Why LA Could Become The Next BBQ Hot Spot

Barbeque is an American food steeped in rich tradition. At its heart, it's the simple combination of time, heat, and meat, but within that simple trifecta is plenty of room for individualism and tradition. Several of America's barbeque traditions come from the southern region, with many states having their own unique style that is further broken down by the state's own regions and geography. For instance, North Carolina is known for having a light vinegar-based sauce in the east and a heavier, ketchup-based sauce in the western parts of the state, per Food Network.

This isn't to say that other states can't come and build their own barbeque traditions. California is quickly becoming known for its barbeque, especially in Los Angeles. They might not have the same long-standing traditions of other regions, but Los Angeles barbeque has been advancing quickly, partially because they lack the rigidity of tradition you might find in other states, allowing pitmasters to flex their creativity and backgrounds.

The diverse barbeque of Los Angeles

Part of what makes LA's barbeque scene so diverse is the diversity within the city itself, allowing pitmasters to draw on a wealth of cultural experiences and flavors to give the smoked meat scene a depth that states with stricter ideas of barbeque simply can't compare to (via Thrillist). One barbecue artist doing this is Winnie Yee, pitmaster of the Smoke Queen pop-up who told Spectrum News that she's "fusing Asian traditional flavors with American smoking techniques" to create her barbeque.

Burt Bakman, owner of Slab Barbeque in LA, also finds that there's room for growth in that region compared to other states because of the flexibility of the current barbeque scene. In an interview with Eater, Bakman notes that in places like Texas, where there are long-standing traditions for barbeque, "a lot of people are really doing things the same." In contrast, Bakman doesn't want to be held down by any one tradition, saying he's looking forward to "playing with more fire, playing with more meat." Los Angeles might not have the traditions surrounding their barbeque that other regions do, but that just enables them to push further and work towards becoming a barbeque hotspot in their own right.