Los Angeles is not a town known for its BBQ, but it actually does have some good spots if you know where to look! I love barbecue: the brisket, ribs, cole slaw, beans, potatoes, biscuits, and of course the sauces! Here are some of my favorite BBQ places on LA’s West Side!
#1 Maple Block Meat Co. (Culver City)
My number one pick for best BBQ on the west side is Maple Block Meat Co. in Culver City. It’s famous for its brisket, and for good reason – it’s wonderful. Get a mix of the lean and fatty meat. The pork ribs are pretty awesome as well.
But, what elevates Maple Block even higher above the competition are the sides. The creamy coleslaw is just right – with not too much mayonnaise. The mac ‘n cheese is great, and the biscuits were good too.
Maple Block recommend family style dining to share the sides. The serving sizes are generous, and a half a pound of meat per person was enough for us.
Although it’s located along a busy stretch of Sepulveda in an unremarkable part of town, I like the ambiance inside, especially the patio. It’s suitable for an informal date, or just hanging out with friends.
During peak periods like Friday and Saturday nights, reservations are highly recommended. We didn’t need reservations on Sunday night. There is a small parking lot adjacent to the restaurant.
For me, Maple Block has the best combination of great meat, amazing sides, and great ambiance, making it my pick for top BBQ restaurant on the West Side.
#2 Slab (Mid City)
In a pretty hip section of 3rd Street in Mid-City, Slab gets some amazing reviews, comparing it to BBQ in Austin, TX. Try the beef brisket and baby back ribs.
#3 Baby Blues BBQ (Venice)
Baby Blues BBQ is located at 444 Lincoln Blvd. in Venice and Sunset Ave. They also have a location in Echo Park.
The appearance from the street is unimpressive. It has bright blue awnings that make it look more like a patio furniture store than a restaurant.
Once you step inside, the ambiance improves a bit. You feel like you’ve been transported to a small town BBQ joint in North Carolina. There’s corrugated aluminum siding on the walls, and photos of all kinds of celebrities and random other nick-knacks on the walls.
Baby Blues describes their BBQ style as a hybrid, “featuring a Memphis-style rib, a dry-rubbed baby back, brisket and pork that are slow-smoked in Guinness beer, and a sauce that hails from the western region of North Carolina.” Hmm.. sounds good to me!
I ordered the Sliced Brisket, featuring “Black Angus beef, pepper crusted, slow smoked for 14 hours” with a side of cole slaw and potato salad. My friend ordered the pulled pork “smoked with Guinness Beer” with a side of beans and cole slaw. We couldn’t wait!
At every table was a selection of several BBQ sauces in plastic bottles, including Porno XXX (hot), Ginger Tabasco, BBQ, and Sweet. I noticed that all of the sauces were rather thinner than what you would find in sauces that you buy at a grocery store. This is consistent with a Carolina BBQ sauce, as opposed to a Kansas City style thicker sauce.
The food arrived very quickly. I went with the standard BBQ sauce first, slathering my first slice of meat with it. The brisket was fantastic; super tender – some of the tenderest brisket I’ve had. I really liked the pepper rub.
I ended up trying all four of the BBQ sauces and liked them all! I think I liked the Porno XXX the best, but it was a bit too hot to have for the whole meal.
I tried the pulled pork and fell in love with that as well.
My friend said the beans were incredible. She was less impressed with the cornbread, but I really liked it. I thought the coleslaw and potato salad were decent.
The prices were reasonable given the high quality, with the pork at $14.95 and the brisket at $17.85. Portions were fairly big and I was stuffed afterwards.
The service was decent and friendly. The food came out very quickly. It took a while to get our check, but we were so satisfied, we didn’t really care. Overall, I found out why many people claim Baby Blues BBQ is the best BBQ on the West Side. I am a believer!
#4 Holy Cow BBQ (Santa Monica and Culver City)
Holy Cow has two locations on the West Side: one in the Brentwood area of Santa Monica, near the Brentwood Country Mart, and one in Culver City.
The quality of the meat and sides is excellent. My only gripe is that the serving sizes seemed small. After a half pound of meat at Maple Block, I was stuffed, but after a half pound at Holy Cow, I could have had more. But, the prices for half a pound at Holy Cow are cheaper than at Maple Block, so maybe it’s just a matter of ordering bigger sizes at Holy Cow.
I like the small, charming Brentwood location. It’s suitable for a quiet informal date.
The Culver City location is larger and more lively. When we went, the music was actually obnoxiously loud and we had to ask them to turn it down so we could hear each other talk. I would imagine that was an anomaly though.
Other than these minor issues, I loved the food here and would recommend Holy Cow!
What are your favorite BBQ places on the West Side, Mid City, or in greater Los Angeles? Please comment below! – Brian