|Horse Thief has a large patio all to itself outside Grand Central Market|
If you haven't yet seen the gradual revitalization of Downtown's Grand Central Market with new food and drink options like G & B Coffee, Sticky Rice Thai Food, Valerie and the Bulgarini Gelato cart, then the opening of Horse Thief BBQ is a perfect excuse to go.
Horse Thief has taken over the entire large patio on Hill Street directly across from Angel's Flight, and when the beer and wine license comes through around October, it's going to be a sweet beer garden for watching the buzzy Downtown scene pass by. But until then, Horse Thief is already a worthy BBQ stop, one of just a few restaurants in L.A. turning out carefully-smoked meats in the Texas style.
Texas style implies a focus on brisket, although the other meats -- pulled pork, pork ribs and juicy, spice-rubbed Mary's chicken -- are nearly as good.
|Pulled pork at left, ribs, brisket and chicken in the middle. Add sauce to taste.|
Owners Wade McElroy and Russell Malixi haven't run a BBQ joint before, but Malixi says he's a "brisket obsessive" and the attention to perfecting the meat shows. I've usually been more partial to saucy, spicy Kansas city BBQ hot links or pork ribs, but I'm an instant brisket convert now.
The meat's connective fat has somehow been slow-cooked just to the point before it liquifies, making the slices of beef extremely tender, while the outer edges are lovingly caramelized to a crispy black nirvana. I'm not a Texas BBQ expert, but I'm guessing this is exactly the combination the pitmasters are trying to achieve. The sauce comes in just one variety -- lightly-spiced and tomatoey, it moistens up the meat nicely -- but it's not the star of the movie like it is in Kansas City places.
|After BBQ, take a ride on Angel's Fllight|
Horse Thief BBQ
Grand Central Market
324 S. Hill St.
(I was invited to a press tasting for this restaurant, but I'm totally serious about the brisket.)