Spurred on by a recent MeatHenge post and needing to atone for the prior weekend's T-Rex transgressions (6 hours they smoke the brisket! 6 HOURS!!) I made the trek to Martinez to try Bulldog Barbecue. I should have done so weeks ago. 3-way (2 sides), $16.95, a "half" pulled pork sandwich $3.95 (it was an entire sandwich AND came with another side), Sierra Nevada Celebration on tap (high at $4.25 the 16oz. pint but maybe it's tough to put that handle on in a 'cue joint, so OK by me).
From the moment my fork hit the brisket I knew this was going to be a memorable meal- it barely resisted. Deep smoke ring and man, oh man was that bark good. Memphis Minnie's-level good, at least. No unrendered fat to get in the way to speak of. Yeah, it came to the table in a little pool of sauce, but it was a small enough pool that only the bottom piece really had any sauce on it (and it's a very good sauce). The spicy sauce was offered, we accepted; it was good but the quality of the meat here is too high for a sauce that competes with it as much as the spicy does. This is perfectly-smoked brisket.
The ribs were gloriously unadorned with sauce, the dry rub was excellent and they were perfectly smoked as well. What little fat hadn't rendered out of these delectable ribs was almost worth the price of admission alone. The pleasantly garlicky links were good and went very well with the sauce. The pork on the sandwich was more sliced than pulled; it was tasty and certainly a bargain; this "half sandwich" would be considered by anyone to be an entire sandwich and, with the side, would certainly fill up someone who wasn't on a mission as we were.
Sides: they were out of greens. The baked beans were very good (they're thick and in the molasses camp). The potato salad claimed the middle ground between chunks and mashed, mustard-y but not overly so as you find elsewhere, and cleansed the palate between the various mains. The mac and cheese was a bit dry, not in the custard camp; more macaroni than cheese which is good when you get several pounds of meat...
Lots of tables, bar seating right in front of the magnificent smoker, and, yes, a large fish tank. Very comfy atmo'. And you can park for free Saturdays in downtown Martinez.
I can't vouch for this Uncle Frank guy but I can vouch for Bulldog and it should be generating as much buzz on this board as UF's because Bulldog is the real deal.
This was the Thanksgiving of barbecue for only $32 (2 beers). Ruined us for dinner.
Bulldog BBQ: 601 Main Street, Martinez. Get some.
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