The Mrs. parting words as she left the hotel room were surprise me with something interesting as she glumly headed off to a boring business cocktail/dinner event in the hotel. After she spent a full day of pandering to cheapskate clients and cheapskate potential clients, I could tell she was in no mood for banquet food and would most likely effect her exit from the soiree as quickly as possible. So I checked out Melanie from the parking valet and headed over to Back Forty Texas BBQ in San Ramon.
This was the third year that I rode shotgun with the Mrs. on the trip to this annual business conference so I was already familiar with Back Forty. Not by any means on a par with Q joints that I am familiar with in the L.A. area, and, I surmise not in the same league as Bay Area icons such as Flints, but serviceable indeed for a hound in need. Especially when one has been dining on hotel food for a couple of days.
This place was packed at 7:00 on a Friday evening and I had no intention of dining there, so I placed my take out order and took a seat while it was prepared. One reason why I did not want to dine in the restaurant was the rustic furniture, you know the kind of chairs that are made from tree limbs that still have their bark on them. These chairs invariably are narrower than my ample carcass and become torture after 10 minutes. (Perhaps they are not just an item of décor, but managements subtle way of turning over the tables quickly.)
BBQ in hand, Melanie and I returned to the hotel where Melanie retired for the evening and I repaired to our hotel room for a movie and dinner. I swiveled the TV in to the correct position, push the laptop aside on the adjacent desk and spread out my booty. Spareribs and brisket sandwiches.
I had a Back Forty brisket sandwich last year and my recollection was that it was very good. This years sandwich while good, did not seem as memorable as last years sandwich. (Maybe I was hungrier last year.) While not the most tender brisket I have had by a long shot, it was still good. It was served on a French roll that was unremarkable with sliced Bermuda onion, tomato and a pickle spear on the side. A small container of coleslaw was extra. The sandwich also came with a small container of BBQ sauce.
The Back Forty BBQ sauce was a sweet, tomato based sauce with a strong hickory overtone. It made me wonder what substance in the sauce was providing the hickory flavor? I did enjoy the sandwich, slathered with BBQ sauce, layered with sliced onion, and with coleslaw.
The ribs I would rate a 6.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. They had a good smoked flavor, all of the fat had either been removed before cooking, or melted off. They also must have been treated to a decent dry rub, because they were good dry or slathered in sauce. They were fairly tender. So the combination of brisket sandwich and ribs was filling and comforting.
Midway through my repast the Mrs. returned to the room and I treated her to a brisket sandwich and half the ribs. She ate her ribs neat, which seemed the best way, rather than adulterated with the cloying hickory sauce. The Mrs. being a life-long rib-a-holic pronounced the ribs good, and between the two of us they were transformed to totally naked bones very quickly. Since the Mrs. is really not a brisket sandwich type of person, I did not mind at all helping her out in that area.
While I would not drive out of my way for Back Forty, if I am in the neighborhood and craving some BBQ, I will make a stop there again.
Three brisket sandwiches, three sides of coleslaw, one rack of pork ribs, $32.00.
Back Forty Texas BBQ
21001 San Ramon Valley Road
San Ramon, CA 94583