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“We enjoyed this experience”

Big Mama's Rib Shack
Ranked #503 of 701 Restaurants in Pasadena
Price range: $9 - $16
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Delivery, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Description: Here at Big Mamas we pride ourselves on serving up Southern Fresh entrees that you and all your loved ones would surely enjoy. Everything is made from scratch using the finest ingredients on the market. Pasadena's Best Kept Secret. we've been serving up the community for over 15 years so come on in and check us out. Tennessee BBQ at its best. All of our meats are slow smoked with hickory and cooked to perfection. We also have the best Southern Fried Chicken & Catfish in the city.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“We enjoyed this experience”
Reviewed March 24, 2012

Big Mama's on a Saturday night was a good experience. A jazz band played until 9pm and they were very good. I had the spare ribs ($14.95) and the wife ordered the smothered chicken over rice ($10.25). The ribs weren't consistent, even on the same plate. Some were dry and others cooked just right. The BBQ sauce was just okay. The smothered chicken, on the other hand, was great. The gravy is what really made the dish. The sides, black-eye peas, greens and the corn bread were unremarkable but good. The dish I outright did not like was the dirty rice which had no flavor at all. So you can skip that one. But when all is said and done I'd definitely return and have the smothered chicken myself and maybe a plate of the fried chicken and share. The staff were great and attentive. There's not too many places where you can be entertained, get great service and have a good, moderately priced dinner as well. The total bill for two dinners, with tip, a lemonade and the side dishes came to $36.00.

  • Visited March 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Felipe70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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24 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Santa Monica, California
Level Contributor
61 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Great Food - Low Key, Casual, Fun!”
Reviewed October 31, 2011

Just used our Groupon at Big Mama's and we had a GREAT time and ate a great deal of food. Let's get right to the good stuff...
*Liked the ambiance of the place - tables to one side, booths on the other, relaxed and casual atmosphere - very inviting.
*They know how to use cornmeal!
[This may seem minor to a lot of folks but I have yet to find cornbread in Southern California to match my own - but Big Mama's comes closest. Savory with just a hint of sweet - the consistency was exactly right - not too coarse and certainly not too cakey - and served warm, it was a great way to start the meal. And served with honey - great!]
*Fried Okra - soooooo damned good. Well-seasoned. No goo!
*Fried Chicken - bought two wings - just to sample - and they were so good - fried chicken is either right or it is wrong - Big Mama's knows their stuff. It is really some of the best fried chicken I have had since I left Indiana - yes, it's that good.
*Hush Puppies - going back to "They Know Cornmeal" the puppies were perfectly seasoned and prepared and filled with bits of onion. Superb.
*Iced Tea - it was fine. This too may seem a no-brainer to many - but let me tell you - it's either tea or it ain't and at Big Mama's, "That's iced tea!
*Smothered Pork Chops - I had them for my entree and they were practically perfect and served on the fattest, fluffiest rice. I don't know how restaurants do that - I even have a computerized rice cooker and it does not compare. The Smothered Pork Chops were wonderfully breaded and covered in very well executed gravy - hard to do - rare to find these days. Highly recommended.
*My friend had the Rib Killer Sandwich and enjoyed it very much. I liked the way the meat was cut up and presented on the bun as well as their sauce.
*Peach Cobbler - a great way to end the meal. Great crust - the most important part - and nicely flavored all around. We had it "al a mode" because it's the only way to have cobbler, right?
*Gumbo - Had a cup of the File Gumbo - and although the flavors were there - I like a thicker gumbo - so this con is based on personal preference alone - it WAS filled to the brim of the cup with smoked ham, chicken, crab and shrimp - so generous - except for the consistency it was lovely.
*I also had one rib - they sell ribs by the bone for $2.00 each. Again, based on personal preference - I prefer baby back ribs - this rib portion was huge and well-cooked and served with a great sauce (on the tangy end of the spectrum) but next time I will order a slab of baby backs.
(Both my cons were a result of my personal taste - not something that the restaurant did.)
Best of all was the service. We had Deon and he was friendly, funny, and just the right mix of engaging and absent. He is a very welcoming waiter and an asset to Big Mama's.
We found this place with a Groupon - but we will go back when we need great Southern Cooking - and it was a hike for us - we live in Santa Monica. BIG MAMA'S IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

  • Visited April 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank cgtravers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasadena, California
Level Contributor
22 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Only Go Here If You Have 3 Hours to Spend”
Reviewed October 17, 2011

When Big Mama's Rib Shack moved into town, we were so excited. Until we actually went there for dinner. This place has the absolute worst service ever. It takes forever to get seated and with a menu. Then it takes forever to place your order. Then it takes over an hour to get your food after you order it. And no one will come to you to check on you while you are waiting.

The food is okay if you do not know what really good southern cooking tastes like. To my family and friends, it is mediocre. We have waited a few years and then tried it again to see if it improved, but it didn't. If you need to kill a few hours, it's a relaxing place to hang out with friends, but you need to order several drinks at the very begining or you will go thirsty.

  • Visited November 2010
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Leslie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
83 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“It takes a lot of effort to make really good BBQ. Big Mama's makes NO effort to produce eatable BBQ. My Tri Tip; if...”
Reviewed November 17, 2009

It takes a lot of effort to make really good BBQ. Big Mama's makes NO effort to produce eatable BBQ. My Tri Tip; if that's what it was; seemed to have been cooked a few days prior, stored in the frig; taken out the day I came in, sliced on a deli slicer, re-heated and sauced with vinegared catsup with molasses added. Nasty! Worst BBQ on the planet.

Thank BradleyMAltadena
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 15, 2008


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