I hadn’t been to the Rib Ranch in Woodlands Hills, CA in a little while as I have moved a little north up the coast, but since I crave BBQ for pretty much every meal of the day and work in Woodland Hills, it dawned on me that I should take a lunch time visit. I’ve been going there since I was a kid (at the time Lenny and Bernie Kahn, identical twins, owned the place) and now it’s owned by Mike Ignezli, a former dishwasher for the place back in 1971. His wife (who he met there when she was waitressing) and their three daughters pitch in to make this a well run joint.
Here’s a shot of the outside. It’s hard to make out, but there are drawings of Lenny and Bernie on their sign.
Spoke to Mike for a while about their BBQ technique. They use a more of direct cooking method (as opposed to indirect) that became a staple of the Kahn brothers when they started in the 70′s. He uses a Cookshack Smoker, utilizing primarily hickory wood. After smoking they finish off in a commercial oven or their large indoor grills, depending on what meat they are cooking.
I know it’s called the Rib Ranch, so you pretty much have to order ribs, but I was craving their Steak Sandwich. It’s not typical BBQ fair, but they cook it up the same way they do tri tip or their pork and I knew I’d be having their incredible baked beans as well as their fries which I’d of course be dipping in their BBQ sauce.
Let me jump quickly into their sauce. I wish i had just a pic of their sauce, but believe me, their sauce is great, legendary in these parts. Heck, my folks would buy it in quarts to save and use it on any BBQ they made at home and if someone were to bring BBQ from another joint to the house, it would also be slathered on to make it taste more like the Rib Ranch. It’s a ‘sweeter’ sauce, but has a backbone of spice. If it was overly sweet I know I wouldn’t like it.
Here’s a pic of the other steak sandwich with the cole slaw in the far left of the plate.
Mike let me come into their kitchen to take some shots of their crowning jewel, the ribs. Even though I was stuffed from the steak sandwich and sides I was regretting not ordering a baby back of beef rib rack. Pretty sure I’ll be stopping in on my way home tomorrow to get some though. These are pics of the baby backs.
I think what makes this place great is that it’s comfortable. They have a great outdoor seating area:
Or if it happens to be cooler on one of these few cool nights in Woodland Hills there’s plenty of room in the back dining room:
The ‘ranch’ theme permeates the entire interior, but the kitchy-ness actually brings me back to the western and ranch trends that were prevalent when I was growing up. It works.
On the weekends they bring out the larger smoker and park it out front:
Overall, I would recommend Rib Ranch to anyone that enjoys BBQ. It’s not low and slow Texas or Kansas City BBQ, but they don’t claim to be that. They serve BBQ their way. The great thing too is that Mike is definitely passionate about his joint. Heck, he’s worked here for over 39 years, so he’s at the minimum very dedicated. They’ve been in business for forty years which is pretty much unheard of in the restaurant business. Also, he was more than happy to explain their history, recommend specific things they do best, and have me take photos of anything and everything. Great guy, great joint.
If you’re in Woodland Hills and want to stop by, here they are: