National food holidays, as a charming rule, can land rather nilly-willy-ly on random dates, dates that bear little relation to whether the foodstuff in question is popular at the moment.
There are exceptions, like Eat a Cranberry Day landing right around Thanksgiving and Egg Nog Day falling on the 24th of December. Those feel right on the timely money, as does the May 16th holiday observed by savory sandwich lovers: National Barbecue Day.
It's an observance that couldn't be better placed, falling, as it does, about two weeks before Memorial Day. This is the exact time when grillers are starting to plot their coal-smoked menus, and looking for some inspiration in local restaurants.
Need a flavorful jolt in the whole rub/sauce department? Then consider trying one of these protein-packed, spice-laden SoCal favorites in honor of the meat-centered holiday...
The K-Town Philly Cheesesteak: Galbi Grill recently debuted in West Covina, and this tummy-filling concoction pairs Beef Bulgogi, a centerpiece of Korean BBQ, with the tried-and-true elements of a straight-from Philadelphia cheesesteak. Sauteed mushrooms and crazy cheese sauce have cameos, as does what holds it all together: A classic hoagie roll.
Maple Block Meat Co.: If your two go-to elements in a perfect plate of barbecue are A) quality wood and B) quality beef or pork, this Culver City joint can help you out on both accounts. The brisket has made rave-making waves around the region, as has the Old-School Chopped Pork Shoulder. Brisket Chili is one choice side, as is the tangy Vinegar Slaw.
Max City BBQ: Finding a really solid St. Louis-style rib plate is the gourmand-y goal of many a living-in-LA Missourian, as well as the goal of those barbecue buffs who favor this world-famous sauce-forward style. You can find it at this Eagle Rock Boulevard joint, as well as cooldown sides like cucumber salad.
The Short Rib Taco: While the Kogi BBQ truck offers many toothsome temptations -- the Sriracha Bar, with its Sriracha ganache, lights up about four different taste buds just by thinking of it -- the Short Rib Taco is a newer LA instant classic. (Yes, "new" and "instant classic" can live well together on competitive food scene.) "Double caramelized" are two key words here, when it comes to how this beauty is prepped. Mmm.
Horse Thief BBQ: Does the bread make/break a barbecue dinner for you? Should it be chewy, a bit soft, a touch fancy, but not full of airs? Consider brioche as the complement to your pulled pork, and consider having it at this Grand Central Market alfresco eatery. Bonus: You can admire the beautiful Angels Flight gate as you brioche-up your pulled pork or brisket.