What is the most unusual place you ever have to go for dinner? For me, it was driving up to a train station for a casual upscale dinner. Coming to a church's parking lot to pick up some BBQ ribs would probably topped that by a mile.
Here's the most unusual part of this story about coming here for BBQ grubs: a church pastor started this venture as a way to raise money in trying to finish building his church around the corner of El Segundo Blvd and Avalon Blvd. There are many different stories out there with many different recollections on how this BBQ was started in the parking lot of Prayer Assembly Church of God.
The most popular retelling of the story was that the church Pastor Clevester Williams was looking for additional funding in finishing building his church. In his humble story, a divine intervention from God one day gave him the solution that he should build a BBQ joint to raise money for the church. All the proceeds that is made from the BBQ operation would go towards the church. It struck a chord with Pastor Williams and indeed he did built a BBQ joint which he have never looked back since.
The tradition still continues on Friday and Saturday from 9am to 9pm (flexible schedule) where a catering truck is on the parking lot next to the side of the church. A huge station with a metal tent is where the meat will be cooked by four big BBQ grills take place. You can see all the commotions going on as smoke will be brimming with that awesome aroma.
Right before you step up to the catering truck to order your food, a menu board is posted on the entrance step with all the items listed for sale. The most popular item that the locals seemed to order was their BBQ ribs dinner combo, which consists six slabs of delicious barbecue ribs with side order of potato salads and beans for $13.25.
The ribs has this awesome aroma that has been smoked enough with the meat been so tender it melt right off the bone when you take the first bite. To be barbecue properly, it has been slow cooked with the smoke, but does not have any hint of charcoal smell left on the meat. Even before getting the sauce on these ribs, it already have excellent flavors, but the sauce add some sweetness to that flavor. Needless to say, I can understand why the ribs was a popular choice among the regulars to this establishment.
The most offbeat item on the menu was the turkey neck. It was long been told that Pastor Williams was from the south and he felt this item would great enhanced the menu and bring authenticity to southern BBQ fare offered here. Let it be known that even though the Pastor doesn't do any cooking here, he does enjoy his BBQ.
The turkey neck is just what it is. Turkey.
I ordered the turkey neck combo where I can add an extra different meat to that platter, which I decided to go with sausage link. I'm pretty sure a lot of us have ate chicken or duck necks before and would think of bone morrow for that turkey neck. It's cut up into smaller cubicle with ample amount of turkey meat on that neck bone. It's enjoyable, but it does some work to sipped out the meat and spit out the bone. Nonetheless I still enjoy both of the the popular items on the menu.
There are also other menu items listed such as chicken and other smaller side items such as greens and pies. I probably come back for those next time. As pointed out earlier, the proceeds from this BBQ venture goes to the church and will only operate on Friday and Saturday during the day time and early evenings.
This is strictly a take out place with no tables to sit for dine in. You will also need to take in to account that people will line up during the lunch and dinner rushed hours where rumored long lines of wait time of more than 30 minutes have existed. I came in during the nap time period and sneaked in and out within 10 minutes.
Go ahead come in for some spirituality because your BBQ prayers has been answered in all of the most unlikeliest places to get some delicious ribs: In God's backyard.
Please note: They do have a Health Code regulation posted and the operation hours are Friday and Saturday from 9am to 9pm. If you do want to take it somewhere close to eat, there is the Magic Johnson recreational park in the Northeast corner of El Segundo Blvd and Avalon Blvd. Eat there at your own risk!
Prayer Assembly Church of God in Christ
442 E El Segundo Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90061