The City of Angels gets all the glory: it’s got palm trees and sunny skies, a long history of bombshells and rock stars calling it home, and all those sub-cities it hides behind its enormous wings when the “best of” lists are written. Wait, what?
Come on, you’ve seen them: “10 Best Noodle Places,” “25 Romantic Dining Spots,” “Your Guide to the 50 Best Restaurants,” and all, of course, are said to be in Los Angeles. Only, after slowly clicking through the photo slides, you discover less than half are actually in the city of LA. Well, get ready to have your mind blown because this barbecue list is setting the record straight — out of Long Beach and Compton, that is.
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
Located in the heart of Downtown Long Beach’s growing restaurant and bar scene, this hipster hangout is known more around town for its craft beers, than its food — especially after receiving five Great American Beer Festival (GABF) awards in 2013. That fact in no way diminishes the brewpub’s expertise for grilling a mean rack of ribs. Beachwood’s philosophy is simple: low, slow and dry rubbed, allowing the meat’s true flavor to stimulate the senses. Served smoky and spicy, just how we like it.
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 210 E. 3rd Street, Long Beach, CA, (562) 436-4020
Food Served: Tuesday-Sunday (11:30am-9:30pm)
Johnny Rebs’ Southern Roadhouse
As its name indicates, this joint brings a “true South” atmosphere and flavor to its Bixby Knolls neighborhood in Long Beach. From the moment you walk in to the wood-interior space and hear the crunch of peanut shells at your feet, and delight at the decorative accents on the walls and strings of lights across the ceiling, the down-home mood is set. All that’s left for you to do is sit back and enjoy your fixin’s of collard greens and grits, along with the tastiest creation of barbecue pulled pork and melted cheddar over fries. Visit during happy hour (Monday-Friday, 3-6pm), and you can get the BBQ fries for $5 and ribs at one for a dollar. If that doesn’t make you happy, nothing will.
Johnny Rebs’ 4663 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, CA, (562) 423-7327
Food Served: Sunday-Thursday, until 9pm; Friday-Saturday, until 10pm
Naples Rib Company
When it comes to this quaint Belmont Shore-adjacent stop, within walking distance of the Naples Canals, the location is a key component to its popularity. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows your name and probably your parents’ names and quite possibly the names of your children, if you have them — a real neighborly restaurant, with Texas-sized servings and seating for the whole family. Aside from all else that keeps this long-time establishment going strong, the real treat here is the tri-tip. The ribs are excellent, as well. There are also gluten-free menu options, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Naples Rib Company 5800 E. 2nd Street, Long Beach, CA, (562) 439-7427
Food Served: Monday-Sunday, until 9pm
It’s true what they say: never judge a book by its cover, or for that matter, rate a BBQ joint by its street appeal. When LA’s most revered food critic Jonathan Gold calls your barbecued beef brisket, “an impressionist painting of meat,” as he did of Bludso’s, you know you’ve got something of value. Just as Monet used a series of undeterminable brush stokes to create his artistic masterpieces, so owner, and native Texan, Kevin Bludso utilizes his grilling tools and generations-old family traditions to deliver the most mouthwatering tours de force this side of, well, Texas. No matter what you order, you’ll likely be pleased. Just go prepared for some serious grub because the portions are large.
Bludso’s 811 S. Long Beach Blvd., Compton, CA (310) 637-1342
Food Served: Tuesday-Thursday, until 8pm; Friday-Saturday, until 9pm; Sunday, until 7pm