite. No hint of smoke and on the tough side, not inedible but took more work than expected.
The pork ribs were solid. No smoke ring, very faint smoke flavor I detected after fighting past the sauce sweetness. Tender with just enough chew for me. I hate the falling off the bone braised texture for bbq. This was a good balance of tender with chew for me. The fat was rendered off properly, passing my personal test of checking the fat around the cartilage area to see that it was juicy but not overly fatty or greasy.
The hot sausage tasted familiar to me, when I asked about it later, I was informed that none of the sausages were made by Jonny. He tries to source good ones but doesn't have time to make them himself. I liked what I had, just can't identify where I had it before. Good but not revelatory, not that there's anything wrong with that.
The beans and slaw were okay. Bread was fine. None of them really stood out as particularly outstanding or bad. The sampler was $27. With a bottled IBC and tax, I was well north of $30 Not bad for the amount of food. For me personally it wasn't a great deal since I hate paying that much to have that large volume of sides included. I'd much prefer to have the option of ordering more meat ala carte and getting smaller sides. But everything at Jonny's is set up to order as a combo getting at least one slice of bread and the smaller 8 oz side or getting two slices of bread and two sides. The website's menu is accurate.
To compare since I did go there today. People have complained that Smoke City can be expensive. At Smoke City, we got a half pound each of the fatty brisket and pastrami. A whole link each of the regular and jalapano cheddar sausage, half a rack of pork ribs, a 4 oz of their apple slaw (which I find tasty) and two fountain drinks. It came with 5 slices of white bread. All that was $55 after tax. I consider that a better value for dollars and I liked the food better.
Overall, I'd rate it as a solid neighborhood joint and not destination. The pork ribs and possibly the brisket I'd get. Same with the sausage and I'd stay away from the beef rib. Staff is friendly, place is clean with a half dozen tables, bathroom well stocked.
As a bonus, it is only two doors down from a Golden Bird. If you feel like doing a fried chicken and bbq combo. See attached pic for my order.
At least someone went and tried it. Sorry it didn't quench your taste buds, but me and my co-workers like it better than Bludso's and will put it on par with Nate's Home BBQ (RIP). It may be a thing when the father cooks or isn't there to cook?
Thank you to the poster who put the address above...I forgot about that.