Best Barbecue - 2004
Memphis Minnie's Bar-B-Que Joint & Smoke House
San Francisco, CA 94117
The first sign that the kitchen does barbecue right is that it always serves the sauce (sauces, really: North Carolina vinegar, South Carolina mustard, and Texas red) on the side. "Why else," the owner says charmingly, "do I spend 16 hours smoking the meat?" We approve, because it's that taste of smoke caught in the meat that we're after. We like to order a meal called the Southern Star, which features a half-sandwich each of two of our favorites, the Texas beef brisket and the Memphis sweet-smoked pork. We also favor the St. Louis-style smoked pork ribs, the Cajun andouille sausage, and the smoked chicken, available in combination plates or by the pound. Minnie's does a good burger, topped with its own nippy pimento cheese. The beans are tricked out with chewy morsels of 'cue, the coleslaw is tangy, and if you're lucky, there'll be mac 'n' cheese or baked sweet potatoes, too. All desserts are made in-house: pecan pie, fried peach pie, sweet potato pie, and our top choice, creamy banana pudding with a strata of Nilla wafers. But it's that slow-cooked, smoky meat that haunts our dreams.