That is how you do barbecue, folks. We're not entirely opposed to barbecue sauce, but we are something of a smoked meat minimalist. Deep down in our salty, withered core, we believe when barbecue arrives glopped over with sauce, it's probably to mask a half-hearted rub or the fact that the meat has not been thoroughly penetrated with tendrils of smoke. Weak sauce — literally and metaphorically.

Like the good people at Van Nuys' North Hollywood's Smoke City Market, where the beef ribs are “thick as Bibles and black as sin,” and the walls are pasted with kitschy, faux-cowboy signs, we think good meat stands on its own. [Just for kicks, a Smoke City photo gallery after the jump.]

It's simple but profound advice:

We Suggest Eating the Meats without Sauce and with your Fingers. But if you want there are Fixings on the Table in your Buckets. Napkins are on the Center Posts.

Good barbecue needs no adornment. But it's there if you want it.

Elina Shatkin is a staff writer at LA Weekly. Follow her at @elinashatkin or contact her at

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