When Only ‘Que Will Do

Slab BBQ serves up Texas-style BBQ
Published on Mar 3, 2024


Sometimes the only thing you’re in the mood for is barbecue. Maybe some thick-cut beef brisket, hot links that snap when you bite into them,  juicy melt-off-the-bone pork ribs, or perhaps a pulled pork sandwich? 

That was our mood when we cruised into Slab, a newish barbecue spot on Arroyo Parkway, which opened its doors in October. (No, it’s not Howlin’ Rays. They are next to each other and they share a parking lot, but they are two separate and distinct eateries.)

Slab’s mission is distinctly barbecue. 

The oft-told tale is of founder Burt Bakman’s non-ending quest for great barbecue. A real estate agent,  he found himself many years ago on a trip to Texas, suddenly immersed in a deep, intense, sizzling, smoky love affair with Texas barbecue.

He set about creating his own barbecue in his San Fernando Valley backyard, where he cooked brisket and hot links, ribs, and the usual barbecue delights, to a select group of friends and associates, as well as a growing Instagram audience. (if you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen him.) 

It took him some years to perfect what he considered great barbecue. 

Along the way, he met and joined forces with customer and The h.wood Group owner/entrepreneur Brian Toll. They fit together like pork and beans, and soon they opened Slab, on LA’s Third Street, in 2018.

That all brought us here to Arroyo Parkway on a chilly winter afternoon, just made for a hot barbeque lunch.

We asked, “Whatcha got?,” and they brung it on.

See that photo there? That was part of it. They brought us a thick slice of the perfectly marbled beef brisket, along with a spicy hot link with a casing that snapped right on cue on the first bite. We also enjoyed succulent baby back ribs, which naturally fell right off the bone. 

Yes, of course there was juicy BBQ chicken involved, as well as a pulled pork sandwich called the “Oooh.” Forgive me, the overall everything of it all might have fogged my brain. The “Oooh,” might have been brisket, or a combination of the two. Whatever it was, it disappeared like a BBQ magic trick.

And no BBQ exists without the sides. We had the spicy chili, which is a seasonal offering; some mac ‘n cheese, heavy on the cheese, and some sweet baked beans.

There was nothing to wrap up and take home.

All of it was heavenly barbeque nirvana, which compared easily to any other ‘que we’ve tried in the San Gabriel Valley, and there are a surprising lot of barbecue spots in these parts. 

The barbeque mood will hit us again soon, and we’ll know where to go.

Slab is at 812 South Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, CA. (323) 545-6783. Slabbarbeque.com.

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