“I could go for some Los Angeles style BBQ,” said no one ever. It’s no secret that LA isn’t a “barbecue” town. What we are is a town of transplants, full of cooks that have brought their BBQ styles out West and grace our city and our taste buds with some of the best food from all corners of the country. What we lack in a distinct style, we make up for with a wide selection of types inspired by Texas, Memphis, Carolina, and at times a blend of regional style from local chefs that make it their own. You name it and you can probably find it here. Embark on a tour of the country’s barbecue all without leaving the city by visiting these smoke joints. Here, where to find the best BBQ in Los Angeles.

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1. RibTown LA

If you want to get some of the best rib tips in Los Angeles, then get to RibTown. But get there early because they tend to sell out of this infamous item an hour after opening! If you miss out on the rib tips, no worries. They also serve brisket, chicken, ribs, and hot links, all pit-smoked and covered in their sweet and tangy sauce.

2125 W. Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018; ribtownbbq.com

Best BBQ in LA Gold Land BBQ
Photo courtesy of Ojo de Loba

2. Gold Land BBQ

Open only on Sundays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., this pop-up BBQ spot serves you a taste of Central California via Santa Maria-style BBQ. They grill quality meats with classic flavors over a fire fueled by Red Oak, giving it a smoky and slightly sweet taste. If you get there and are overwhelmed with the aroma and sight of the meats cooking and have no idea what to get, trust us, we’ve been there; we say start with their infamous Santa Maria tri-tip.

5754 W Adams Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90016; goldlandbbq.com

3. Dr. Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas BBQ

This Valley institution has been serving up ribs and brisket since 1969, and their menu (and interior) has been relatively unchanged since. They are masters of their craft and live by the rule of no hamburgers or salads, just saucy grilled meats like their famous beef ribs. Making it clear, don’t mess with Texas BBQ.

8136 Sepulveda Blvd, Panorama City, CA 91402; hoglywogly.com

4. Rib Ranch

You can find this Valley gem tucked into a residential neighborhood. You will love Rib Ranch’s inviting outdoor dining that feels more like a friend’s backyard than a restaurant. That is, of course, if your friend is a grill master and makes meaty ribs so good, you wonder if you could just move in. Without question, you’re ordering ribs, baby back ribs to be exact, at the Rib Ranch. Pair it with any of their excellent sides. We’re partial to their homemade creamy coleslaw.

4923 Topanga Canyon Blvd Woodland Hills, CA 91364; bbqribranch.com

5. Handy Market

Technically, Handy Market is not a BBQ place in the traditional sense. It’s a neighborhood market that happens to also serve up delicious barbecue every Saturday. We’re suckers for their famous tri-tip sandwich loaded with meat and dripping with thick, sweet, BBQ sauce. Handy Market also has an impressive selection of wine and craft beers so pick up some bevies to-go. As a note, we’re not the only ones who love Handy’s. The line gets long fast so expect a wait or skip the line and order online.

2514 W Magnolia Blvd Burbank, CA 91505; burbankshandymarket.com

6. JR’s Barbecue

You could slather JR’s award-winning barbecue sauce on cardboard, and we would probably eat it. Yes, it’s that good. Lucky for us, the sauce accompanies their tender and smoky Memphis-style barbecue. From the wood they use to the ingredients they serve to the custom dry rub, every part of the meal is considered to make the best plate possible.

3055 S La Cienega Blvd #7314, Culver City, CA 90232; jrs-bbq.com

7. The Bear Pit

The Bear Pit’s story begins in 1940 when original owner Ben Baie moved out West from Missouri. The current owners still use the same method developed by Baie; slow wood smoked qualities meats smothered in a sweet (and top secret) BBQ sauce. Try their beef brisket sandwich on their famous garlic toast.

10825 Sepulveda Blvd, Mission Hills, CA 91345; bearpitbbq.com

8. Gus’s Barbecue

Established in Pasadena in 1946, Gus’s Barbecue was created by three relatives from Cleveland who were inspired by Southern hospitality and cuisine. Fast forward to 2021, Gus’s has three locations and continues to serve up their mix of Southern barbecue styles created by slow cooking, flavorful rubs and tasty sauces. They also offer Southern classics like fried chicken and a decent selection of beers, wine and cocktails.

Multiple locations; gussbbq.com

Best BBQ in LA CAT
Photo courtesy of Max City BBQ

9. Max City BBQ

Don’t let their industrial interiors fool you. Max City’s barbecue packs the same punch as a rustic BBQ joint. To be honest, they had us at “Platter of Pork.” Known as Spence's Platter of Pork, it comes with baby back ribs, spareribs, pulled pork and your choice of two sides. Bring a friend and your appetite, and expect to be in hog heaven. Eat there and enjoy a cold beer on tap from a local brewery.

4729 Eagle Rock Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90041; maxcitybbq.com

10. Big Ant’s BBQ

The magic of Big Ant’s is owed to their motto, “slower the better.” This BBQ joint takes their time cooking their meats until it’s perfect. Take their pulled pork that goes through 10 hours of smoking to get it just right, and then it’s combined with their tangy and spicy BBQ sauce. Try it in their pulled pork sandwich, which comes on their brioche buns and a nice scoop of their creamy coleslaw.

2207 N San Fernando Rd Los Angeles, CA 90065; bigantsbbq.com

11. The Memphis Grill

As upfront as their name, The Memphis Grill gives you some of the best, no-fuss BBQ outside of Tennessee. You can’t go wrong with any of their meats. However, their brisket is beyond tender with a smoky char. Mixed with their BBQ sauce that is equal parts sweet, spicy, and tangy, you have a recipe for a phenomenal meal. Don’t miss out on their homemade BBQ baked beans that like their sauce, it is sugary and spicey, and everything you want in a side dish.

5759 Lankershim Blvd Los Angeles, CA 91601; (818) 738-9993

12. Bonnie B’s Smokin BBQ Heaven

You’ve heard of Texas, Memphis, and Carolina BBQ, but how familiar are you with Oklahoma? The style can be described as a combination of Texas and Memphis styles, but it’s really in a class of its own. It tends to be smokier and less saucy than other BBQs. You can find the OK style at Bonnie B’s in the form of their Oklahoma brisket. The smoky, succulent beef is served with sauces that come in mild, medium, and hot. When here, don’t forget to order a portion (or two) of Slim’s macaroni and cheese.

1280 N Lake Ave Pasadena, CA 91104; bonniebssmokin.com

13. Woody’s Bar-B-Cue

The phrase “finger-licking-good” may have originated with KFC, but to us, it belongs solely to the iconic Woody’s Bar-B-cue. Serving L.A. since the 1970s, this BBQ joint sends customers off with hearty portions of slow-cooked Southern-style barbecued meats covered in a deliciously thick and sticky sauce. On the weekends, expect a line of fellow Angelenos waiting to sink their teeth into their legendary ribs.

Multiple locations; woodysbarbquela.com

14. Bludso’s

This barbecue restaurant went from a food stand in Compton to multiple locations in Los Angeles and one in Australia. And not for no reason. Here, the meat is the star, and it comes perfectly charred. The mains are served dry and don’t hide behind a sauce but trust us when we say the sweet BBQ sauce kicks it up a notch. In addition to delicious food, Bludso’s has some of the best cocktails in town.

609 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036; barandque.com

15. Horse Thief

Low and slow is the name of the game at Horse Thief, located at Grand Central Market in Downtown. Owned by two Texans, the meat here is hickory smoked, and it consistently comes out tender and flavorful. We love that you can get your meal al fresco at their picnic tables. So grab a plate and a cold beer and pretend you’re at a BBQ deep in the heart of Texas.

324 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013; horsethiefbbq.com

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