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Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill: SoCal's Chain Gets Barbecue Right

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Boy, is the old

adage true that the secret is in the sauce, especially at Wood Ranch

BBQ and Grill! The Southern California chain has fourteen locations and we wish

just one of them was here in Miami, even with their stiff, wooden

lodge feel. Things didn't start off on the best foot as our server

didn't reach the table to greet us for quite some time. It was agony

seeing the smiling patrons wiping barbecue sauce off their faces and

fingers while our stomachs growled. But Wood Ranch made up for the

lapses in service with the best barbecue-- served in generous

portions-- we've tried in a long while.

The meal began with a basket of warm rolls coated in garlic, parsley, and butter.

They are everything you look for in rolls: chewy, crusty, and soft.

Then, we split two items. The BBQ chopped salad ($12.95 with chicken,

$13.95 with tri tip) includes fresh lettuce, white corn, black beans,

tortilla strips, Monterey jack, scallions, tomatoes, cilantro, and

ranch dressing. The chicken is smothered in a barbecue sauce that has

a hint of sweet, but is mostly savory. It adds a rich, smokey flavor.

Afraid that the salad would be overdressed with either the barbecue

sauce or ranch dressing, much to our delight no ingredient

overpowered the other in a perfectly copacetic relationship that

brings out each of the flavors in the salad and is an automatic

recipe for success.

The western tri

tip sandwich ($12.95) comes with Monterrey jack, sauteed onions and

peppers, and real au jus. Jardiniere is served upon request.

Smothered in barbecue sauce, the meat has the aforementioned taste

through and through and makes the sandwich as messy, yet delicious,

as barbecue should be. And the signature side chosen to complement

the sandwich was the mac and cheese, which is a solid effort,

although the macaroni was a bit overcooked. Not too cheesy, but

cheesy enough.

Perhaps

the reason why Wood Ranch serves up such incredible barbecue is

because all of their barbecue items are prepared using

two-step cooking process. First, they slow-roast overnight the ribs,

tri tip roasts, chickens and prime rib. Then, they grill and sauce

them to order over a live mesquite wood fire. The results are mouth

watering.

Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill
189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles

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