LA BBQ Festival running in Santa Monica


tentcityWhat a great day the LA BBQ Festival turned out to be.  Best part, you still have today to partake in the food, live music and fun of the festival.  The lines when we arrived shortly after noon were nearly 100 deep at the will call window and the crowd was really amped with excitement to get in and start the party.  

Live music plays all day during the festival and you get a nice range of music to enjoy.  One of our favorites bands turned out to be “Petty Cash” a tribute band focused on the songs of Tom Petty and Johnny Cash.  Strange combo at first thought but they actually turned out to be pretty darn good.  The Petty stuff was done well, the Johnny Cash stuff stayed with his mainstays and fortunately didn’t stray into his really twangy country stuff.  Could have spent more time with just them but there were 4 other bands to rotate through.

Robin's Bleu Cheese Slaw

The Food far exceeded my expectations.  We strolled the park and examined all of the BBQ offerings, sampling along the way as permitted.  The offerings were split equally between Pitmasters from around the country and the LA area.  

My kids made the bee-line for Robin’s Wood Fired BBQ from Pasadena which already is their tried and true favorite.  The surprise treat that was passed on to me for consumption was that Robin’s side dish was his terrifically awesome walnut and blue cheese coleslaw.

I grew up with St Louis style BBQ and HAD to try LA’s own Mr Cecil’s for his version of the classic.  They were beautifully done.  No sauce, simple rub and slow smoked until there was a smokey crust enshrouding the melt in your mouth meat on the inside.  The interesting thing I learned in talking with Brad of Mr Cecil’s is that their Pitmaster is from New York and picked up the St Louis style on his migration here. I may have to foray into the valley to their Sherman Oaks location a few times a year to maintain my St Louis style cravings.

St Louis style baby back ribs.

My wife spent some time in Houston and became acquainted with the Texas style of real pit-in-the-ground BBQ sausages and brisket.  She opted for Southside Market from Elgin TX for her ‘Q fix.  What she got was a huge smoked and sauced sausage and an ample Brisket sandwich.  Lucky me she’s a light eater and I got to finish the sandwich.  Perfectly smoked brisket with a nice dark crusty edge working its way into the smoke pink center that melted in my mouth as I demolished it.

If you missed your chance to make the festival you can get your own rib fix as the two mentioned fave’s of the day anytime by visiting their local restaurants.


  • Robin’s Wood Fired BBQ & Grill, 395 N Rosemead Pasadena CA 91107
  • Mr Cecil’s California Ribs 13625 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423


Today is the last day of the LA BBQ Festival and a great way to spend an afternoon at the beach.  IT is located in a corner of the parking lot immediately north of Santa Monica Pier (Lot 1N).  General admission is $10, VIP Admission with the front of line and other perks is $50.  It opens at noon for pre-paid and will call admissions, 1PM for all others and will run until 6PM.   I can’t think of a better way to spend a day at the beach, Great BBQ, beer tents and live music to get the party going.

Serious stack action on that huge smoker.

Bib's and Sauce for sale at Mr Cecil's.
VIP passes has its perks like pics with the snazzy show girls.

All photos by me.   A little disclosure my admission was in the form of a press pass, I did pay for the fam to attend and for all of our meals.  It doesn’t change that we had a great time, just wanted you to know the deets on how I got in.

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