Whatever I say below the bottom line is IMO the Super Plate Combo is one of the best lunches for $14 that L.A. has to offer. I never did stop to eat breakfast today so by noon time I was very hungry. The relevance is that hunger is the best sauce for food. That said, as I walked up to the door of the Swinging Door the cook was carrying in some tri-tip from the smoker located just outside the door. The smoker is actually right next to the gas station building. Usually gas stations have signs saying, NO SMOKING. Well, there sure is some smoking going on oak smoking that is. The Super Plate, any three meats and any three sides sounded perfect. Within five minutes I had a bigole mess of food sitting in front of me. Three thick Baby Back ribs, a plie of that tri-tip and a good portion of pork links all cut up. All the meat was covered with a reddish sauce. I also had Mac-N-Cheese, Ranch Beans and cole slaw. The menu said Garlic Roll is free with Combos but I asked to not have any. I actually tried the Mac-N-Cheese first. Big shells covered with enough cheese moist and tasty. I ate all of it and it was good. The Ranch Beans are delicious and the slaw was as good also. As for the meats I tried the links first pork. The first thing I noticed was that the sauce had a clean and rich flavor of tomato. It almost reminded me of a salsa I had once. It really did not seem like Bar-B-Q sauce to me. Good Links are one of my favorite foods. I guess I do not like pork links. Next I tried that fresh out of the smoker tri-tip. It was not tender but in no way am I saying it was tough. It had a true smoky flavor with a perfect black crust. It was good on the plate but I do not think it would make a great sandwich because it did have a chew. The three baby back ribs also had that perfect black crust here-and-there. They were thick with lean meat on each side of the bone. The taste and tenderness made me pause for a moment. A voice spoke to me, The Swinging Door BBQ is about Baby Back Ribs. As they say in Texas, Good Bar-B-Q does not need sauce. These ribs not only do not need the sauce -- they should not have the sauce because it only takes away from the good flavor of these Texas style ribs. Although I was very hungry I was not impressed with the meats until I was almost finished and tasted that first rib. Hunger at the point played no role on my very positive impression of the ribs. Next time I will order a rack with those same sides. I want to add that the smoke level was moderate. I like doing heavy smoke sometimes and that is why I like Hungry Al's. Als sauce is great by itself because the main flavor is oak smoke. A slice of white bread dipped (KC style) into that sauce is a smoky taste experience. Add some of Als beef links or sliced beef and that is a perfect sandwich. The difference between Swinging Door and Als is the depth of the oak smoke flavor. Both are good.
Swinging Door BBQ (Babyback ribs, tri-tip, Brisket)
11018 Vanowen St.
North Hollywood, CA 91605
(SW corner of Vineland, across the street from the 7/11 market, Behind a gas station)
Hungry Al's Bar B Que (Hot Links, Sliced beef, ribs, chicken, sometimes Sock-it-to-me Cake)
116 N Vincent Ave.
West Covina, CA 91790-2205
Oak wood for all meats
North side of I-10 at Vincent