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Northernmost Southern BBQ - Big Daddy's

WOW, what a surprise! I recently returned from an eleven day visit to Alaska, "The Last Frontier." I found the "end-of-the-rainbow in Fairbanks at Big Daddy's Bar B-Q for lunch. I consider myself a BBQ aficionado and I am a native of Los Angeles. Just two weeks ago I ate lunch at Gus's BBQ in South Pasadena and what a disappointment.

Then with a little research upon reaching Fairbanks and I felt I fell into a smoking pit big time. The St. Louis ribs were delicious. Smoked with a very good rub and no sauce. The meat was plenty and just right. None of that "falling off the rib" as some places advertise. Thick and juicy, cartilage and all. A half of slab plate was $16.25 with 2 sides. I had the coleslaw and onion rings. The rings were delicious and crunchy, just the way I like them. The way "Bob's Big Boy" used to make them. And naturally I had to taste the Brisket. Another Wow! Perfectly cooked again with only a rub and so succulent I cried for more! Others in my family had brisket sandwiches and plates and everyone agreed it tasted as good as Rudy's in San Antonio!

Too bad we had to catch a plane, because we all could have headed back there dinner. Harold Groatsema really has done a great job in his Northernmost Southern BBQ. Congratulations.

OJT Barbecue

Gus's BBQ in Pasadena

I had to try a new/old BBQ in South Pasadena. Sooner or later I get to all of them. Gus's BBQ has been around for ages, but in the past several years, it seemed mostly closed. Now, new owners take it over and I am hoping for the best. I went there for lunch last week and sat at the counter. In the narrow small kitchen there were at least 7 cooks. Um? The waiter was very nice and accommodating. I ordered the half slab of St. Louis ribs with slaw and French fries. I also asked if I could give me a taste of the brisket. After all any BBQ that's any good must at least serve good pork ribs and beef brisket. Gus's has a big original sign in front saying "Traditional BBQ" and also "California Style." That already seemed like a strange combination. The food arrived. However, when the cook prepared the ribs, he took a half slab out of the refrigerator and warmed them in some way that I could not see. These ribs were not St. Louis cuts. Not nearly as large and with no cartilage on the tips. In fact after chewing all of the meet off the bones, they only measure about 2 and half inches long! And the price was too high $19.00! The rub used was good but the two sauces served in "creamer" type cups were nothing unusual. The "spicy" sauce tasted more like a marmalade with lots of sugar and few spices. The brisket was a complete surprise! It arrived in a rectangular bowl and was all chopped and stringy. It looked and tasted just like "pot roast." The beer flavor was poured over it by the cook when he warmed it. It could also have been the sliced-off ends of the meat which taste OK but it sure isn't at all similar to any brisket served in a "traditional BBQ." I would call it at best the filling for a "Sloppy Joe." Nothing special about the iced tea. Water would have been better. Good service and friendly people but totally misguided with their "California Style." I wish them luck but will not return.

Jun 20, 2008
OJT Barbecue in Los Angeles Area