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Oct 24, 2013 05:26 PM

Finally Great BBQ in Orange County!!!!!!

The place is called "Smokin' Fred's BBQ" and it's in Orange.

They said the best I could get was at Rancho a No-NO. They said I could choke on that or drive all the way to Compton. I was starting to think they were right.

This new place is not just "good for OC." It's the real deal. I like it WAY better than Bludso's.

The brisket is Texas level. No joke. I also got the pulled pork (amazing) and the hot links.

The guy who owns it is very nice and is clearly a stud on the smoker. Food was excellent at 4pm on a Thursday with nobody inside, so hopefully no consistency issues (when food's good at a lull hour, it generally points to consistent quality.) Run, don't walk. You're welcome, OC hounds.

PS: sides are off the hook and the three meats plus three sides was 15 dollars.

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  1. Good to know. I literally planned on going tomorrow for rib tips. Had a feeling it'd be about Smoking Fred's when I read your post subject.

    Speaking of rib tips: is it true they're often out?

    Rancho is a farce, so is Handy's. That 3-meat combo is $3 less than Robert Earl's Real Deal 3-meat dinner which is pretty amazing if the quality is good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TonyC

      I don't know about any of that, it was my first time there and I'm not a rib guy. I'm just crazy about brisket, and it's such a hard thing to smoke a brisket perfectly. And if it's not perfect, it may as well not be done at all.

      This place is just the best. Even Bludso's, which is widely considered the best in the area, to me was always a "close enough" approximation of good BBQ. This was the first truly satisfying plate of que I've had in years. Rib tips or not, just go. And yeah when he told me the price I was pretty stoked, and I hadn't even tried the food yet.

    2. Liked the pastrami at Rancho. A lot.

      Will give Fred's a try. Thanks for the tip!

      1. what sides did you get? do they have collard greens?

        7 Replies
        1. re: raizans

          No collards, no mac; smokey, porky baked beans, chili. Try it out this wknd?

          There's a small renaissance of bbq going on in Southern LA with Hambone's, Smoking Fred and Robert Earl (not counting Tony's, obvs).

          1. re: TonyC

            Robert Earl looks really good in the pictures, but it's pretty far from me. Let me know if you think it's better than Fred's and I'll give it a shot. I mostly just care about the brisket though.

            1. re: Eater15

              Different beasts.

              Smoking Fred's brisket is like.. a piece of braised short rib, cut into 1" thick squares instead of slices, and plated with heavy sprinkles of PAPRIKA (what in the fuckery is that about?). It's bouncy and very buttery. Though tasty, it's not very smoky; great if replated and complemented by a side of arugula and 2 glass of acidic wine to cut the fat, which is what I'll be doing for Sunday dinner. Perhaps I just went on an odd instead of even day.

              Robert Earl's tastes like pastrami, far saltier (brined?), light on the spice rub, well trimmed, no need for sauce. It's sliced thin and makes for a fantastic sandwich on rye, which is what I'll be dong w/ the rest of my 1/2 lb of RE's for Sunday lunch. Reminds me of Big Mista's pastrami. I don' t know my Texas from Carolina, but it's safe to say this is very, very far from TX brisket.

              Bludso Compton's "style" is far my cup of tea w/ Horse Thief barely behind, depending on my current location. I'm often equidistance from Bludso and Fred's, so Orange will probably not get a second visit unless someone tells me Fred has outrageous rib tips.


              1. re: TonyC

                That's weird because my brisket wasn't cut into cubes, it was sliced, and had noticeable if not strong smoke flavor. Paprika???

                1. re: Eater15

                  Yup, paprika. My brisket looked like this guy's:

                  That ungodly orange sprinkle is clearly paprika. My brisket was cut into LARGE squares, perhaps 3"x3"x1". Again, like 2 pieces of short rib. Totally weirded me out. But it was plenty tasty, and super cheap.

                  Maybe I got reverse-whited.

                  1. re: TonyC

                    Is this in the old location that Scottie's BBQ was at ?????


                2. re: TonyC

                  Tony C -- Your great description of the brisket from Robert Earl's makes me want to call it "Texas Pastrami" and get some dark, crusty Jewish rye and make me a sammich. Also Texas-esque is the name "Robert Earl" --- c'mon, why don't they just call themselves "Bobby Earl" and be done with it?
                  No, it ain't Texas brisket, but Texas Pastrami sounds spot-on to me...

          2. "Smokey Fred's BBQ" I believe?

              1. re: Servorg

                The website is almost completely useless.

                1. re: kevin

                  Just proving how authentic they are..."We don't need no stinking useful website! We got BBQ!" ;-D>