Bigmista’s Barbecue

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Bigmista’s Barbecue
@ Century City Farmers Market (Thursdays 11am-3pm)
1800 Ave of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
http://bigmista.com/

Most people in L.A. (including myself) tout Bludso’s as the best BBQ joint in the city, and that claim is more than justified in my opinion. However, there is another contender quietly going about its business on the move around town, showing up in various farmers markets and catering events (and even garnering BBQ competitions honors nationally) – Bigmista’s Barbecue. The Atwater Village farmers market is probably considered their “home base” (they currently show up at a handful of farmers markets throughout the city on a weekly basis), but they began showing up at the Century City one sometime last year. There wasn’t a big announcement, and they’re not the biggest attraction by far (that would be the Hawaiian chicken stand), but it just happened that I was looking them up when they started to show up in Century City, although it’s a bit further than I would like.

I made the trek from work a few months ago, which was about a mile-long walk, since my work is on the outskirts of the area. I’m not sure if the BBQ at Bigmista is actually considered Texas-style, but  I would categorize it as such due to the smoking. Got the sampler (of course), which had pulled pork, brisket, ribs, and hot links. The pulled pork was amazing – a perfect mix of fatty and charred, lean shredded pieces, coming together as a wonderfully juicy, smoky bite. The pork ribs were en route to such success, but didn’t have that fall-of-the-bone tenderness I was looking for. Keep in mind that the sauce comes on the side, which is always preferred for me. Bigmista’s sauce (as well as their greens actually) was much more vinegary than I was expecting, though I didn’t mind it at all (it was tangy like Carolina-style), and went well with meats in small doses. I don’t think the hot links are homemade, but were well-grilled.

But the one thing I was looking forward to the most, the brisket, was somewhat of a disappointment. The smoke rings were very evident (see below), but was way too dry – even dumping the remains of the BBQ sauce didn’t help too much. The smoky flavors were on point, but I just couldn’t get past the doneness. But everything else was good (especially the pulled pork). I really need to give their brisket another shot, and try the pig candy if it’s ever available at Century City (I’ve also heard good things about their pastrami). For now, I do consider Bigmista as having the second-best BBQ in town, but the distance between first and second is fairly significant, especially when first place does brisket so damn well. Keep in mind that they often sell out, so go early.

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Brisket

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Pork Shoulder

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Hot Links

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Pork Ribs

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Collard Greens

Cuisine City/Neighborhood Price Grade
BBQ (Food Stand) $$ B

Bludso’s BBQ

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On a random Sunday last month, I had a craving for BBQ. I think a friend of mine had asked me which BBQ joint was best in LA earlier that week; obviously I answered Bludso’s – critical and blogger darling. But there’s a problem with that statement: I hadn’t been to Bludso’s yet. Since I had nothing to do that day, I figured it was as good of a time as ever to make my trek down south to Compton. Plus there would be no better time to go, since they’re not very close and always close early.

I went right before noon, so there were a lot of church goers walking around in their Sunday bests. Despite this being “the hood,” everyone just seemed so happy and courteous. See people, it’s not so scary. Of course, I was the only non-Black person in sight. No biggie – I’m just that cool. On the other hand, I’m sure everyone else thought that I was one of these sheltered kids who considered the visit as some sort of reputation-building field trip (I know Alex Adams desires such a trip, being the for-the-people bougie that he is). Whatever, I’m here for the BBQ, y’all.

To make this trip count, I ordered the Texas Sampler ($29.50 – I believe it’s $28.50 on their website though), which has a little bit of all the meats on the menu (add a beef rib on weekends for $2). I got the mild sauce on the side, since that was what was suggested to me when you order to-go. You also get two large sides (I chose greens and mac and cheese), and a bunch of cornbread and white bread. The meats, besides the additional beef rib (which I got one of), consisted of: pork rib, beef brisket, rib tip, chicken, chicken link, beef link, and pork shoulder. Lasted me three meals.

Let me start by saying: Bludso’s is definitely the best BBQ I’ve ever had. That was a simple conclusion to come to, once I had my first bite of the beef brisket. So soft, so tender, and so good when slathered with the BBQ sauce. Beef ribs were awesome as well – they actually didn’t charge me for it (FYI: the service is really good). Pork ribs weren’t as good as their beef counterpart, but still held their own. Same with the pork shoulder in comparison to the beef brisket. Add the rib tips, and those five meats were the First-Team All-BBQ.

Not all is perfect though. The chicken had a nice smoky flavor, but was a bit dry and didn’t have that much depth flavor-wise (the sauce helped a bit though). The two varieties of links, while decent, aren’t anywhere in the same league as the superstars. But they were still pretty good. However, I might just stick to ordering a three-meat combo and supplementing it with some beef ribs next time. The sides aren’t often lauded at Bludso’s, but they were pretty damn good. The green, infused with some smoked pork, were really good. Mac and cheese was more conventional, but went well with all the meats.

I’m so glad I finally made it out to Bludso’s. Without a doubt, the best BBQ I’ve ever had. Maybe I can round up some bougies here in West LA and make the occasional field trips to Compton, since Bludso’s is such a destination place. Or I can somehow bribe Mr. Bludso into coming to our holiday potluck. Some notes: you can call ahead to place your order, and it’s currently cash only I believe.

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Texas Sampler

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Beef Rib

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Beef Brisket

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Rib

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Chicken Link

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Beef Link

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Chicken

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Rib Tip

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Pork Shoulder

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Cornbread, white bread & sauce

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Mild sauce on the side

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Greens

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Mac & Cheese

Chris Hei grade: A-

Bludso’s BBQ
811 S Long Beach Blvd
Compton, CA 90221
(310) 637-1342

Bludso's BBQ on Urbanspoon

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill

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Family took grandpa out for his birthday a few weeks ago and he chose…Wood Ranch. Apparently he loves the place. Didn’t know grandpa had the palate of a high school Chris Hei (used to love it back then, and went to the one at The Grove a bunch of times). Jokes aside, Wood Ranch ain’t too shabby. Comparable to Bandera in my opinion, but you don’t need to be 50+ and have a smoking jacket to feel like you belong (cheaper too).

I was a fatty and got the BBQ combo of three: tri-tip, baby back ribs, and roasted chicken. The tri-tip is supposed to be one of their signatures, but they refuse to serve it under medium. And even though I ordered it as such, it came out on the well-done side. Tasted decent, but the doneness of the meat killed any tri-tip libido. Same with the lifeless chicken, which I only got to counter the BBQ red meats. The ribs, however, were pretty good. A little heavy-handed with the sauce, but were juicy and flavorful. If grandpa wants to come back, I’m getting a slab of ribs, and nothing else.

Chris Hei grade: B-

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill
400 S Baldwin Ave, Store R5
Arcadia, CA 91007
(626) 447-4745

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill on Urbanspoon