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Mar 20, 2013 11:28 AM

Battle of Texas Brisket: Smoke City Market (Van Nuys) still better than Bludso's WeHo

After doing a head to head between the two. Bludso's one weekend, and the following weekend at Smoke City, I have come to the conclusion that the moist brisket is of much higher juice content than that of Bludso's. The meat was very tender and the smoke ring was just perfect, Bludso's while good did not taste like it had that much TLC. The sides at Smoke City notably the cole slaw and the potato salad were also in a much better category than what Bludso's had to offer. Bludso's beans definitely tasted solid. The term hipster barbeque has now transferred from Brooklyn to LA.......

In fairness I ate at Smoke City around 3:30pm versus 8:00pm, and if Bludso's had that brisket sitting around then the moist factor would be understood.

Go to Smoke City, tasty Texas Q

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  1. I did go to Smoke City quite recently and it just was not as good as the brisket I had there last year.

    I had a quarter pound of that, plus one of their beef ribs, the tomato/cucumber salad, an avocado, the cheddar cheese, sliced tomatoes.

    It does get pricey. I'm not sure as it currently stands if the brisket is better than what I had at Bludso's Westside.

    But it was not half bad at Bludso's Westside either. In my opinion, the sides from the potato salad to the mac n cheese were much much much better at B.W.

    17 Replies
    1. re: kevin

      My post is in reference to Bludso's Westside or rather LaBrea/Melrose area.

      1. re: kevin

        The problem is that Bludso's (WeHo/Westside/MidCity) doesnt even offer moist brisket only "brisket"..... They need to figure it out to those that actually want the different cuts.

        1. re: Schweinhaxen

          They did have moist brisket when I was there at the Bludso's on LaBrea. It was not on the menu, but our waiter told us about it. And it was good, though not earth-shattering.

          1. re: kevin

            Yeah, that is unfortunate as I would have ordered it. Not sure why they would not have that on the menu...... any proper texas Q place would do so....

            1. re: Schweinhaxen

              But my favorite by far in town on the current scene for moist brisket is Big Mista hands down, no contest. But you have ask for it fatty, and the burnt ends are beyond compare.

              1. re: kevin

                Cool, will check it out. What is the best venue to take a friend, who is in a wheelchair, as it could be difficult for him to get around at one of the Farmer's Markets? Please advise.

                1. re: Schweinhaxen

                  Hmm, maybe Atwater Village ? There's also one tomorrow at Century City but I don't know how wheelchair accessible that will be. I've never tried it before at that location, only tried in atwater and also years ago at the el segundo location (but the el segundo location is now off the calendar).

                2. re: kevin

                  I had a rather bad experience with Big Mista's brisket at Atwater Village. The stuff came out dry and grey, but I had taken it to go and didn't realize until later. I emailed him, and he made good on a free replacement tray (he apologized, said he hadn't been monitoring the smoker that day I was there). The replacement brisket was significantly better, and delicious, but nowhere near the high bar that Bludso has set. (Specifically, the meat was neither as tender nor as smoky).

                  Now, I may very well have hit up Big Mista on a couple of off days, and I didn't order it fatty. But I've been to Bludso (Compton) more than half a dozen times, and each time the brisket is knock-your-socks-off tender and smoky.

                  Consistency, more than anything, is the hallmark of a great BBQ guy. So for that reason alone, I have to easily give my endorsement to Bludso.

                  Mr Taster

                3. re: Schweinhaxen

                  Any proper Texas q place doesn't have waiters.

                  1. re: James Cristinian

                    Not being snarky but this is LA. Never had 'que in Texas so I'm not qualified to discuss the merits of Texas 'que culture. But if a place has great product, and it offers some (IMHO) perks, why not... Let the local market decide if the combo works.

              2. re: Schweinhaxen

                So, this is based on Smoke City's "wet/moist" vs. Bludso's "dry"?

                Wouldn't a more apt comparison be Smoke City's "dry" vs. Bludso's "dry"?

                1. re: JThur01

                  I would agree with this questioning.

                  1. re: JThur01

                    Bludso's non-compton only offered "brisket", nowhere on the menu nor did the server mention that you could order moist. Which is sad because, dont you want to offer your best product. Business 101??

                    1. re: Schweinhaxen

                      Like most start ups Bludso's L.A. is undoubtedly still getting their legs under them as they ramp up. At some point new endeavors tend to want to quit bleeding cash on rent and salaries and get those doors open, even if everything is not what it will be in the future as far as products and fine tuning.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        I did enjoy Bludsos West LA, I mean Westside, I mean la Brea.

                        Anyhow, of course it could be much better but I still tried it in its infancy.

                        1. re: kevin

                          Did you like it better than Chupacabra's?

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Well. Its more like comparing apples and oranges.

                            But I do like cabras too.

                            The cashew butter or salsa is dynamite.

            2. bludso's weho or compton?

              1. Bludso's WeHo is still in soft-opening phases and is probably not smoking again for mid-dinner service yet (someone confirm with Galuten on this)

                Smoke City's brisket does not even begin to compare to Bludso's Compton. Smoke City, as a whole, compares unfavorably to Bludso's. Hipster BBQ? Smoke City held that title before Bludso WeHo opened. OTOH, if hipster BBQ means cocktails and an XPA with momma's apple pipe, so be it.

                24 Replies
                1. re: TonyC

                  pie, or do you really mean pie ?

                  tony, have you hit up bludso's weho yet ? though weho is kind of a misnomer of sorts, since i believe the la brea and melrose area is no longer west hollywood, correct ?

                  1. re: kevin

                    "i believe the la brea and melrose area is no longer west hollywood, correct ?"

                    Officially Bludso's new location is about 4 blocks south of WeHo's southern (and Eastern) boundary (Romaine and La Brea)

                    1. re: Servorg

                      My bad. I thought La Brea would no longer be WeHo.

                    2. re: kevin

                      pie, PIE! Mom's pie:

                      I've visited. Per Manbitesworld + Bludso, they hope to smoke twice for the evening, once to serve the first dinner seating, and another to account for the mid-dinner rush.

                      NYC has Fette Sau, Chicago has Smoque (actually older than Fette Sau), SF now has Hi-Lo. Bludso's WeHo is good for LA, and at $65/4 persons, it's not part of the Fucking Upmarket club.

                      I don't really know what "hipster" BBQ actually means, but better more brisket than yet another jar of "artisanal" kumquat jam. Also, Bludso Weho's staff was NICE, unlike that other joint up in Sherman Oaks which carried some of the most apathetic staff I've met at a 'cue shack.

                      1. re: TonyC

                        Was that a somewhat swipe at Sqrl if so I am completely with you on that one.

                        1. re: kevin

                          Not a dig at Sqirl. I follow the team's instagram religiously, as it's the only way to (sometimes) see the daily specials. Not that I can ever make it, but it's fun to see them receiving a wooly pig in the kitchen. People seem to not realize Sqirl has evolved to way beyond just jams.

                          I'm talking about all the unemployed PR reps thinking the California Homemade Food Act is the way to force more stupid cupcakes and preserved meyer lemons into our lives.

                        2. re: TonyC

                          i'm with you, tonyc. this "h____" word, which i refuse to use any more, has become one of the more meaningless and useless words on chowhound and everywhere.
                          i don't care who food is intended for and who is eating it. if it tastes good, i enjoy it.
                          and if i can have a decent beer or drink with it, i cannot fathom what's bad about that.

                          1. re: linus

                            This is simply the flip side to those who won't eat somewhere because there are too many "old" people, or people wearing the wrong type of hat or too dressed up or too dressed down or whatever crazy, meaningless issue you want to use for not going to find good food (signs, no signs or high end addresses or "dangerous" neighborhoods included). Total, unadulterated foolishness.

                      2. re: TonyC

                        i have had bbq in brooklyn that compares more than favourably with bbq i have had in and around austin.
                        and i had some awesome whiskey and beer with it.

                        who cares where someplace is, as long as the food is good?

                          1. re: linus

                            tell that to the OP who's bitchin about quality cocktails being "hipster".

                            I highly enjoyed the XPA w/ the WeHo Bludso's brisket. Nota bene: I haven't enjoyed the mac & cheese in ages, but the side of choice here has always been the collards.

                            1. re: TonyC

                              Where the fuck in my OP am I bitching about cocktails? Think before you type. I'm not mad @ Bludso's Non- Compton but I'm saying it's not up to taste compared to Smoke City. Didnt have a problem with service at smoke city as you order at the counter...... Unlike me yelling at the top of my lungs @ Bludso's over the Black Keys soundtrack....

                              1. re: Schweinhaxen

                                nice, black keys soundtrack and cocktails; i'm there.

                          2. re: TonyC

                            Well why the eff would you open without smoking? If you are going to maintain quality you shouldnt provide inferior product especially at those prices. A deep dish pizza not cooked in a deep dish pan is not deep dish.

                            Have not been to Bludso's Compton as I dont live remotely near there. I have a hunch the owners sold out to do this venture. Not that great as I said in the earlier part of the thread....

                            I have had Q from Lockhart, TX, the stuff I had from Smoke City was a good representation...... the only thing missing were the links.

                            1. re: Schweinhaxen

                              Wow. As someone who's family is from Luling/Lockhart/Georgetown - and who has eaten at the gold standards in the Hill Country area many a time - I found Smoke City to be absolutely pedestrian, at best.

                              The times we've been, we've always walked out baffled.

                              1. re: a213b

                                The piece of overcooked meat that I ate @ @ Bludso's non-Compton, tasted like arse compared to Smoke City. I stand by my opinion. TonyC even said that they aren't even smoking at night so you really can't fuck with me on that.

                            2. re: TonyC

                              What's XPA, Tony? I assume a beer I really ought to know about but don't.
                              I was quite surprised, not in a good way, at the four draft beer selection at Budso WeHo -- and they were out of the Green Flash Hophead Red I wanted to try, replacing it with a hefe weizen I didn't want to try. Are there bottles as well? I forgot to ask because I got so upset I had to order a Manhattan (or two).

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  thanks...I'm off to Bev Moe, Curley!

                                2. re: Ciao Bob

                                  This one:

                                  It may have been mistaken as the "hefe". Jason Bernstein explained it as the "drinkable" IPA w/ half the abv. There are no bottles yet, and per Bernstein, they probably won't be rotating the taps much. Perhaps they want to focus on the 'cue and cocktails, letting Golden State continue on w/ the bigger beer selection?

                                  I was bit surprised by the beer choices -- racer 5/PBR is NOT my idea of a good time -- but whatever. The collards tasted exactly the same as Compton, and if the briskets are as bad as some suggested in this thread [they aren't], there's always Chiquis Tacos on the way home. (Btw, thanks for that CB).

                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    heck man id be happy to pound some racer 5 with bbq. it aint shiner bock, but hey, what is?

                                  2. re: Ciao Bob

                                    I was so despondent I had to order a few Manhattans. :)

                                    Brought a tiny smile to this weather, beaten haggard face.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      Tony...happy to return the favor for the many things you've "qlued" me in on...Chiquis may have been my apogee of chowhounding! My girl -- a southerner -- liked the greens well enough and she knew that's what the vinegar on the table was for, unlike the Yanks she yanked along.

                                      kevin...I wish I had been that funny...despondent is a much better word!

                                      Bludso's...PLEASE...give us some better brew with our que, and while you are at it fix the mint julip too!

                                3. The original comment has been removed