EL CENTRO – Local business owner and county renowned smoked-rib specialist, Larry Rabb, recently cleared health inspection for his Rabb Slabs Barbecue Smoke House on W. State St. in El Centro and has plans for an early summer grand opening on the horizon.
Many have tasted Rabb Slabs Barbecue at various community events throughout the years in the form of a vendor.
“A lot of people know me for my ribs but also my tri-tip,” said Rabb.
Now Rabb will be able to have his dining guests come to him.
“The main focus is bringing everybody in the community together with my menu and to serve them great food,” said Rabb.
Rabb shared why his food will bring something different to our local valley cuisine.
“Every restaurant has a different taste, just like my spot - you’ll never taste anything like this with options from barbecue, teriyaki, to Hawaiian,” said Rabb.
According to Rabb, all his vegetables will be smoked and the majority of ingredients are local.
“I’m the only one in town that has a smoke ring in a chicken,” said Rabb. "The smoke ring says it all. If you’re smoking your food and it doesn’t have a smoke ring on your ribs, chicken or tri-tip, it’s going to be good but that target smoke flavor isn’t going to be there. No liquid smoke or imitations, just heat and smoke - no cheating."
Rabb revisited his childhood memories helping with his family heirloom barbecue sauce.
“When I was growing up, there was always a big pot around that smelled like barbecue sauce,” said Rabb. “I would have to go get raw peppers in a sock, then go in the backyard and go hammer the peppers then throw them in the big pot. The whole time I was helping make the barbecue sauce for my father’s restaurant (in the ’70s) that we never got to go to because we were black.”
As per Rabb, all the food, recipes, and sides are inspired by his mother and the barbecue sauce is his father’s.
“The only thing my father never cooked was pork, so that’s where I put my personal touch on our family cooking legacy because I like pork ribs,” said Rabb.
“I do not use the same grill for beef and pork,” said Rabb. There will be two separate grills for meat and the vegetables will also be smoked in a separate grill. I want to keep the meats and veggies grilled separate to accommodate my vegan menu as well.”
Rabb shared his inspiration to take a chance on cooking and selling food.
“From day one when I had two crockpots and a smoker, Daniel Lavender, Darreon Staton, Romeo, Guero, Zon Money, M. Gidaines, and Richard Rosales were there with me,” said Rabb. “Those are the people who really found my ribs - were my friends. My buddy Eddie Gunz did my logo and my friends pushed me to sell my food. Then shortly after, the chicken and everything else came along such like the tri-tip and the rib eye.”
Rabb got the keys to his restaurant in early November of 2020.
“With my daughters’ big support, Kayla and Kaylyn, I’ve been working hard on opening this restaurant for over a year and a few months already and there have been many setbacks along the way,” said Rabb. “Setbacks always come up. I missed my birthday and missed my mother’s birthday while working on the building and revamping setbacks. But now I’ve got big plans for a grand opening scheduled for my daughter’s birthday.
Stay tuned for more information at RabbSlabs Facebook, Rabb advised.
“Rabb Slabs Barbecue Smoke House is my daughter's,” said Rabb. “Rabb Pit House is the smoke house where all the smoking goes down and where all the food gets cooked.”
Both establishments are in the same building so to avoid confusion all food will only be sold in the Smoke House. You can only come to the Pit House to get rubs, apparel, and barbecue sauce.