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Mar 28, 2012 02:51 PM

Randolph's Smoke House

TonyC's recent review of Randolph's got me on the 110 today. I got the spare rib sandwich, collard greens + corn bread, sauce on the side (molasses-y, mildly sweet). Bottom line, this place is #2 or 3 in LA, and it wasn't even Friday when they fire up the smoker. Bludso's may have to share that throne, but their brisket is safe because Randolph's doesn't have it on the menu. Good greens, though. I love a place with good sides.

I'll check back in a week or two, let you know what happens.

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    1. I hit this place last summer on one of my south central explorations. Their sign caught my eye. Maybe I caught them on a bad day but I didn't care for their food. The pork was dry and so was the ribs. The pictures do look a lot better than what I got that day.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Jase

        Yee. The LA Weekly pictures look better than what you got? I have not been to this place, but I gotta say that the pictures on the LA Weekly story says plenty. Those ribs looked charred. There's a difference between bark and burned, and those are flat-out burned. Not appealing in the least.

        1. re: Professor Salt

          Well, I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. I kind of have a modified J. Gold general personal rule when it comes to reporting on places. If it's a new small mom and pop type place with no previous reports and I had a negative experience, I won't report on it. I'll chalk it up to growing pains and hope I just caught them on a bad day. If someone posts on them later with a very positive report such as above, then I'll weigh in with my experience as a data point because the experiences were so different. It's not to invalidate their experiences but at the very least it could be signs of inconsistency.

          But I usually try to temper my responses. I'm not a big fan of one sentence "this place sucks!" reporting. I

          1. re: Jase

            Appreciate this point of view. Wish everyone posted (or reserved not posting) like this. More people would read CH if they did!

          2. re: Professor Salt

            The ribs I got looked the same as the ones in those photos, black and burnt. They didn't taste burnt, though.

            Many BBQ joints in South Central are inconsistent because of turnover and meat quality issues, so I would play it safe and go on Friday or during the weekend.

            1. re: aizan

              My original visit was on an early Sunday afternoon, right after lunch.

              Btw, it's this type of conversation that I feel it's valuable data for others. None of the original write ups mention going there on a weekend. It would be disappointing to people who visit during the week and not get the same quality as described in the postings.

        2. Glad you enjoyed it raizans.

          I find the mole negro looking sauce carries just the right touch of spicines that vaporizes immediately. Dig that.

          It behooves parties of interest to call & check they smoked on the day of. The Sunday afternoon ribs I received was beautiful, and was good even after being left out all day. The Wednesay ribs... well... They're smoking whole fish on the weekend, but I have yet to experience that. Wish they'd do pulled pork + brisket and just nuke the commercially sourced links, but it doesn't seem they'll change their ways unless there's enough public clamoring.

          Amber & Dooney are just the most hospitable peeps, and Mr. Randolph, despite being a total hardass, tend to give hugs rather easily. This is definitely the BBQ Cinderella story of '12, like Bludso was in '08.

          The kool-aid + collards + 2 rib "lunch" is perfectly portioned for a lunch meal. It's worth mentioning the prices are extremely reasonable before 3pm.

          NB: I am, obviously, not involved/related in the restaurant, less the Chowmods get all delete happy again (like my first Bludso post eons ago).

          21 Replies
          1. re: TonyC

            i'm confused. are you saying your wednesday ribs were left over from sunday's smoking, or that on days when they don't smoke, they cook their ribs some other way?

            1. re: linus

              Immediate clarification (since I'm hoping some of yous will head down to S. LA this weekend): Wednesday ribs were smoked Tuesday. The Thursday ribs we had the first time were smoked Thursday. Wednesday ribs weren't as impressive.

              Everything's smoke. They don't do anything but low & slow smoke. The smoker is discussed in the links in Peripathetic's post.

                1. re: kauma



                  End of work day typo. My bad. *shugs*

                    1. re: TonyC

                      Do they serve beef ribs too? or just pork,

                      and if i'm looking to just have Beef cue should i skip this place in that case?

                      did i notice that they make smoked turkey necks? (i could barely make it out on the menu).

                      also has anyone been to BBQ pitmasters on LaCienega, south of Pico, just before you get to Venice, I believe.

                      Thanks for the heads up on Randolphs though.

                      1. re: kevin

                        There's no beef save the tri-tip.

                        Here's a link to the menu:

                        The turkey neck is available only on the weekends, as is the smoked fish. Again, please call in first.

                        I have tried BBQ Pitmasters (which took over the oddly-named NY BBQ). It was decent, but they've shuttered:

                        Now, ask about "Smoke Star BBQ" on Western.

                        1. re: TonyC

                          OK, i'll bite - what about "Smoke Star BBQ" on Western?

                          1. re: TonyC

                            Yea. Sadly, Tony, I fucked up got the tri tip and Mac n cheese and greens.

                            And sweet potato pie which was exceptional.

                            And the guy/pitmaster was awesome. Great advice and tips like you shouldn't order two starches such as mac n cheese and potatoe salad together.

                            Maybe if I try next time I'll grab the chicken links or beef links if I do go next time.

                      2. re: kauma

                        > Peripathetic

                        I've been called worse.

                        > This is definitely the BBQ Cinderella story of '12, like Bludso was in '08.

                        So, Tony: Bludso's or Randolph's?

                        1. re: Peripatetic

                          From his blog I read it seems it's worth going for the rib. If you are looking for brisket stick to Bludso's.

                          I am definitely going to give this place a try. It'd be sad if he has great food but couldn't get good business.

                          1. re: Peripatetic

                            Let's not forget what the word peri means (not the prefix):

                            A lovely, graceful person.

                            How appropriate.

                            1. re: Peripatetic

                              So, Tony: Bludso's or Randolph's?

                              Don't make me.

                                1. re: JAB

                                  like Peripatetic, I've been (publicly) called worse.

                                  Thursday night bump for Randolph's. I'm going to (somehow) bump this thread once a week until I see another Chower review this man's ribs.

                                  Even the slaw is good here.

                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    Ok. If I go tomorrow, Friday during the lunch hrs will I be getting the goods?

                                    I'm going for the tri-tip then since there are no beef ribs and potato salade Nd the slaw.

                                    And any desserts I should be getting. ???

                                    I remember you mentioned certain days to go here when the smoking is done. Or ready to go.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      I highly recommend AGAINST the tri-tip. You have been warned. And I also highly recommend calling first, checking if they smoked this morning (they should've).

                                      No desserts yet. Not in place. If you go in with that planned contratrian menu, you will come away sorely disappointed. Nota bene, caveat emptor, blah blah blah.

                                      1. re: TonyC

                                        it would appear randolph's smoke house has joined coni'sseafood/mariscos chente/mariscos chentes/whatever the name is 3:52 p.m. PST 4/6/12 in the baffling business plan for a restaurant sweepstakes.

                          2. re: TonyC

                            may i beg one more indulgence? snyder's writeup says spare ribs, yours says baby backs. which is it, please?
                            i'll travel for spare ribs; baby backs, eh.

                            1. re: TonyC

                              the question of when they smoke will need to be clarified. they told me they smoked on fridays, so i assumed they *only* smoked on fridays, but that doesn't sound like the whole story.

                        2. I just had the ribs today and they were awesome. Thanks chowhound for the tip, this place makes some mean ribs. Mac n cheese was average and the red beans and rice was a bit of a let down. I did however get to try the banana pudding which was pretty darn good. I definitely recommend the ribs and the banana pudding.

                          1. To backup raizans recent inquiry into "smoke days": they definitely smoke on Fridays. And they don't smoke Mondays, so that leaves Tuesdays & Fridays. There are variances when they run out, but right now: Tuesday & Friday.

                            The collards are still fantastic.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: TonyC

                              Ok. I'll give it another try Tuesday or Friday.

                              Are the links decent too?

                              I had their sweet potato pie which was tremendously good too. And the pitmaster mentioned he carries an awesome millionaires' cake.

                              1. re: kevin

                                links are the final frontier of bbq. i'll have to restrain myself from calling it charcuterie!

                                i called last friday to see if they smoked that day, and they said they did it on thursday. i'm going to try persuading randolph to make announcements on twitter or facebook.

                                1. re: raizans

                                  This smoking musical chair is giving me a headache. Thanks for the datum, raizans.

                                  I did a side by side sauce comparo between Bludo's vs. Randolph's. On sauce alone, Randolph's the boss, but really, they're 2 different beasts.

                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    Just based on sauce, I still prefer Phillip's. There's some serious complexity to the sauce in there.

                                    1. re: TonyC

                                      the stars have finally aligned. a fresh batch of bbq will be ready today around 3:30!

                                      1. re: raizans


                                        i got a slab right out of the smoker and another side of greens. that was more than worth the trouble. if you like ribs that are a little spicy, randolph's is it.

                                        now i'm going to start looking for the best links in town.

                                        1. re: raizans

                                          Major kudos to your efforts.

                                          Alas, there's yet another new joint that needs a taste ASAP. You know how it goes.

                                          1. re: TonyC

                                            Dang. What other new joint ? I guess there's still quite a bit of BBQ terrain to cover.