@ Century City Farmers Market (Thursdays 11am-3pm)
1800 Ave of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
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.