Sebastopol BBQ: Bill's Farm Basket and Locomotion
Turning homeward from Valley Ford, I retraced my route on the Bodega Highway to stop at Bill's Farm Basket for the next leg of the West Sonoma County road trip. Now that my friend no longer lives near this small roadside vegetable stand turned grocer, it's been a few years since I last took a look around. The mix has moved more firmly toward organics and the local produce still looks great and with a lot of variety packed into a small space. The dairy case exemplifies the product philosophy, stocked with regular Clover, organic Clover, Straus, and raw milk.
Fridays and weekends in the summer, a grill station is set up in the parking lot offering up a more eclectic selection than other grocers with pork sate' and portobello tacos. Here's a photo of Bill's menu -
As you can see, the pork ribs were already sold out. That's what I had my heart set on, so I moved on to the new kid in town in front of Andy's Produce.
Bill's Farm Basket
10315 Bodega Hwy
Sebastopol, CA 95472
On the way down, I'd taken note of the new smoker set up outside Andy's on Hwy 116. It's called Locomotion BBQ, apt for this rig.
Locomotion rig -
Baby backs and brisket on the menu caught my attention, not the common stuff of what's called barbecue around here.
Locomotion menu -
I posed the critical question that I picked up from the larochelle school of Texas bbq, "how long do you smoke your brisket?" The gentleman sized me up and replied, "at least 18 hours . . . but I'm all out and won't have more until tomorrow afternoon. Pork loin is sold out too." Trying to make the best of the good news-bad news situation, I got a half-rack of baby back ribs for $14.
Double-wrapped in heavy aluminum foil, the ribs stayed piping hot for the ride home. In my excitement, I'd forgotten to inquire about the sauce or ask for it to be served on the side. The sauce had been slathered all over the half-rack. Coarsely chopped onions were visible, as well as what seemed like lumps of applesauce mingled with very hot and bitter chili spicing. I didn't like the sauce at all and wiped as much off as I could.
Now the ribs on the other hand were very good. Some of the meatiest I've ever had, these had an inch high cap of juicy, succulent smoky pork over the bones. Not fall-off-the-bone mush, these had a satisfying toothsomeness and tender resistance to the bite. Somewhat undersalted, the flavors popped out even more with an added sprinkle of salt on the cut edge. The use of smoke (apple and oak wood) was quite refined and in balance with the natural sweetness of the meat. These were good enough that I'll be back to try more.
Locomotion BBQ, in front of
Andy's Produce Market
1691 N Gravenstein Hwy
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Available Thursday through Monday
Next Stop: Kozlowski Farm in Forestville -
Stopped here Friday afternoon to try the brisket. Unlike the juicy and succulent ribs, the brisket was almost hard. No, that's not quite the right adjective, more like firm and lean. While it had good flavor and a nice smoke ring, the cut was the flat lean end of the brisket with just a thin layer of fat and no marbling or the webby fatty meat that makes for great 'cue. The sauce was better this time, more integrated and cooked down, but still not that appealing to me.