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The Best BBQ In L.A.

Summertime is practically synonymous with smoked meat. But if you're like us, you can't get enough of this down-home American tradition no matter what time of year it is. Here are some of the best BBQ joints that Los Angeles has to offer.

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Photo of Bludso's smoked ribs via NomsNotBombs on Flickr

Bludso's

Kevin Bludso uses his granny's recipe to crank out what we believe to be the best 'que in town. The smokey brisket is tender and juicy, as are the ribs. They're best consumed with a hearty dose of Bludso's bangin house made sauce (we recommend the spicy version.) Sides don't fall short either. Get the mac n cheese or the collard greens. Thankfully there are two locations open now, the original in Compton and a more gussied up version on La Brea that serves cocktails and beer, so you can always get your fix.

Bludso's is located at 811 S Long Beach Boulevard, Compton, (310) 637-1342

The Handy Market BBQ

Rocking up to Handy's on a Saturday really gives you the feeling that you're in the South. The community vibe is strong at this family market, where BBQ is fired up every Saturday from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Follow your nose to their smokey grills, which are stacked high with corn on the cob, turkey legs, links, chicken, tri tip and ribs. They're sold by the pound and priced at a bargain, but just make sure you get there early because they tend to sell out.

The Handy Market is located at 2514 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, (818) 848-2500

Baby Blues

It's best to take-out at both locations of Baby Blue's. Venice and WeHo get particularly crowded on weekends, where locals come in for finger lickin' ribs and craft brews. Try the beer-braised chicken and some of the homemade, North Carolina-style sauces.

Baby Blue's is located at 444 Lincoln Boulevard, Venice, (310) 396-7675

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Photo of Beachwood BBQ by LA Foodie on Flickr

Beachwood BBQ

Beachwood takes a purist's philosophy to their BBQ, slow smoking and dry rubbing it without sauce. Of course, if you want to slather some on, there's plenty tableside for you to choose from. But honestly, it's really not needed. The apple, pecan, and oak woods that the meat is smoked over speak for themselves. Their smoked buffalo wings are the best around. But don't forget to order up the tater tot casserole, which is basically a fancied-up version of poutine made with tots, cheese curds, and duck gravy.

Beachwood BBQ is located at 210 E 3rd Street, Long Beach, (562) 436-4020

Boneyard Bistro

Walking through the doors at Boneyard Bistro, you'll be slammed by the sweet smell of smoke. Immediately you'll know what they're known for: killer 'que. It's also one of the few places you can find Santa Maria-style BBQ here in L.A. Order up The Evanator platter, which serves two to four people. It comes with 1⁄4 rack of each type of their ribs (slow hickory smoked and Santa Maria-style), pulled pork, tri tip, brisket, half a chicken, a large order of mac n cheese, cole slaw, and beans for $85.

Boneyard Bistro is located at 3539 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, (818) 906-7427

Smoke City Meat Market

Smoke City is proof that great BBQ is pretty darn simple. It requires the mastery of heat control, of course, but their rub includes a few simple ingredients that take things over the top; they rub their quality beef, poultry and pork with nothing more than salt, pepper, chili flakes and a touch of sugar to get those classic caramelized edges, and then smoke the meats over oak between 3 and 14 hours. Their sides, like the German potato salad or the longhorn mac made with shells, are also aces.

Smoke City Meat Market is located at 5242 Van Nuys Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, (818) 855-1280

Bigmista's

Pit master Neil Strawder cut his chops on the BBQ competition circuit, but thankfully he's taken a liking to serving up his smoked links, pig candy, and burnt ends at farmers markets throughout L.A. Now he and his wife Phyllis can be found slanging their "real good meat" at the Atwater, Century City, Downtown L.A. (Hope St.), and Torrance Farmers Markets.

Bigmista's is located at markets throughout L.A. You can order catering by calling (562) 423 4BIG

My Brother's Bar-B-Que

This family-run BBQ joint in the West end of the Valley has been open since 1957, save for a fire in the early aughts that closed it down for a stint. They serve Texas-style 'que for very affordable prices. Go for lunch and you can get a slab of baby backs and two sides for under $15.

My Brother's is located at 21150 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills, (818) 348-2020

Zeke's Smokehouse

The quaint town of Montrose is hardly where you'd expect to find hardcore BBQ, but alas, Zeke's has it. They smoke their meat on hickory logs, and do a variety of regional applications from Kansas City-style spare ribs to Carolina pulled pork and Texas style beef brisket. They've got loads of sides on offer too, including fried okra, braised collard greens, and hush puppies.

Zeke's Smokehouse is located at Montrose, (818) 957-7045

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Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist
Sharone Hakman at The Residency

An alum of Fox's "Master Chef" and a native Angeleno, Sharone Hakman might not seem to be the guy who would know good BBQ. But he does. The creator of the stellar chipotle Hak's BBQ sauce has taken over Umamicatessen's Saturday night Residency program cooking what he calls "BBQ Elevated," an upscale interpretation of barbecue from around the world. On the night we attended, he made a BBQ bison rib, a giant cut of meat that tapped into our primal instincts, but was fall-off-the-bone tender.

The Residency is located at 852 Broadway, Downtown, (213) 413-8626

And keep an eye open for these two BBQ spots, which will be opening up soon in L.A.:

Horse Thief Opening up in Grand Central Market very shortly, this Texas BBQ joint will cover the bases for DTLA dwellers.

Roadhouse LA Chef Robbie Richter did a stint at this is not a pop-up, and will be opening his international BBQ concept later this summer. Keep an eye out.