Sometimes it starts like a ripple in the sea and builds into a tidal wave. Sometimes it hits suddenly, like a bolt of lighting from the summer sky: The Craving. For. Barbecue.

Once it hits the only way to stop it is with copious amounts of seared animal flesh slathered in sticky, sweet sauce. While Los Angeles is not known for its barbecue (apologies to our Korean barbecue friends), there may be a new sheriff in town in South Pasadena, who goes by the name of Gus’s Barbecue.

Technically, Gus’s isn’t new, having been established in 1946, but the new owners have taken Gus’s to the next level – keeping the wonderful kitchy neon sign outside, but updating the full bar in the back and reworking the menu with resounding success.

Two standouts are the Memphis-style Baby Back Ribs and the corn bread. The ribs are smoked over hickory and applewood, and the result is meaty and tender. Ladle on some of Gus’s spicy sauce, and you’re in hog heaven. The corn for the corn bread comes from Amish country Pennsylvania, and those fells may not know how to drive, but they make a mean corn bread. It is cooked in an individual sized cast iron skillet and is melt-in-your mouth delish.

Other highlights include the sliders, made on fresh bread using beef from Nebraska. Three sliders could be a meal for some, but not for my friend Lisa and I.

We couldn’t pass up the beef brisket sandwich, or the pulled pork sandwich. To be “healthy,” we got the sautéed Southern greens, which were peppery and crunchy.

Along with the food, it’s the people who make it a great place. Our beautiful waitress was friendly and attentive, and our man Callie was on point with water and relationship advice.

Great food, great atmosphere and great people – that’s a winning combination.

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