Holy Cow — great barbecue, no bull

The BBQ plate with barbecue pork and pulled chicken is outstanding. (Photo by Brett Callwood)

There’s nothing quite like good barbecue, and nothing as disappointing as bad barbecue. Anyone can throw meat onto a grill, but the timing, the preparation, the seasoning – all are vital if we’re going to get moist, tasty meat.

Fortunately, the grill masters at Holy Cow BBQ on Sepulveda have got it sussed. Tucked into a little strip mall, it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. But barbecue fans in this city will surely know of the place by now. Holy Cow is a local micro-chain, with two other locations (Santa Monica and Redondo Beach), and they’ve developed a reputation for having some of the best BBQ in the region.

While the exterior is unassuming, the interior is a joy to walk into. The staff are immediately welcoming, and a giant map of the USA on the wall points out what dish different states are known for (California is tri-tip, Texas is beef brisket, Tennessee is baby back ribs, etc).

There’s also a wall of hot sauces under a US flag. It all feels very appropriate for the surroundings. Frankly, we couldn’t wait to try the food.

We opted for a BBQ plate with two meats and a side. We chose barbecue pork and pulled chicken, and were not disappointed. The chicken, marinated to perfection in a smokey, mildly spicy sauce, was magnificent. It’s so easy to dry chicken out, but Holy Cow know what they’re doing. The meat just falls apart, though it’s neither soggy nor greasy. 

The pork is even better though. Less in the way of seasoning this time – the meat is allowed to stand up for itself, which it does admirably. Again, it’s cooked to perfection – the natural pork fats running through each bite. We would have happily eaten nothing but a plate of that pork.

We wanted some veggies though, and we chose to have collared greens as our side. Holy Cow made them delicious too, though cooking them with bacon doesn’t hurt. Collored greens can be tough and bitter if not cooked well, but there are no such concerns here. The dish, ike the meat, is wonderful.

The plate also came with a herbed bread roll, which arrived soft and warm. It would appear that Holy Cow BBQ knows exactly what they’re doing.

Holy Cow BBQ is located at 4130 Sepulveda Blvd. B, Culver City 90230. Call 424-298-8220 or visit holycowbbq.com.