Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Barbecue Zeitgeist: A Few Sides to Go with Today's Review

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 10:41 AM

click to enlarge Southern Sandwich Co.'s pulled pork manwich. - HEKELA R./YELP
  • Hekela R./Yelp
  • Southern Sandwich Co.'s pulled pork manwich.

About two months ago, I noticed that SFoodie was covering the appearance of an awful lot of new barbecue businesses. Slow Hand, Southern Sandwich, Smoke, Smokin' Warehouse, the Rib Whip, T-Dub's on Fridays, the not-yet-open Hyde Away Blues Barbecue ... the boom was so immediate it bore investigating. Hence this week's review.

For a while, my refrigerator became a morgue for takeout boxes. There

was no room to store any fresh produce, which seemed perversely fitting. Not only did I eat at eight new-ish barbecue spots in the past two weeks, many of them were pop-ups or mobile operations. (Excused from competition: Dontaye Ball's Good Foods Catering, awarded in last year's Best of San Francisco issue.)

The current boom seems to be a grassroots movement, operating independently of the high-end, food-magazine circles that introduce so many national food memes into San Francisco kitchens. And the mobility of these new operations works in their favor. There's a long tradition of mobile smokers in this country ― given the ubiquity of BBQ competitions, many pro-level machines are designed to be hauled across state lines ― and they can easily travel to parties and catering gigs. Some businesses, like Cathead's and Sneaky's, turned out to be successful caterers who wanted to graduate up.

Three finds that didn't make it into the article:

1. The chili at Smokin' Warehouse BBQ.

I wasn't as much a fan of the sauce-drenched ribs and  pulled pork at

this Bayshore window as I was of some of the other trucks' barbecue, but

the bowl of steak chili I ate on the side ― smoky, pepper-red, and capped in cheese ― was great.

2. Smoke's barbecued beans. When I

was talking to Mark Furr about his K.C.-style barbecue just before turning the article in, he mentioned how he would stick a pot of the beans in the smoker overnight to

cook with the meat. I hadn't tried the side dish in my two visits to Smoke, so I asked Birdsall to pick some up for me when the truck was parked outside our offices. The sweet-spicy sauce is one

for fans of baked beans; the beans themselves come out creamy-centered

but intact, smoky enough to tame the sugar in the sauce, and

interspersed with chunks of brisket that melt away before you can chew.

3. Mission Chinese Food's BBQ brisket and lamb cheeks. Omitted simply because SFoodie has given Danny Bowien and Anthony Myint's new smoked meats more than enough press. Really, though: Check them out.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Jonathan Kauffman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.