Dear Mr. Gold:

So okay, not to be like everybody else who does this, but… It's my wife's birthday, and we gotta get a big bunch of barbecue – Southern American, not Southern Korean – for a group of 10ish. There are a lot of barbecue restaurants out there. Phillips'? Uncle Andre's? The fiesta is in Laurel Canyon. Perplexed.

–Matt, Los Feliz

Dear Matt:

Do I ever get tired of barbecue questions? No. Do I ever get tired of barbecue? No. Do I ever feel like giving alternative advice, suggesting you pick up Thai barbecued chickens at Sapp Coffee Shop, an armful of barbecued goat ribs at Phong Dinh or a sackful of barbecued quail at Marouch? Sure, all the time.

If you want to have a real party, you could ditch your friends, take your wife to Boneyard Bistro, and hoist a bottle of Turley Zinfandel – or at least you could in a month or two, when the restaurant emerges from renovations.

But if your notion of great barbecue runs toward the traditional one, and I rather suspect it does, you are undoubtedly looking at one of the big four: Woody's on Slauson, the superb spareribs at Phillip's in Leimert Park, the mind-blowing Texas-style beef at Bludso's in Compton, and of course Bigmista's Barbecue, whose smoked brisket, tri-tip and ribs are like edible sunshine on a gloomy June day.

During the week, Bigmista sets up his grills at the farmers markets in Torrance and El Segundo, but as a Los Feliz denizen, you'll probably want to drop by his Sunday-morning residency at the Atwater farmers market. Email a couple of days in advance if you plan to pick up more than order or two – the pig candy and the brisket sell out in a flash.

LA Weekly