Barbecue places are not rare in the Bay, though aficionados argue that truly excellent ‘cue can’t be had for love or money here. How do the new shops stack up?

At Smokey J’s BBQ in Berkeley, flavorenhancer voted yes on the baby back ribs, beef brisket, and bargain basement prices. slipson seconds the smoke flavor of the brisket and recommends the potatoes, which roast under the fat drippings of rotisserie-cooked chickens.

Sneaky’s, the barbecue pop-up that appears at Rebel, a bar in San Francisco, also wins approval from SteveG for value—the two-meat plate was “appropriately huge” for $24, though a few reviewers found the ribs dry. Of note: The location means that Sneaky’s offers more and better beers than the average barbecue spot.

An interesting side conversation on the Sneaky’s thread supposes that all our local barbecue suffers from what North Carolina–barbecue loyalist mikeh says is a two-way miss: too little smoke infusion or too much one-note flavor, with no happy medium.

Smokey J’s BBQ [East Bay]
3015 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

Sneaky’s [Hayes Valley]
1760 Market Street, San Francisco

Discuss: Smokey J’s Q House – BBQ in Berkeley
Sneaky’s BBQ Settles Down at Rebel in San Francisco

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