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Bludso's For White People™- first visit.

8 of us visited the La Brea location. We ordered the $95 "tray" which is a sampler of everything they sell.

Overarching impressions:

- DRY MEAT (although the white meat chicken was surprisingly juicy-- this is usually the first thing to be screwed up). The hot links were fine. But the actual BBQ-- ribs, rib tips, brisket, pulled pork-- ALL DRY.

- Real lack of smoky depth

Overall extremely disappointing. This was a poor representation of Bludso's name. One of the most important aspects for me of any BBQ joint is consistency, and over my dozen or so visits to Bludso's on Long Beach, it's been consistently great. Meltingly tender brisket, deep luxurious smokiness, tender ribs. By contrast, BFWP™ was a real disappointment.

This was my only visit, so I'd be interested to hear if others had similarly disappointing visit, or if this is a one-off experience.

Mr Taster

n.b. The hipsters in ironic mustaches and skinny jeans didn't help. It just further reminded me that I didn't belong here.

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  1. I havem't felt the need to check out the La Brea location but my Memorial Day visit to the Compton mothership left me a bit dismayed. The babybacks' bark was creosote-ish to me. This was the first time I noticed something that wasn't just right about their 'que. Maybe the combination of the holiday weekend and the add'l location had something to to with it. I still love Bludso's though.

    8 Replies
    1. re: bulavinaka

      The curse of hasty over expansion?

      There's more than a bit of devious (marketing?) genius to Langer's refusal to expand.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        I don't know how the La Brea location is currently tied into the mothership, but I've never had anything less than perfection from Bludso's until that last stop. Makes one wonder...

        1. re: bulavinaka

          I remember reading that the Golden State guys really worked with Kevin Bludso to get his methods down, even going so far as to travel to Texas with him. Then they hired and trained Noah Galuten (noahbites) to be the pitmaster. I only know of Noah's blog, eating through all the various foreign cuisines of LA-- I don't know what his pitmaster qualifications are, or if he personally tends the pit every day.

          I was hosting a group of Brits who were eager to have their first taste of American BBQ. They were going to go to Lucille's or Wood Ranch, but I steered them away to what I hoped would be a better alternative. Unfortunately, choosing BFWP™ left me with egg on my face. Lesson learned-- try the damned place out first before recommending it to foreigners.

          Your post makes me want to head down to Compton and get the Texas Sampler, just to see if everything's OK.

          Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster

              Let us know if the original location of Bludsos is still great.


              1. re: kevin

                Went to Compton last month and it was still great but also much busier than before. Texas Sampler is my favorite at just around $30.

        2. I agree with you. I was so eager to try the La Brea location based on the great reviews here for the Compton location and was sorely disappointed.

          2 Replies
          1. re: whatsfordinner

            I'm a little confused by your comment. Have not tried the BBQ from the original shop? Were you disappointed without having actually tasted the original? If so, it's interesting to hear that even with no frame of reference, you felt the BBQ was not very good.

            Bludso's Compton has set the bar so high that my experience was really a dramatic failure.

            Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster

              I haven't been to the original location and yes, I was very, very disappointed in the food at the La Brea outpost even with no frame of reference. It was just dry and tasteless

          2. Mistake. Should always go to the location in Compton. That's were Bludso works with his long time staff on the BBQ. The La Brea location has an inexperienced staff, and I guess it's reflective of the quality produced...

            10 Replies
            1. re: TripleAxel

              The mistake was that I recommended a place without trying it-- I allowed my enthusiasm for a brand dictate an uninformed decision. I don't usually do that.

              But really, as a Chowhound, if someone said to you, "Where should we go- Lucille's, Wood Ranch, or Bludso's?", what are you gonna say?! This had to be a place with comfortable seating, so the Compton location would have been a no-go. My rationale in making the decision was that even if the food isn't quite as good as the original, how bad could it be? Well, we found out.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                Yes, between those three choices I would have chosen Bludso's westwide also.

                1. re: kevin

                  I'd like to clarify that the food wasn't offensive the way, say, Bear Pit BBQ at Farmers Market is. It was just profoundly mediocre, and a far cry from the consistently high quality that I had become accustomed to receiving at the real Bludso's.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    A friend of mine who hailed from Texas says Big Mama's (or something like that name) in Pasadena makes amazing BBQ.

                2. re: Mr Taster

                  But, the Compton Bludso's has comfortable seating, it just happens to be located at a car or a park :)

                  1. re: JThur01

                    I was pretty comfy on the picnic table in the parking lot.

                    1. re: JAB

                      I think there are 4 comfortable stools by the eating counter inside the shack itself.

                    2. re: JThur01

                      Clearly you don't know the family that I was traveling with.

                      Mr Taster

                        1. re: ns1

                          No... 7 persnickety Brits in town for a wedding.

                          Mr Taster

                3. I realize this is damming with faint praise, but I actually think the smoked chicken and the ribs at the best things at this place. The ribs are ok, and the brisket doesn't hold up compared to Smoke City Market's. Best things going to for BFWP are the fact that it's close, the sides and the mint juleps.

                  If you live in the area, and don't want to travel far, it's certainly better than the other options around.

                  1. I've been to Bludso's in South Central a few times. Now, I may skip the one for white people altogether.

                    1 Reply
                    1. My immediate thought is that you might have better luck going to a place titled Bludso's for Black Folk.

                      As it seems that that is the style of food offered, but dumbed down.

                        1. re: kevin

                          I have not, though I've been recently advised that it's worth making another visit.

                          Mr Taster

                        2. Had a pretty fine meal over at BFWP on Friday night. Pretty diverse crew, not many tiny hats but white people black people, asian people, mexican people, pretty much all kinds of people.

                          We got "the plate" to split amongst a party of 4. At 9:30pm on a Friday night (aka 30 minutes before closing) we got the last hot link and they were out of chicken. They subbed with an additional half rack of pork ribs - in hindsight we should've triple downed on the brisket.

                          So, onto the food

                          - Hot links - tasty enough, no arguments
                          - Pulled pork - same as above
                          - Half rack pork ribs - tasty, well smoked meaning not totally fall off the bone but having some tooth left in the meat, great spice rub + smokey taste
                          - rib tips - also fine but not spectacular, really smokey but would have preferred them a little mor etender
                          - brisket - holy shit second coming of christ brisket, we pretty much inhaled the brisket on the plate. had some pieces that tasted like prime rib it was so ridiculous.
                          - sides - I was really, really impressed by the sides here. Didn't love the cole slaw or collared greens but appreciate what they were trying to do. destroyed the corn bread, pickles, beans, & potato salad. Mac salad was decent too.

                          $5 PBR's, $10 old fashioneds. Total bill for plate + 5 beers = $130 + tip. We had enough leftovers to feed 2 people for lunch the next day.

                          Final note: In all honestly, the place wasn't that hipstery.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: ns1

                            Let's start a new thread. Nice write up.

                            1. re: ns1

                              Thanks for taking a chance on BFWP™. I'm glad it paid off for you.

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                Me too. Like you, I gambled and took some out of towners there w/o having been there myself. Was pleasantly surprised, especially given the time.

                              2. re: ns1

                                I haven't been.

                                Do you think this would be a good spot for Hollywood Bowl picnic takeout? It's on my from MV/CC. Would it travel well, I guess is what I'm asking.

                                1. re: PaulF

                                  I've brought in stuff from them and I think so...the rib tips are nice little munchies.

                                  1. re: PaulF

                                    too messy for my tastes @ Hollywood Bowl.

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        We don't eat at our seats, we eat at the picnic tables beforehand, so that might not be an issue for us.

                                        I just might give this a try next time. It's the right show, too. Peter Frampton/Buddy Guy doing a blues night. BBQ goes well with the blues.

                                        1. re: PaulF

                                          talk box solo for days + bbq = success. be sure to get those fabulous pickles.

                                          1. re: ns1

                                            Thanks for the rec. We will.

                                    1. As I live nearby, I've eaten at the La Brea Bludso's on many occasions (but notably never at the original). The BBQ can be inconsistent, but when it's good it's damn good.

                                      My general thoughts item by item:

                                      Chicken - I'm the type who never orders chicken when eating out. Here, however, I order it every time. It's smokey juicy divinity and, unlike some of the other meats, comes out consistently good.

                                      Hot Links - Nothing bad about them but nothing great either. They're a bit mealy for my tastes and the natural casing lacks that satisfying snap upon biting into it.

                                      Briskets - The most inconsistent item on the menu. When they're on, they're transcendent. When they're off, they can be dry. I've found you're going to get the best brisket, and for that matter all menu items, the earlier in the day you go. I order this every time with my finger's crossed for perfection.

                                      Pork Ribs - I love these. They can also be a tad dry at times, but even when dry I find the flavor more than makes up for the dearth of juiciness.

                                      Rib Tips - Super smoky and peppery nuggets of goodness.

                                      Pulled Pork - My least favorite item on the menu. Too dry too often.

                                      Macaroni and cheese - Pretty good. They often overcook the noodles so they can be slightly mushy. The blend of cheeses is solid.

                                      Collard greens - Fantastic. I like mine vinegary and this delivers.

                                      Beans - I'm a fan. I don't like sweet beans, so was happy to find these decidedly savory with a pleasant spice blend.

                                      Cole slaw - Bland. In desperate need of a kick of acid.

                                      In terms of demographics, I've found there to be a diverse mix of guests dining there on my visits.

                                      17 Replies
                                      1. re: onelabne

                                        Thanks very much for providing this comparative analysis.

                                        Consistency is a problem that plagues most BBQ joints. It's one of the reasons why the real Bludso's is such a treasure. BBQ is such a fickle art... I think its safe to say that all pitmasters operate within a range of results. But I've found Bludso's "range" is awfully damned narrow, particularly for the brisket. I'm not saying there isn't any variability (I've had a dry rib or two in my day), but what I am saying is that I've never, ever had dry brisket there (which is why the grey planks I got at BFWP™ were so utterly, crushingly disappointing.)

                                        In any case, I'm glad to have these tips from someone who has gone consistently. I'll need to give it another shot and will report back if I do.

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                          Glad to be of service. Sounds like I need to overcome my indolence and get to the original location so I can see how the new location stacks up to it. More importantly, it'll give me an excuse to eat brisket.

                                          1. re: onelabne

                                            Definitely, absolutely, without-a-doubt go to Bludso's Compton. Wienermobile's description is spot on, and for a first timer the Texas sampler is the way to go. Grab some friends and bring it to the Kenneth Hahn park for a pretty damned magnificent picnic.

                                            Mr Taster

                                        2. re: onelabne

                                          On rereading my initial post, I see that I also was served great chicken. I had forgotten about that.

                                          Very interesting how, even in the purported "bad old days" (assuming BFWP™ has righted the ship, as others have attested), this has been the one item that comes out consistently well. Generally the only way I am served juicy white meat chicken is when I make it myself.

                                          Mr Taster

                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                            Dear Mr Taster

                                            Boy, you really like poking a stick (as ny southern relatives would say) to stir up things.

                                            I just wish that I could travel up to Bludso's hoodie and Bludso's Light just to make my own taste comparisons.

                                            All of this yelling on inter-what makes me giggle.


                                            1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                              Then travel up to them and do it already. :)

                                              And of course report back.

                                                1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                                  Glad you enjoy reading my posts. BBQ stirs the passions, doesn't it?

                                                  By the way, there's no yelling coming from my corner of the internet. However, there is a lot of passion, and a particular way of looking at our culinary and social landscape (because the two really can't be separated).

                                                  My preference is to dine on the best possible food maximally unencumbered by "cooler-than-thou", and I am certainly vocal on Chowhound (and in real life) about that preference.

                                                  It doesn't mean I won't occasionally succumb to the allure of a really good TrendyBurger™, for example, but I don't take pride in that decision, either.

                                                  I really am much more inclined to drive to Compton for my BBQ, even though I live and work minutes from BFWP™. And did I mention that I don't have a car?

                                                  Mr Taster

                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                    Taster, you don't have a car ???????????????????????????????

                                                    Why not ??????

                                                    And how the hell do you get to all the delicious joints around town ??????

                                                    especially say for instance Bludso's, do you take a bus, to the metro rail, and then follow up with another bus ???????????

                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                      My Lovely Tasting Assistant™ has our car at her residency in Portland, so I MTA, Uber and Zipcar my way around town. And when it comes to those lunchtime Langer's and Bludso's runs, my boss has no problem loaning out her Chowmobile (and very often picks up the tab).

                                                      Mr Uber Taster.

                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                        you have some boss.

                                                        damn, her car is parked in OR ?????

                                                        i guess public transit is alive and well in LA.

                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          OUR car is parked in Oregon! :)

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                            wow, how come, hopefully that's not TMI ?????????

                                                      2. re: kevin

                                                        That has to be a kevin question mark record...

                                                  2. re: Mr Taster

                                                    Mr.T's post reminds me. Bludso's gets so much notice for their brisket, understandably, but the chicken at the Compton location is the best BBQ chicken I've had. In my experiences, BBQ chicken sauce often seems over tomatoed or over vinegared. Not the case at Bludso's.

                                                    So, what I'm sayin' is, don't sleep on the chicken, folks.

                                                    1. re: JThur01

                                                      Since U am not a foureen-year--old wirh a Smarat Phone, I qill reply in an antedeluvian manner: "neer, neerer."

                                                      1. re: JThur01

                                                        Thanks for the reminder.

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                  3. Please try Bludso's Compton. The people there are so nice and kind and really appreciate your business. Call ahead and your order is waiting for you. Their Texas Sampler for around $30 will easily feed four people...

                                                    5 Replies
                                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                                        For anyone north of the 101, getting to Bludso's Compton during an hour where they still have meat can be a challenge.

                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                          not if you leave during a saturday morning and arrive there about 1115 or 1130, or is the meat only ready about 1pm or 130 which would then put you in some insidious traffic if you're leaving N. of 101 at about 12/1230 or so ?????????

                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                            but that's prime dim sum/sleep hours.

                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                              preciously why Bludso WeHo was opened

                                                      2. So many good points! (Although I wear skinny jeans.)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. I think the Bludso's on La Brea is much improved. I also disagree that it is a hipster place, maybe it had a bit of that vibe in the beginning, but I see a pretty diverse crowd when I go. It's basically a fun sports bar with good barbecue. I'd hardly call it a destination restaurant, but not everything needs to be. The chicken, ribs, and brisket are all very good, and the sides are quite good. The sausage is the only thing I really don't care for.

                                                          1. everytime I see this thread I crave that brisket.