BBQ is a food rooted in social assemblage. Eating tri-tip, ribs, and hot links while surrounded by friends and family, listening to music, and drinking too many adult beverages is simply part of the experience. But it’s also one that’s tricky to pull off in a pandemic - particularly in a restaurant setting. But Gold Land BBQ, a Sunday-only pop-up in a Culver City parking lot, has proven that it can still be done both safely and comfortably, with some incredible food to boot.
Located behind Menotti’s Coffee Stop in Culver City West, your experience at Gold Land BBQ starts the second you pull in. With a massive outdoor BBQ pit, blankets and chairs strewn around for people to hang out, and a separate truck selling frozen margaritas, you realize quickly this isn’t just a pop-up, it’s a full-on neighborhood BBQ party.
Gold Land is run by a group of friends, and from the moment you walk up to order (you can also pre-order through their website), you’re their friend as well. It’s rare, even in the pop-up world, to feel like you’ve accidentally stumbled into somebody’s party, but at Gold Land, that’s sort of the case. We only say “sort of” because you actually feel like you were invited all along.
As far as the food goes, this is Santa Maria-style BBQ, meaning everything from the tri tip to the linguica hot links are grilled over coastal red oak, which imparts a unique smoky-sweet flavor that’ll stay on your lips - and mind - for hours. To be frank, this is exceptional barbecue, the kind worth driving across the city on a Sunday to eat. The fact there’s a neighborhood party going on when you get there simply completes the experience.
We’ve just named Gold Land one of LA’s Best Pop-Ups. Check out the full list here.
Whether this is your first time to Gold Land or your 50th, every meal here starts with this giant sampler platter. For $39, you get a half-pound of prime beef tri-tip, sliced linguica (Portuguese pork sausage), one chicken leg and thigh, elote, potato salad, vinegar slaw, pickles, and white bread. Yes, it’s a fantastic value, but it’s also the perfect way to understand the true finesse that goes into every piece of meat on the menu.
We don’t know who Uncle Bill is, but based on these ribs, he seems like a guy we’d want to hang out with. These aren’t included in The Rambler, so be sure to order them separately. The pork ribs themselves are meaty and well-cooked, but what takes them to the next level is the Santa Maria-style dry rub. Salty and sweet, with just a tiny kick at the end, it’ll make you wonder why this style of BBQ still isn’t that prevalent in LA.
If you aren’t super hungry, this sandwich is a great way to get Gold Land’s excellent tri-tip without everything else. If you are super hungry, be sure to order this in addition to The Rambler. Tri-tip, onions, cilantro, and house BBQ sauce all served on a pillowy potato roll, it’s a straightforward sandwich that let’s the quality of the meat do the talking.
This was just a special on the day we went, but it was a highlight of the whole meal. Sweet linguica sausage topped with pico de gallo on a butter roll with Carolina gold mustard on top. It’s the best hot dog we’ve ever eaten in LA, and that’s coming from the mouth of a Chicago native. If it’s on the menu when you’re there, get it.