Smoke billows from the steel drum barbecues lined up in the Compton parking lot at Bludso's. One taste of Kevin Bludso's spareribs, sheathed in a crackly, charred crust ($21.50 per slab, with two sides), and you know you've found a disciplined pit master. Bludso blends various woods to suit each meat type: hickory, pecan, and apple for pork; red oak with pecan for beef brisket. (A fully stuffed sandwich costs $4.50.) Large cuts spend up to 15 hours in his smokers; the low, slow 250-degree heat seals in the moisture and flavor. On weekends, crowds gather for Flintstone-size beef ribs—the meat falling from the bones—and the juicy, shredded pork shoulder. The house-made sausages and thick sauces are transcendent. Real Texas barbecue: As a kid, the Compton-raised pit boss and former department of corrections employee spent most summer vacations working beside his grandma Willie-Mae Fields at her barbecue stand in Corsicana, Texas. Those were summers exceptionally well spent.