Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: Bludso's BBQ in Compton, CA

"A Lil Taste of Texas."

The words hand painted on the wall within Bludso's BBQ says so little, yet says so much. Other than a few hours of layover at DFW, I had never visited Texas in the truest BBQ sense of the word. As if the aroma of BBQ smoke wafting through the air wasn't enough, it made me feel at ease. In my eyes, this was going to be some legit Texas-style BBQ.

A Lil Taste of Texas

A half hour drive away was all it took to be transported to the city of Compton and onto the front steps of Bludso's. The location isn't exactly "Straight Outta Compton" by Ice Cube, but more like hey, it's a quick getaway to the freeway part of Compton. This was no hole in the wall. This was a shack, a "B-B-Q Shack" to be exact. If only all shacks smelled this good.

For a mere $28.50, the Texas Sampler includes a bit of everything on the menu -- brisket, pulled pork, rib tips, ribs, chicken, and two different types of sausage. I went with the hot BBQ sauce on the side, and picked the potato salad and the mac 'n cheese. Bludso's even throws in slices of white bread, for good measure. The styrofoam box was literally bursting at the wrap seams, and I felt like a plastic surgeon unwrapping a patient's face after reconstructive surgery.

Plastic wrapped, handle with care

Yeah, we happy

With the box finally opened, it was straight out of the scene in Pulp Fiction where Vincent opens up the suitcase for the first time, and a bright gold shine illuminates through. Vincent just stands there for a few moments, admires what he sees, and takes a long drag of his cigarette before Jules interrupts his thoughts and says "we happy?" Yeah, we happy.

As fellow blogger Foodoofus and I tore through everything like a rabid, 2-man wolf pack, my favorites began to shine through -- the brisket and the spare ribs. The much talked about brisket lived up to its reputation. In my early career smoking BBQ meats, I've had the most experience with brisket, and I'm always looking to smoke a more tender, juicier brisket. Bludso's version was thinly sliced and was bursting with juices. The ribs had a nice bark, and the meat had just enough of that addictive smoky favor. The meat was tender, but none of that overcooked, mushy mess that plague many BBQ joints. The meat still clung onto the bone, letting your teeth rip off all the porky goodness.

For the sides, my favorite was the potato salad. Bludso's version of the potato salad had more of a creamy consistency, which was a perfect contrast to the hot BBQ sauce. The sauce had a nice, spicy kick, but was neither vinegary or sugary. The slices of white bread might throw off some people -- but do as do in Texas, a la Smitty's Market. It's the perfect vehicle to sop up the meat juices and the BBQ sauce. My quest for great BBQ in the LA/OC area is taking a turn for the better, and Bludso's BBQ is surely leading the pack.

BBQ plate of goodness
Mac 'n cheese, potato salad
Use that white bread to your advantage