Los Angeles BBQ Festival

This festival has already passed.

The Los Angeles BBQ Festival is happening this weekend (May 9 & 10) in the parking lot right next to the Santa Monica Pier. The tickets cost you $10 per day or $50 dollars for the VIP Pass. The VIP pass guarantees access to “express” lines, admission for the weekend and a couple of other items. I’ve seen tickets online for as low as $36 for the VIP tickets, so you may want to Google or Yahoo! “Los Angeles BBQ Festival” if you do plan to go.
This is the second year for this event and it seems like they are addressing many of the problems that they had last year. I didn’t go to last year’s Los Angeles BBQ Festival, but I did speak with some folks who did, and they described it with simply two words… “long lines.” They had too many visitors and not enough vendors. Many of the vendors were local restaurants, which seems odd to pay $10 per person for admission to a local restaurant. This year they have more vendors.
In case you were wondering, this isn’t the only BBQ event this weekend. The Wishland foundation will be having their annual Que’n for Kids BBQ Competition at the Orange County Fairgrounds, which is a sanctioned event by The California BBQ Association and Kansas City BBQ Society (more on this in my next post).

– If you do go, get there early so that you can avoid the lines. The first hour, from noon to 1pm, is available open only to pre-purchased tickets, general admission is after that.
– Avoid the local restaurants (you can always drive over and visit them later). This is a good opportunity to try out some really good BBQ. I do have a friend that is going, specifically for one of the Texas pit masters that will be there.
– Get your mother some really nice flowers to help explain how you blew her off on Mother’s Day. Or, you can just buy her a ticket and take her.
-If you do go, let me know your thoughts.


Click for more event info.

5 thoughts on “Los Angeles BBQ Festival”

  1. I went to last year’s festival as well. I went early enough that my wait in line for LC’s wasn’t that bad. The problem was, beside Southside Market, it was the only real game in town. This year there were many worthy options from out of town (OOT).

    I got in just after 1:00 pm on Saturday and bought a sampling from each of the OOT booths. It took me a mere 15 minutes to buy 6 items.

    Sharing these treasures with my wife, we gorged ourselves. Here are my findings:

    I really enjoyed Texas Thunder pulled pork the best.
    Second was the Chicago BBQ Co. St. Louis Ribs
    A close third was Southside Market’s sausage.
    Also good was Butch’s SMack Your Lips

    The big disappointments were LC’s from KC and the Memphis Championship baby backs.

    I liked the festival this year and look forward to next year’s. I hope more great BBQ teams come out next year. But please offer other sides besides cole slaw.

    But while a year ago I hadn’t heard of Bludso’s and Big Mista, this year I feel LA’s own BBQ is as good as other parts of the country.

  2. Thanks for your comment. The long lines remind me of the Autry BBQ competition a couple years back. It was very well promoted and extremely crowded but they only had two BBQ vendors. People had to wait a ridiculous amount of time for some BBQ, which ran out very fast. To top it off the BBQ teams weren’t allowed to give any food the the public and everyone was ultimately disappointed.

  3. Hi-
    I was really looking forward to this event last year – we even invited the parental units from the OC to join us- it was horrible!! The lines were incredible, and many palces (most?) ran out of sides, sauce (yes, their signature sauces!!), plates and utensils, etc. You had to wait >1 hour at each stand (some over 1:45), and had to wait in line to buy drink tickets just to wait in line to exchange the tix for a beverage. No where to sit after, I’m not exaggerating, an over 2-1/2 hours of just waiting in line to get in, get food (from 1 stand!) – we bailed on getting any kind of beverage. Had to half and share A napkin, and stood to eat our 4 bones of ribs (no sides – they ran out) each (they would not let you buy more than 1 portion per person).

    I am sure this year, they will plan better witha year of experience under their belt (I hope?), but just wanted to share my experience from last year as a possible caution.


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