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Bludso's Texas Sampler - will it hold?

Will be visiting Los Angeles soon, and I'm planning on trying some good BBQ. I got my eyes set on the Texas Sampler from Bludso's - will share it with my wife though ;-).

My concern is, that I will have to pick it up, and drive to our hotel to eat it, which is Hollywood Orchid Suites. I guess the drive will be at least 45 mins. around 5pm on a weeksday?
So does anyone know, if the food will hold okay for that long?

..Another question is how long the waiting time for a Texas Sampler when you order it? Is it better to call ahead?

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  1. Is it a logistical thing? Why not take the wife and eat there? There is an outdoor table in the back parking lot. Their Staff is the best and will check on you at the table. It will hold fine although unless your both really big eaters there will be plenty of left overs to deal with. The wait time is minimal.

    1. We live about 35-45 minutes away as well but traveling the freeways at rush hour is pretty tough. The drive from Compton to Hollywood (over 20 miles) at 5PM is not going to be fun. My other concern is if your hotel has a kitchenette. We usually get the large party tray and it is still warm enough to eat by the time we get home - but it's a fair amount of mass. To warm it up/keep it warm, we put it in the oven on "Keep Warm" mode (about 170 degrees) for about 20-30 minutes. I don't know how it would come out in a microwave, but if doing so, setting it on a lower power setting for very short periods of time repeatedly might work. Same goes for a stovetop - low and slow would be my approach. Bludso's doesn't really have a place to eat other than a table or two and some chairs literally adjacent to their parking area and smokers, but I guess it would do in a pinch.

      Consider ordering the sauce on the side - their spicy is pretty spicy to most. The sides we really like are the bbq beans and the potato salad (lots of mustard and vinegar). All are very good but the cole slaw is good but average. If you like brisket or rib tips, I'd order extra. Because the meat is smoked, it's going to keep well. Again, careful when warming it up. Treat the 'que like your wife - be sweet, caring and attentive to it. :) imho, their pit master is a true artisan and his bbq deserves a lot of respect.

      I've never ordered anything but the party trays but we always order in advance because the party trays do take longer - Bludso's usually says it will take at least an hour. A Texas Sampler shouldn't take long at all, but I'm sure you can call ahead and give them an ETA. The people at Bludso's are incredibly nice and cordial and I'm sure they'll take care of you.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka

        How many people would you say those party trays serve? (the whole or 1/2)?

        1. re: The Oracle

          We've had eight per large tray and still have leftovers. But we always order an extra pound or two of brisket and large order of bbq beans. Throw in dessert from somewhere like Apple Pan and we're good to go.

          1. re: bulavinaka

            Perfect! Thank you!!! ...and great Apple Pan idea! You are making party planning a breeze for me. I appreciate it!

            1. re: The Oracle

              Apple Pan's banana cream pie is good stuff. The strawberry pie is worthy when strawbs are in full swing. I found Bludso's to be unreliable in the desserts dept. They rarely have the bana pudding when I've gone; thus, a trip to Apple Pan.

      2. That is going to be a brutal drive at that time of the day. I live about 35-45 minutes away without traffic and a tray is still warm by the time I bring back home. I usually pop it into the oven on low while I set the table. I'd guess with your drive, it's going to be room temp at best by the time you get everything in.

        Definitely call ahead. They are very friendly and if you give them an ETA, it'll be ready to go.

        Possible to have a car picnic instead? I've done that for other places. Pick up a pack of wipes, ask for extra napkins and just spread things out on the hood to chow down. Pack the leftovers

        2 Replies
        1. a curbside picnic with ribs, brisket, greens, mac, and cornbread is the best way to experience bludso's. the sauce and sides come in styrofoam containers, which won't hold the heat that long. you'd need to get some bowls at the hotel.

          you can also stop at marukai to eat in the food court. i've done that a bunch of times (grocery shopping is a good excuse to make a quick detour).

          1 Reply
          1. re: aizan

            surprisingly, bbq reheats pretty well in a microwave.

          2. Call ahead, call ahead, call ahead.

            It'll hold for hours and hours.

            Since you'll be stuck in traffic, why not stop off at Randolph's as well? If it's a Friday, there will be fantastic ribs that bears a comparison.

            1. They do pack it pretty well in shrink wrap so it should be good for probably an 1 to 2 tops. The sides are the problem, which you will probably need a cooler and then reheat. Sauce on the side so it keeps its integrity a bit more?

              The hard part is smelling the que the whole ride without opening and eating a piece. You will need the discipline of a Buddhist monk for that tast alone. I suggest ordering some ribs tips to munch on since the drive will be a nightmare. : )

              1. Thanks for all your replies!
                We have thought about eating the food there or make a picnic in a park.. But we also have our two small kids with us, so that's why we will bring it back to the hotel. Our room has a full equipped kitchen, so we will have an oven to heat it up..
                So I guess our plan will be to call ahead, and then pick the food up and bring it back and maybe re-heat it a bit.

                I've never been to Los Angeles before (we're from Denmark, Europe), so I don't know if it will be better to take the surface streets, when driving back to Hollywood? Maybe taking Alondra Blvd west from Bludso's and the Normandie Ave north all the way up to Hollywood Blvd?
                (Sorry know the last question isn't specifically food related)

                4 Replies
                1. re: Paposa

                  Surface streets, especially the main north-south ones, can be truly brutal anytime and worse around 5:00; the biggest problem is the general lack of turn lanes and turn lights. One guy wanting to turn left up near Wilshire can stop traffic several blocks behind him.

                  Just for grins I Google-Mapped directions for the run back from Compton, and although the freeway route indicated will not be fast I'd bet it'll be a lot faster than anything you can do on streets. Just make sure everyone is, ummm, empty … 710 to 5 to 101 is about as direct as it gets. Bon voyage, et bon appetit!

                  1. re: Paposa

                    I think poster Paposa's added info that he and his family is visiting from Denmark changes the game. He obviously won't be familiar with the area, so any tips as to best times to travel, advisories, etc. will be helpful. Compound his situation with two small ones in tow, being stuck in traffic with someone needing to do something that requires a detour off one of the freeways is almost a given. Getting back on to any freeway can be confusing, and some of the areas that they may end up in aren't ideal for tourists.

                    Paposa, consider going to Bludso's at an earlier time of day, as others have already suggested. The traffic at 5PM alone is going to exacerbate other potential issues with your family in tow. As Will Owen pointed out, taking the surface streets, particularly Normandie and other adjacent main arteries is very impractical. Compton to Hollywood at 3, even 4PM will probably be 35-45 minutes. After 4PM, each additional ten minutes that goes by will probably set you back 10-15 minutes further back in terms of additional travel time. The 710, 5 and 101 are all heavily traveled freeways and you will experience choke points even at "decent" times of the day. Timing is everything when it comes to driving around Southern California.

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      The plain fact is that although the 101 is a constant jam, it is also mostly a constantly moving jam (unlike the 5 and 10), and is not only the shortest road northwest to Hollywood but the quickest one, a fact which continues to surprise me every time I take it. The 710 is brutal and loaded with trucks, but again the shortest alternative would be Alondra west to the 110 and north to the 101.

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        if scheduling permits, going for lunch is decidedly easier than going for dinner.

                    2. Hollywood is north and a bit west of downtown L.A., Compton is way south and east.

                      BBQ holds very well -- smoking was originally used as a means of preserving the meat. The traffic is MUCH more of a problem. Try to get to Bludso's between 11 and 2 and either have it for lunch or reheat for dinner -- what little you lose with the meal will be more than made up for by avoiding the rush hour traffic. Another option is to try for a Sat or Sun.

                      One more concern -- Bludso's is on a major boulevard and is fine -- I go myself. But Compton can have some of the meanest streets and neighborhoods in SoCal, so I would stick to the freeways and major streets and be careful if after dark.

                      1. I took Bludso's back to San Diego, and it was still awesome, and there's no way getting to Hollywood will take longer than getting to San Diego. I don't care how bad the traffic is.

                        BBQ is indestructible.

                        It'll be fine. No, wait, better than fine.

                        1. Thanks for all your driving tips! They are much appreciated. Unfortunatly due to our schedule, we won't be able to do the lunch option.
                          I will however try and see, if I can make it on a saturday instead.. Hopefully that will help a little bit in relation to the traffic situation.

                          Thanks all, I really hope the food will be worth the hassle ;-)

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Paposa

                            >>Thanks all, I really hope the food will be worth the hassle ;-)<<

                            I guess if anything, trying Bludso's will determine whether you like something that is honest bbq that's expertly done, versus varying degrees of something that is not. Very bold, smokey, deep rich flavors with seasoning that hits almost all parts of the palate and nose. Their brisket, in my humble opinion, is the most approachable to those who enjoy meat in general. The rib tips are very popular as well. If you do end up not caring for Bludso's, you at least gave it a try. However, if you do end up enjoying Bludso's, Denmark will feel even further away from here.

                            1. re: Paposa

                              Doing the Hollywood>Compton trip on a Saturday will help much much more than a little bit. The only other complication is whether there is a Dodger home game that night, which would slow down the last part of your return.

                              Enjoy Bludso's, have a great time the rest of your trip, and definitely report back. If I can be of any additional assistance, my email is listed on my CH page.

                              1. re: nosh

                                Thanks al lot nosh! That's much appreciated!
                                I will definitely report back after my trip (it's not until September).

                              2. re: Paposa

                                It's always tricky making driving recommendations, but my impulse would be to go La Brea -> Rosecrans, and then back the same way. This could be fine-tuned for the time of day (La Brea near Hollywood can be pretty slow during rush hour or Friday) but I think the downside risks are overall less than for other routes. (Fairfax is hellish near Little Ethiopia; Western is hellish in K-Town.)

                                This is just my personal experience. Someone might be able to suggest a cleverer solution.

                                1. re: Paposa

                                  not too long ago i did a pick up at bludso's and took it to hollywood hills for party. it did just fine and it took us about 35-40min door to door on sat afternoon.
                                  went 110 north to 101 north off highland.

                                  1. re: Paposa

                                    Yes, go to Bludso's when you are recharged and ready on Saturday. Get to your hotel and then stop by Baby Blue's for smoked chicken wings and barbecue. It's close to your hotel in West Hollywood.

                                    1. re: chewbacca

                                      Baby Blues is not good BBQ and it's expensive for what you get.

                                  2. Funny thing -

                                    I was there last Saturday, and ordered the Texas Sampler and then drove home, about 45 minutes away - plus a quick stop along the way, so about an hour all in. It was packed very securely, in foil, styrofoam box, and then plastic cling-wrap. I popped it in the fridge, because I still had a few things I had to do and wasn't starving just yet (despite the incredible smokey aromas driving home, I resisted). Finally, maybe half an hour or so after arriving home, I unwrapped the thing and everything was still warm and just fine for eating. So, don't worry, you will be fine. It's quite a lot of food, the Texas Sampler - you'll have plenty of leftovers I'd say, but that's fine - the leftovers are great - we've been enjoying them all week !

                                    By the way, this was my first time to Bludso's but it definitely will not be my last - this is truly amazing BBQ, my wife and I loved everything ! The flavors are wonderful, and the meat is so tender - truly fall-off-the-bone tenderness. Once you start in on this stuff, it becomes a very carnal, cave-man type thing, it's just that good - you need to get every shred of meat ! I ordered the mac and cheese and the greens as the sides, and these, too, were very good - esp. the mac and cheese.

                                    As to wait time, I was there on an early Saturday evening, about 6 pm, and there were a few people in line ahead of me, and then quickly a few behind me, but things moved at a sedate but steady rate. After waiting not more than 10 minutes, I ordered, probably waited for 10 minutes or maybe a few minutes longer but it wasn't terribly long. With BBQ, everything is basically already prepared so it's mainly just a portioning and packaging thing.

                                    Oh, and also be sure and ask for the burnt ends as an extra side order, along with the Texas Sampler. You have to ask for them, they're not on the menu and only available some of the time, apparently. But they're well worth the extra trouble - just great !

                                    Summary - amazing BBQ, very friendly and helpful counter people, good value.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mikester

                                      Thanks mikester, that's good to hear! Can't wait to try them

                                    2. I'd suggest to anybody making the trek down there to go early and/or call ahead. I went on a Sunday around 5pm a couple weeks back and they were out of everything except links and brisket. This being my first time, I was disappointed to not get the Sampler, but I loaded up on brisket, links, and some sides and headed home.

                                      Brisket and links were superb. I loved the cole slaw and potato salad; mac and cheese was better reheated the next day, I thought.

                                      I'm definitely going back, and I will score the Sampler.

                                      Aside: I've heard mixed reports on the brisket at the WeHo location, as well as that they're cutting it thicker there? Anybody experienced both?

                                      1. Just got back from Bludso's Compton (2pm on a Sunday afternoon) and for the first time I've ever seen, their line went around the block. Damm you Guy Fieri.

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          I was there Memorial weekend - saturday - and the line was normal at 4:30PM. Called ahead for the large party tray - waited about 10 minutes before my turn to the window.

                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                            With Bludso's Compton being on both The Food Network's Dinner's Drive-in's & Dives and J. Gold's 101 list in the same month I think the days of the 10 minute line are now over.

                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                              I was expecting the worst, considering the press and the holiday weekend. I was really surprised that it looked relatively normal. Could the new location be spreading out some of the demand? I haven't been so I'm just wondering...

                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                I am still amazed how much food you get in Bludso's Texas Sampler for under $30, ribs, rib tips, brisket, pulled pork, sliced beef, chicken, hot links, corn bread, two sides. Wow. Will definitely feed four or more.

                                          2. re: wienermobile

                                            "and for the first time I've ever seen, their line went around the block. Damm you Guy Fieri."


                                              1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                Yeah, he's screwing up a very good thing. :)

                                              2. re: wienermobile

                                                I've tried Fieri's recs in several states. Without exception, they've been wretched. Bludso's should be careful who they let in the front door, or, especially the kitchen.

                                                1. re: oldusedcop

                                                  I don't have cable so my exposure to his shows are very limited. However, I remember catching an episode where Fieri visited Gloria's on Venice blvd in Palms. I wouldn't call Gloria's wretched - she has a handful of tasty dishes.

                                                  I think Bludso's potentially may experience difficulty in keeping up with the demand - it just keeps climbing with the media exposure. Their cue is usually perfect, but I did notice the bark on our ribs were more on the burnt side this past time around.

                                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                                    I used to live a block from Gloria's and went on a regular basis. They got PACKED after being featured on the show, to the point where it scared me away. So when I just saw the comments about Bludso's being on DDD, I almost threw my cup at the wall.

                                              3. You're in Hollywood, right?

                                                Here's one way to avoid virtually all traffic. It will cost you $5 for a day pass, + $1 for the TAP card.

                                                - Red Line (subway) to 7th Street Metro Center

                                                - Blue Line (light rail) to Willowbrook (Rosa Parks Station)

                                                - Green Line (light rail) bound for Norwalk, to Long Beach Blvd Station

                                                - 60 bus bound for Artesia Station to Alondra (2.4 miles-- this is the one length of the trip that traffic would affect)

                                                Hollywood to Bludso's (virtually right in front of the door) in about 1 hour 10 minutes.

                                                www.nextbus.com on your smartphone will give you real time GPS-based estimates of when the next 60 bus will arrive.

                                                Mr Taster