For many, a love of barbecue begins and ends at eating it. But Johnny Walker took his love a step farther by creating his own signature brand of sauces. They add an extra kick to pulled pork, rib tips, and turkey, all of which Johnny slow-smokes at J & J's BBQ & Fish alongside fellow pitmaster Joe Draper. They let diners pair their southern-style barbecue with sides such as slaw, potato salad, and hush puppies, so named for the quiet passion with which dogs eat them. The Louisiana natives also draw from the flavors of their home state to create seafood specialties that include po’ boys made with shrimp, oysters, or tilapia, as well as platters centered on fresh catches of red snapper and catfish.
At Joey's Bar-B-Q, charcoal, mesquite, and hickory woods join forces with USDA Choice meats, and 25 years of family recipes to create a menu dripping with smoky, saucy, Texas flavors. Torture taste buds on a rack of smoked baby back pork ribs, served with a choice of baked potato, yam, or charbroiled vegetable kabob ($21.95 for dinner). Or, sate the most demanding of carnivorous claws by opting for The Works––a heaping helping of ham, beef, chicken, beef ribs, pork ribs, and country-style sausage links, lacking only in its absence of bacon ($27). Those who prefer their sauce in a glass rather than on their hands can augment a 12-ounce USDA Choice filet mignon ($28.50) with one of the restaurant's many beers, many of which are procured from local breweries, or plucked straight from L.A.'s natural beer fields.
At Cowboy Burger's & BBQ, cooks grill freshly sculpted burger patties to order and top them with savory toppings such as shaved pastrami. Diners can pair these meaty entrees with onion rings and zucchini fried in 0% trans-fat oil or stop by in the morning to fuel up with pancakes, omelets, and breakfast burritos.
Voted Best of the IE in Inland Empire Magazine in 2010, the lime-green-walled Chef Tim's features classic barbecue and Southern-style soul food. Paint a meatsterpiece on your tongue with a slab of ribs (half rack $12, full rack $21.99) and a whole chicken ($9.99), or confuse your taste buds about the time of day with chicken and waffles ($6.59). A shrimp po' boy sandwich and one side ($6.59) treats food tanks to a helping of sea-meat, and a create-your-own-combo meal, such as a two-piece entree and two sides ($7.99), lets diners choose from entrees such as rib tips, fried chicken wings, and fresh catfish, and forces them to marry two sides, such as cornbread, hushpuppies, or red beans and rice. After the main culinary event, wrap sweet teeth in a peach cobbler ($2.89) championship belt.
At the medieval-themed Radcliffe’s Royal Ribs, colorful hanging banners adorned with family crests and a suit of metal armor set the scene for a hearty menu of finger-licking barbecue fare mixed with Old English favorites. A queen-sized plate of grilled Cajun shrimp ($12) fills bellies flanked by one of seven sides, including smoky baked beans and grilled asparagus, and the king-sized brisket ($15) roasts overnight in a dragon’s orthodontic retainer. Diners clasp gauntlets around the barbecue-chicken sandwich on a sesame bun ($9) or lick their chops in anticipation of the brisket on a french roll ($9). A large outdoor seating area fills about 50 patrons with mirth as friends sip bottled and draft beers and joust with leftover rib bones.
Growing up, summer in Chicago meant one thing to Joe: barbecue. Members of his extended family spent the season gathered around the grill, slow-smoking meats as they vied for pitmaster status. Joe draws on their perfected recipes at Ribs To Spare, which specializes in combination platters of smoked meats such as pork ribs, beef ribs, chicken, and tri-tip steak. Sides such as potato salad and collard greens complement each saucy plate, and desserts such as sweet-potato pie and peach cobbler bring meals to a rich close.
In addition to takeout, Ribs To Spare caters celebrations with personalized feasts ranging from barbecue buffets to prix fixe dinners. With his mobile smoker trailer in tow, Joe has previously organized meals for Warner Bros., Disney, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.