Saturday, October 22, 2005

I Should Probably Watch My Back: Ribs USA, Burbank

*looking over shoulders* OK, look. I'm going to say something that is probably going to earn me a lot of hate mail as soon as I hit "Publish." Ready?

I went to Ribs USA the other day. And really liked it.

OK there, you happy? Now bring it on. I can take it.

More than any other type of food out there, BBQ seems to be what people get the most defensive and competitive about. The
Chowhound Los Angeles board will show you: put a post about the "Best BBQ in LA" anyday and there'll be a slew of debate over who has it. Perhaps it's because there is clearly not a multitude of good BBQ places in L.A. Whatever the case, it's like BBQ is somehow connected so someone's manhood or origins, like "If you're gonna fuck with my BBQ, you's better come fuck with me first." Or worse yet, bring up a good BBQ place that everyone else thinks is crap and people will come after you with torches and dogs to hunt you down.

Well, unfortunately for me, Ribs USA is one of those places. It was named by
9 on the Town as one of the Top 9 Rib Places, and though I don't think anyone slammed Ribs USA directly, there were certainly a slew of negative responses to the original post that contained this list. "That list is crap," one guy said. "What a joke," said another. OK, I agree with some of the Hounds...Dr. Hogly Wogly's is crap, and The Pig on La Brea is even crappier, and I haven't been to this so called chain of crap Lucille's Smokehouse, but damn it, I like Ribs USA! I may as well be condemned to chain-restaurant-lover status huh?

Ribs USA is about mismatched wooden tables and chairs, neon beer signs in the windows, plastic beer penants lining the ceilings, TV's with the latest games on, and sawdust and peanut shells on the floor. Not an ounce of pretention in this shack of a restaurant located on Burbank's Olive Avenue. It makes you want to sit down, watch a game, and have a few beers. And not fancy imported beers, mind you; I'm talkin' the domestic stuff--Coors, Miller, or Bud. Grab a complimentary basket o' peanuts, crack those suckers open, toss your shells on the floor, and you're set.

You can toss these shells to the curb (literally!)

So maybe Ribs USA doesn't excel at all of their 'cue. Their beef ribs are a tad on the tougher side (but I feel that way about most beef ribs anyways). Their BBQ chicken seems just like roast chicken with BBQ sauce on it. But their baby backs? Basted in a honey-sweet, smoky and slightly spicy sauce, the meat on these comes right off the bone with a slight pull and yet stays on just enough so that you have something to suck and gnaw on to get every last bit of sauce off. Finger lickin' good, I say.

Mmm, meat...

For lunch recently, my analyst and I split a T-Bird Tyrone's combo, including a half slab of baby backs (or beef ribs if you so choose, but guess which one we chose), 2 hot links and 2 sides. The two hot link sausages were cut in half and butterflied and were hiding underneath our half slab of ribs. No worries--this way, they got all that yummy sauce that dripped off the ribs, and as if they didn't already have a nice spicy kick to themselves, the BBQ sauce off the ribs gave them even more kick.

*slamming knife into slab* I like this food, dammit!

Bitter and salted just right, our side of collard greens were also spicy the way I like 'em, making them far from boring. (Ain't nothing worse than boring collard greens) My analyst and I, however, disagreed on their potato salad. I don't think she likes potato salad in the first place, but let me order them anyways 'cause I'm the boss. They were more on the soft side, but they still had a nice chunky consistency, and if I had to guess what seasoned them I'd say it was 1000 island dressing and pickles, but I could be wrong. All I know is that they were a little creamy, a little tangy, a little sweet and just plain tasty! I can't say the same, however, about Ribs USA's Mac N' Cheese, which our table somehow got extra dishes of. Totally bland, no sharpness was as if they made this dish with cottage cheese.

You can skip these

Ribs USA also serves pulled pork (which my friend thought was "OK"), tri-tip (which two other people in our party said were really good), hot wings, various sandwiches, burgers, fried catfish, charbroiled shrimp, and salads (but we don't need to know about those, right?).

I'm about to click on "Publish Post," and I've got a jumbo Mag-Lite in hand, just in case.

Ribs USA
2711 W. Olive Ave.
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 841-8872


Anonymous said...

Well look at it this way - if you did Tony Roma's...hehehe! Doesn't really matter so long you like it and give the reason why you like it. So many people think that they make the best ribs in the world, so of course they hate everybody else - then you have all the regional stuff going confusing, too many people, too many opinions - can't we all just get along!

elmomonster said...

You know what? I knew that that Chowhound post was going to get ugly, so I didn't even click on it. Arguing over BBQ seems to be as futile to me as arguing over which baby is more adorable.

That said, I loved your post. And I'm here to say that I like Lucille's a whole lot. And by the way, I know of an infant to put up against your infant!


BoLA said...

I agree wholeheartedly! There are a few chains that I frequent and love...including getting the chili cheese fries and burgers at Johnny Rockets like I did yesterday. Anyway, if those ribs are good enough to lick the sauce up from your fingers...that's good enough for me!'s only 9 o'clock and I'm already craving ribs!!! :)

Anonymous said...

ribs usa is a good place for some BBQ, chowhound approved or not. way to report on what makes you happy Pam.

Daily Gluttony said...


I agree--can't we all just get along???


SO you wanna fight???? Bring it on! ha ha

Funny that you knew that Chowhound post was going to get ugly--it's like whenever it's about BBQ, you have to scroll thru several page lengths just to read all the debate.


I have to admit that I like the chili cheese fries from Johnny Rocket's too!


Yay, so I'm not the only one doing Chowhound sacrilege and liking Ribs USA!

LACheesemonger said...

Umm, my usual 'irreverent' comments ;-).

a). 'analyst'? as in 'psycho'? Uh oh, and I thought Pam was safer than Dangerous Sarah. But now I'm wondering??? Don't get Pam angry, that knife to the ribs looks scary!...and what about her Fatal Attraction tendencies ;).

b.) heh, I haven't read CHLA for months, man am I bored. But I do 'suck' , lol.(hmm, aren't those raspberries a little too 'Caucasian' :phar: , I prefer to suck on umm, chocolate, lol... NSFW? Licking chocolate is good too ;). Edible chocolate haute couture dresses, now were talking my language!

c.) Ah, why bother to argue on CHLA; they just delete my posts hours later while they let others get away with murder.

d.) So I take it Pam's 'Puritan Score', especially with respect to the eating comments of the women on this thread are all in the "C" category, hehe.
Are you a New Puritan?

Gelson's in Century City has BBQ pork ribs with meat that almost falls of in succulent juiciness. But when it comes to marinading, the multitude of BBQ sauces it comes down purely to preference... there are favorites, but no real "best". The good, the bad, and the ugly. Hmm, did they name this sauce for DG & DL? Hell hath no fury.... Beware the scorned woman!

But the real deal hot sauces are on this page (although I think you can legally get 3M scoville unit personal defense spray, as 1.5M is typical standard concentration commercial concentrate used in volume production salsa manufacturing). Spray some of this on you ribs, lol!

Mad Dog 357

" Pour it on a buffalo wing and go for it! If your butt doesn't bleed the next morning, you didn't use enough. I wonder if that was the side effect they had in mind? Its hot but has the same horrible taste as the other death sauces from Blair."

Doran said...

I've lived in Burbank waaaay longer than Ribs USA has been there, but I'd never eaten their food until last month. I'd always end up going across the street to Poquito Mas.

So finally I had a hankerin for slaw and Q a couple weeks back, and figured the time had come. I went and got an order of Tri-Tip, Cole Slaw, and Collard Greens.

I thought the Tri-Tip was good, but a bit dry. The slaw was okay, but not great. The collard greens were terrific, and a helluva lot easier to obtain than cooking them myself, as I usually do.

So, all it all it was real good, but I'll need to go back about 10 or 20 times before I really know for sure. Next time I'm going for the baby backs.

Daily Gluttony said...

LA Cheese,

Is she psycho because she doesn't like potato salad or is she psycho because she has to work for me?


Yeah, I've had their slaw before and thought it was *eh*, but next time try the baby backs (w/ the greens!) and let me know what you think!

BBQ Junkie said...

Next time I go to Ikea in Burbank, I might have to make an extra stop. Those ribs look so delicious.

Anonymous said...

Come on Pam,
There is BBQ and there is LBQ in the LBC. Now that's the real stuff. If it's good enough for the Snoop Dogg, it's good enough for us. Right across the street from Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Go Poly Jackrabbits!

Daily Gluttony said...

big lu,

now i know you need some more billy bookcases...LOL! let me know what you think if you ever make it over there.


alright, beeyotches, i think i know where the next dinner is gonna be!

Anonymous said...

The LBQ is not actually a dining establishment although if it was I guess our bullet proof vests would make good bibs.... did I forget to mention that it's in the hood?
LBQ only does take out or delivery although M's Dad swears that they delivered our ribs in an Escalade the last time we ordered... Ghetto fabulous! We promise to order some for the next potluck...