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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Number 29: 18-Hour Brisket From Memphis Minnie's

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 11:50 AM

click to enlarge Memphis Minnie's brisket, in sandwich form. - IANN IVY
  • Iann Ivy
  • Memphis Minnie's brisket, in sandwich form.

When your plate of 18-hour smoked brisket slides over the glass shelves at Memphis Minnie's, your stomach might balk a bit. This is an intimidating spread of food. In one corner: a bright-yellow cornbread muffin and two ramekins of vinegary slaw, smoky beans, or whatever else you might have chosen. In the other: a daunting pile of spice-crusted ovals of Memphis Minnie's signature 18-hour smoked brisket.

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SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition


Though the claims of 18 hours of slow-smoked goodness seem impressive (and they are), brisket, the superficial and deep pectorals of the cow, are well-used muscles. Without lengthy cooking, the cut has a tendency to stay tough and stringy. Memphis Minnie's avoids even the suggestion of dry meat, by smoking it on-site over white oak. What emerges is a flat boulder of blackened meat, perfectly encrusted with a secret mix of dry ingredients and lightly charred meat. Once thinly sliced, the reward for this lengthy cooking period emerges. The meat itself is tender enough to be torn apart by the desperate fingers of a starved barbecue lover. 

Bob Kantor, the Brooklyn-born cook who started Memphis

Minnie's, uses no mop sauces when preparing his barbecue, sticking to the

philosophy that the taste of well-cooked meat is grand enough. That

secret-ingredient black crust that rims each piece lends a tiny hint of

salt, pepper, and even chili powder. When dredged through the

restaurant's Beelzebub sauce (though it isn't as hot as the restaurant claims), each bite becomes a tender

bit of meaty fire.


Memphis Minnie's: 576 Haight (at Steiner), 864-7675.

Other favorites in this series:

30: Custard buns from City View

31: Mission Chinese Food's kung pao pastrami

32: Panisse frites from Frances

33: Izakaya Yuzuki's chawanmushi

34: Fatted Calf's chorizo

35: Silvanas from House of Silvanas

36: Linden Street Brewery's black lager

37: Aged oolongs from Red Blossom Tea Company

38: Broken Record's crawfish grits

39: Cebiche mixto from La Mar 

40: Nutella-hazelnut hand pie from Black Jet Baking Co.
41: Fifth Floor's burger
42: Perbacco's agnolotti dal plin
43: Iced coffee from Sightglass
44: Cypress Grove's Purple Haze Chevre
45: Lechon from Tastebuds Cuisine
46: Duck with beets from AQ
47: Tai nigiri at ICHI Sushi
48: Fish with explosive chiles from Spices! 
49: Baker & Banker Bakery's blueberry cream cheese muffin
50: Kufta tajine from Cafe Zitouna

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Noah Sanders

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