Tuesday, July 5, 2016

where not to find barbecue

It was Fourth of July yesterday, a holiday in these parts, and many were out in the back yard hovering over the grill, which will happen occasionally for the rest of the summer, as we have it in these parts.

Some may also be seeking out barbecue, which is not the same thing as grilling although they're often confused, and since barbecuing is slow and complex, one seeks a good barbecue restaurant.

But not, in my experience, around here. The Bay Area seems strangely bereft of good barbecue. (And we also rank low on other American regional cooking. Asian, though - of any possible variety - that we've got in profusion.)

So I find this list of "Where to find barbecue in the Bay Area". But it doesn't say good barbecue. Now, I haven't been to all of these places, and some of them might be good. But I have been to four of them in the Bay Area (nos. 1, 4, 15, and 20), all of them highly recommended to me, and all of them "eh ... ok" except for no. 20 which was dreadful. So I agree with no. 13, which was the post saying "I'm continually disappointed in barbecue" here.

There is one place on the list I found good. It's no. 22, which is in Calistoga. By my South Bay standards, that's way out on the outskirts, not really in the Bay Area. What I've been telling people is that, if they want good barbecue, they have to go way out ... to Sacramento. Or Modesto. Or Castroville. Or Calistoga. I've found good barbecue in all those places.

What do I consider good barbecue, and what's lacking in the inner Bay Area places? Three things: good barbecue must be 1) tender, 2) juicy, 3) flavorful.

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