By Michele E. Buttelman
Signal Staff Writer
For decades the narrative on quality barbecue restaurants in the United States was mostly limited to establishments in Texas and St. Louis. Then came regional barbecue favorites with huge followings like Alabama, Carolina and Memphis style.
However, in the last decade the story has changed and Southern California is now entering the serious barbecue conversation. There are dozens of great barbecue places in southern California, but here are my top five joints to indulge in some authentic ‘Q.
Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas BBQ
8136 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys, 91402
Info (818) 780-6701 or visit hoglywogly.com Open Sunday-Friday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Dr. Hogly Wogly’s in the San Fernando Valley is old school all the way. It is an icon of the smoked-meat era with its semi-retro interior and a menu of sauced beef ribs and country sides.
This is wood pit barbecue at its finest. Founded in 1969 by Johnny Greene, they still slowly smoke high-quality meats in a traditional brick pit smoker using 13 different spices in their dry rub.
Most of the pitmasters and cooks have worked at this joint for more than 20 years. There are no burgers, no salads, just amazing “wet BBQ” with a secret house marinade and tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs and authentic Texas brisket.
All dinners are served with a half loaf of home baked bread, barbecue sauce and a choice of two sides: barbecue beans, coleslaw, macaroni salad, potato salad or French fries.
There’s pulled pork, barbecue chicken, ham and hot links, too. Finish your meal with sweet potato pie or pecan pie.
Spring Street Smokehouse BBQ
Spring Street Smokehouse near Chinatown in downtown L.A. offers beautifully lacquered ribs, hickory-smoked meats and surprise sides like hot and crackling pork rinds. PHOTO COURTESY SPRING STREET SMOKEHOUSE
Info (213) 626-0535 or visit www. sssmokehouse.com Open Wednesday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.8 p.m.
The Spring Street Smokehouse opened at the edge of Chinatown in 2005. It soon became a local favorite for its all-American vibe and its lacquered ribs, burnt ends, Texas hot links and other classic barbecue meats. All meat is hickory-smoked from four to 12 hours.
The wonderfully smoky meat also includes beef and pork ribs, brisket and pulled pork available in plates and sandwiches. For something different try the fried shrimp po’boy.
In addition to the down-home sides of mac and cheese, beans and cornbread, there are also surprises including fire roasted veggies, two kinds of coleslaw, hot and cracking pork rinds, smoked hot wings and chicken stuffed with peppers, onions and cheese, then wrapped with bacon and pit-smoked.
The Carolina-style sauce has the traditional apple cider vinegar base and is served warm over the meats. Dessert includes bourbon bread pudding and peach cobbler.
Swinging Door BBQ
11018 Vanowen St., No. 6313 North Hollywood, 91605
Info (818) 763-8996 or visit bbqnorthhollywood.wixsite.com/ swingindoor Open Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.8:30 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday noon-9 p.m. and Sunday noon8 p.m.
This is authentic Texas-style high-quality barbecue made with love. Meats available daily include tritip, brisket, pork ribs (baby back and St. Louis spare ribs), chicken, sausage and pulled pork.
Traditional homemade sides include barbecue baked beans, coleslaw, mac and cheese, red skin potato salad, cornbread muffins, garlic herb mashed potatoes, French fries, garlic rolls, braised greens and side salad.
You can’t go wrong with ordering a side of fries — there are cheese fries, brisket fries and garlic herb fries.
Order a combo plate or a sandwich with your favorite meat and sides.
Dessert options include deep-fried Twinkies or deep-fried Oreos.
The Bear Pit
10825 Sepulveda Blvd. Mission Hills, 91345
Info (818) 365-2500 or visit bearpitbbq.com Open Sunday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Santa Clarita Valley residents might be surprised to learn the Bear Pit in Mission Hills was founded in the late 1940s when original owner Ben Baier moved from Missouri and started a small barbecue shack in Newhall.
His food became so popular he decided to relocate to the San Fernando Valley.
He constructed a brick oven, called a pit, and used local hardwoods to slow smoke beef, pork, spareribs and chicken. His unusual vinegar-based coleslaw and sweet barbecue bean recipe became the backbone of his menu.
After Baier retired and sold his restaurant, new owners have maintained most of his traditions, but also added improvements like barbecue turkey, beef back ribs, baby back pork ribs and Louisiana hot links.
The Memphis Grill
5759 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601
Info (818) 738-9993 or visit www. thememphisgrill.com Open Wednesday-Sunday Noon-8 p.m.
For a taste of authentic Tennessee-specific barbecue, visit the Memphis Grill. A relatively new player on the southern California barbecue scene, this restaurant offers brisket, pulled pork, tri-tip, chicken, hot links and baby back ribs.
Homemade sides like coleslaw, barbecue smoked beans and potato salad are joined by Memphis greens, candied yams, Memphis Mac and corn muffins.
Buy barbecue meats by the pound or choose a plate or sandwich.
The Memphis Sweet Tea is reason enough to pay them a visit