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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Smoke BBQ, S.F.'s Newest Mobile 'Cue Merchant

Posted By on Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 11:43 AM

click to enlarge The Smoke truck sets up weekdays behind an auto parts shop in the Bayview. - LUIS CHONG
  • Luis Chong
  • The Smoke truck sets up weekdays behind an auto parts shop in the Bayview.

Meet Smoke BBQ, the latest wheeled 'cue vendor to debut in San Francisco. The two-week-old red trailer can be found weekdays in the Bayview's industrial zone, parked behind an automotive parts supply store, not too far from the Smokin' Warehouse BBQ SFoodie reviewed last year.

click to enlarge LUIS CHONG
  • Luis Chong

On a recent sunny afternoon at the Smoke truck, we found chef Mark Furr and pastry chef Angela Chavez, two of the three owners who staff this Kansas City-style barbecue operation. According to Chavez, the trailer's previous owner had an arrangement with the auto parts shop, one the new owners have opted to continue. So far it's turned out well: Workers in the area seem to love their new lunch option, and there's enough parking for destination visitors like SFoodie.

Smoke's menu includes five meat choices (pork spareribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and chicken) served as plates ($10-$14) or sandwiches ($6-$8), plus sides (half-pints $2.50, pints $5), and barbecue by the pound ($10-$20). We ordered the two-meat combo special for $14, which included two sides and cornbread.

Brisket and ribs seemed the logical choices to gauge Smoke's 'cue. The desserts list (chocolate cream pie, banana cream pie, brownies, and s'mores) was tempting, but we decided not to indulge this time, since we feared we'd need a wheelbarrow and a strong friend to get us home.

click to enlarge The brisket and rib combo with two sides and cornbread, $14. - LUIS CHONG
  • Luis Chong
  • The brisket and rib combo with two sides and cornbread, $14.

Our combo order came with generous slabs of thick brisket topped with a sprinkling of barbecue seasonings and two oversized spareribs. Both featured a blackened crust. Sauce came in a small container on the side -- we used it as a dipping cup as we ravaged the meats. The verdict: Smoke's ribs were our favorite. And we would have liked one or two extra servings of that sauce.

We've become accustomed to lackluster side dishes at most local barbecue places, but this is one vendor that bucks the trend. The cornbread was incredibly soft, not mushy, and the potato salad was excellent, better than any we've sampled as barbecue sides. We love the cheddar grits at Brenda's, and Smoke's cheesy grits were equally rich and delicious, despite a few lumps.

To get there without a car, catch the Muni T-Third line and get off at Evans, a block past the truck's location on Davidson. Can't make it to the Bayview? According to a recent tweet, you'll get a chance to sample Smoke at Noe Valley's Valley Tavern this weekend during Superbowl XLV. Score!

Smoke BBQ SF: 1438 Davidson (at Third St.), 513-6708. Open Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., or until the food runs out.

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Luis Chong

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