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Restaurants & Bars 13

BBQ gem in San Francisco/Lower Haight

Rochelle McCune | Apr 21, 200104:56 PM

OK, I'm finally letting you know about a great BBQ joint that opened last September. The rumor is that my favorite BBQ place is going to be in the July issue of Gourmet Magazine. So I thought I should give you the chance to go before the crowds hit.

Place: Memphis Minnie's on Haight between Fillmore and Steiner. They smoke their brisket for 18 hours. Their red sauce rocks - its spicy and incredibly addictive. They also have a mustard sauce which is very good. Their sides are unusually good - their vinigrette coleslaw is so much more refreshing than the mayonaise-laden stuff you get at most places.

Backstory --
I'm insufferably picky/opinionated about my BBQ. In fact, for years I only ate BBQ when visiting family in Texas. Then when my fiancee and I decided to get married on the 4th of July and have a BBQ reception, I assumed we would have to have the BBQ shipped from Texas but I decided to re-research the Bay Area BBQ scene. Since half the guests would be Texans, I could only serve the best (not that Californians don't know good BBQ, Texans are just very vocal about subpar BBQ). I started by doing phone interviews with BBQ places within 100 miles of my house asking their smoking time, sauce philosophy and general BBQ style questions. Because I was looking for long smoking time and spicy sauce, I was able to quickly narrow it down to just a few places. (Note: I HATE that molasses sweet Deep South sauce that many Bay Area BBQ places serve.) Next we held a tasting that included many of the BBQ places mentioned on this board. I thought most were OK but not excellent. One was sooo bad, I fed it to the dog.

Then somebody told me about a guy who had lost the lease on his restaurant (on Polk St.) but was doing catering while he scouted out a new location. I hunted him down, tasted his BBQ and the rest is history. He catered our wedding and we patiently for him to find a new location. Then, finally, we heard the good news that Memphis Minnie's had found a new location...and we debated how far we would drive for the best BBQ in the Bay Area...then we learned he was opening ON MY BLOCK at 576 Haight!!!

So check it out and let me know what you think. Oh, and here's a url to a photo of the place on opening day and the third meal they served...Customers One & Two were really old black guy with a cane and a 500 pound guy, I was wise enough not to take them on for the privilege of being Customer Number One.

In the photo, you will notice that they do not smother their meat with sauce. They let you sauce it yourself, if you want. They understand that the meat should stand on its own!


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