February 24, 2013

Bludso's Bar-&-Que (on La Brea)

Two years ago, I had my first encounter with Bludso's BBQ in Compton.  My (BBQ) life was changed forever.  So imagine my delight when I learned Kevin Bludso was expanding his BBQ glory to my neck of the woods with the help of Jason Bernstein and James Starr, owners of The Golden State, aka - my fave LA burger joint.  (Some squealing may have been involved).

New Bludso's signage on La Brea

I've never been to Texas, so I'm unfamiliar with Texas-style 'cue.  'Bless my heart,' some of you (Texans) would say, and perhaps rightfully so, but thanks to Bludso's, I feel okay with delaying my trip a bit longer.  (I do want to visit Texas soon, particularly Austin.  Also, I do like to visit cities for reasons other than food).

What's so great about Bludso's?  Oh honey, let me tell you...

Smoked Beef Brisket (1/2 lb) -- $10

I've had some good brisket before, but none can compare to the beef brisket served here.  Whether thickly-sliced or thinly-sliced, the meat is so tender that my fork was doing me more harm (breaking up the brisket) than good (delivering it to my lips/ hips).  Smother some pieces in the hot BBQ sauce, and you'll be in BBQ heaven.  The brisket is easily the best thing on the menu.

Rib Tips (1/4 lb) -- $5
Sadly, there weren't serving ribs the night I visited (what?!), so I opted for the rib tips.  Ribs they are not, but delicious they were... coming in 2nd after the brisket.

Pulled Pork (1/4 lb) -- $5

The pulled pork was disappointing.  There simply wasn't as much moisture as you'd expect in slow-cooked pork.  The dryness could probably have been covered up in a sandwich, but set alone, the meat was overcooked.

Meat, meat, meat! (with a spicy BBQ sauce that I would chug if it weren't so hot).

Let me spend a minute talking about their BBQ sauces.  There are two options: Regular and Spicy.  You can also have both and mix, which is what I did.  The regular BBQ sauce is tangy and smokey, good stuff.  But the spicy BBQ, oh my!  I'm not sure what ingredients are in their homemade recipe, but holy smokes, that stuff packs in the heat and the flavor!

Mac and Cheese (small) -- $5
Like the pulled pork, the mac and cheese was dry and without much flavor.  I'm glad we opted for the small portion size.  Not to bash their sides, but I remember I wasn't too impressed with their sides at the Compton location either.  The focus is more on the meats, namely the brisket, and I ain't complaining about that.

Round 1.

Texas Margarita (tequila, limeade, Pabst Blue Ribbon) -- $9
I'd never thought that the joined forces of PBR + tequila would result in such a refreshing drink.  A Texas Margarita can be a dangerous weapon, especially with the hint of lime hidden in every gulp.

Benches, tables, tvs give off a casual sports-bar vibe.

Where the mixology happens.
The menus -- click here for a closer look.

Will I return?  Most definitely.  Do I hope I come on a night when they're serving ribs and chicken?  Yes and yes.  Bludso's, you've done good to LA's BBQ world, and I'm so glad that your new Bar-&-Que location, despite the new 'hood, hasn't compromised the goodness served in the hole-in-the-wall joint in Compton.  Don't ever sell out.

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Bludso's Bar & Que on Urbanspoon

cuisine: Texas-style BBQ (In other words, all-American)
location: Mid-City
hours: Dinner daily, 5PM - midnight
websites: { Bludso's | yelp | twitter | facebook }
attire: Casual
parking: Street meters on La Brea, free 2-hour parking on side streets (read the signs, though!)
notes: No reservations.  No take-out option.  Come early or expect to stand in a line!