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Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

December 1, 2011

As soon as Thanksgiving was done last year, my husband and I decided we definitely weren’t going to do Thanksgiving again this year.  Last year, we did the whole she-bang; turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, wild rice stuffing, everything.  We had joked for months that this year we’d do what you’re supposed to do over Thanksgiving when you’re not cooking – get Chinese take out.  But when push came to shove, I had no interest in spending my holiday eating Chinese take-out.

Having spent some time searching out what restaurants were open and weren’t open for Thanksgiving, my husband and I both agreed upon Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que for our Thanksgiving dinner.  Unfortunately for us, by the time we made this decision, the restaurant had no available reservations; so, we’d have to call ahead and put our name down on the wait list and hope for the best.  Turns out, luck was on our side, our wait for a table at the restaurant was basically 1 minute.  Nice!

Lucille Buchanan started Lucille’s Smokehouse at a location in Long Beach during World War II using secret recipes learned from her Granny who ran a lunch shack outside of Greenville, South Carolina which locals called the best bar-b-que in the South!  Lucille’s children and grandchildren have continued the tradition of excellent bar-b-que and expanded the restaurant throughout California and into Nevada and Arizona.

Lucille’s is my husband’s favorite local bar-b-que joint.  And he had mentioned for many weeks that he wanted Lucille’s beef brisket, so when he found out that Lucille’s would be open for Thanksgiving, he enthusiastically agreed that Lucille’s would be our Thanksgiving dinner destination.

Every meal at Lucille’s starts off with a basket of warm homemade biscuits served with a side of apple butter brought right out to your table.  The biscuits are buttery, flaky and dense like homemade biscuits should be.  The apple butter is a unique and perfect compliment to the biscuits with just a subtle hint of sweet apple flavor and flecks of warm cinnamon.  It really makes you feel like you’re eating something your grandmother would have made.

I love the hominess of the mason jars that every beverage you order at Lucille’s comes in; whether its fresh strawberry lemonade, cool sidewalk lemonade, an assortment of soft drinks, iced tea or just plain old water, your drink is served in a 1 quart mason jar probably just like they used to serve drinks at Lucille’s Granny’s lunch shack out in the back country.

Since my husband and I love the beef brisket here at Lucille’s we both ordered the Texas Style Beef Brisket plate.  I had a starter of a side Caesar salad with my dinner.  This is the first time I’d had a Caesar salad at Lucille’s and I don’t think it will be the last time.  Their Caesar salad was amazingly good.  The Caesar dressing was incredibly tangy and flavorful.  I’m sure it was made with anchovies, as is traditional, which gives it some of the tang.  And the salad was filled with super crisp romaine lettuce as well a lot of croutons which I also love.

Finally, our beef brisket plates came to our table.  Lucille’s slow smokes their bbq in a smoker right in the main dining room for 19-28 hours.  The brisket is a perfect piece of meat to slow smoke because it’s so full of fat, which makes the beef nice and tender after being slow smoked as well as adds tons of flavor to the beef.  My husband’s favorite part of beef brisket is the burnt ends that are caused by the slow smoking.  He was lucky enough to get some burnt ends on his platter too.  The bbq platters come with your choice of 2 side dishes; I chose the roasted garlic mashed potatoes and mac & cheese, my husband chose the mac & cheese and potato salad.  Other side options include shoestring fries, baked potato, sweet potato fries, creamy cheese grits, southern braised greens, creamy coleslaw, honey roasted peanut slaw, fresh vegetables, bbq beans, fresh corn on the cob or sweet mashed potatoes.  And each and every bbq platter also is served with a slice of watermelon which can be used as a palate cleanser or to finish off your meal.

We finished off our Thanksgiving meal by splitting a slice of Lucille’s Snickers ice cream pie!  It’s so good we knew we wouldn’t be able to say no to a serving of it.  The Snickers ice cream pie consists of chopped up Snickers ice cream bar mixed into vanilla bean ice cream.  The Snickers ice cream concoction is then piled high atop a bed of crushed chocolate cookies made into a crust.  The heaping scoop of ice cream pie is served with chocolate and caramel sauces.  The dessert was amazing!  It has the subtle sweetness of the caramel and chocolate from the snickers candy bar mixed through the ice cream, along with the crunch of the peanuts from the Snickers bar as well.  The chocolate cookie crust is a perfect combination to this dish, and a little dollop of whipped cream, a sprig of mint and the chocolate and caramel sauces are the perfect ending to a great Thanksgiving meal, southern bar-b-que style.

I think that my husband and I have decided that every year from now on, it’ll be our Thanksgiving tradition to have our Thanksgiving meal at Lucille’s.  You can bet the one place you won’t find us on this day is in our kitchen cooking!


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