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Apr 15, 2009 04:36 PM

Carolina BBQ?

Are there any joints around here serving up good BBQ with Carolina style sauce (vinegar-based)? I tried Looney's in Berkeley and was rather disappointed.

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  1. Memphis Minnie's give you a choice of North Carolina vinegar or South Carolina mustard. The meats are pretty good too.

    Memphis Minnie's BBQ
    576 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

    9 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      To me, MM's has by far the best barbecue in the Bay Area and as good as I've had anywhere (lots of Kansas City bbq and some Texas). I love their mustard-based sauce with pork. I'd be interested to hear what someone who likes vinegar-based sauce thinks about MM's version. I think it's something you have to grow up with to appreciate.

      1. re: Mick Ruthven

        Agree on Memphis Minnie's being the best all-around BBQ in the area.

        Just a note that their red vinegar based sauce is thicker than what you would normally find in western NC, and just the fact that it is red disqualifies it from being authentic eastern NC vinegar sauce. I would classify it closer to a Tennessee type sauce, like you would find at Jack's in Nashville.

        1. re: Civil Bear

          Alright then, Memphis Minnie's it is! I'm going to stop by on my way home tonight...

          1. re: Civil Bear

            >their red vinegar based sauce is thicker than what you would normally find in western NC...<

            Are you sure you're thinking about their North Carolina vinegar-based sauce? I recall it as not red, very thin (really a liquid) and quite a bit like very thin salad dressing. Maybe you can tell that I don't like it, which is why I think it's for those who grew up with it. Their red sauce is their Texas Red. Or have they changed their North Carolina vinegar-based sauce since I last tried it (a long time ago)?

            1. re: Mick Ruthven

              Well, now you have me wondering...As I recall, it was thick, red and vinegary. Maybe I have do have it confused with their Texas Red. Is it vinegary too? Ah heck, I guess I will just have to go back soon and check it out for myself!

              1. re: Civil Bear

                Sneaky's sauce is thickish (compared with that stuff that's just peppers in vinegar) and red.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Sneakys has ketchup in it, but is vinegary.

                  1. re: jsaimd

                    If their sauce contains ketchup, there's not much. Definitely vinegary, to me enough so that it overpowers the already nicely seasoned meat.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Yes - they sent me the ingredients due to an allergy, but I won't list as some of these places guard their recipes and sharing makes it difficult for me to get info in the future - but I agree it really isn't a strong flavor.

      2. Here is a link to a long and still active thread on BBQ in the Bay Area. The reality is that it is hard to find real good BBQ of any kind here.

        1. Sneaky's (delivery only) claims to be Carolina-style. I can't judge how Carolinan it is, but the sauce is definitely vinegary. Good baby back ribs and pulled pork, better than the last batch I had at Memphis Minnie's, though at their best MM is my current #1.

          Sneaky's smokes every Thursday, order today for delivery Friday or Saturday.

          Sneaky's BBQ
          1760 Market Street, San Francisco, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I lived in Virginia for a number of years and had the opportunity to sample NC-style BBQ. Recently I tried Sneaky's for the first time and can attest that it is very much in this style. Very much the equal, if not better than Memphis Minnies, IMO.

          2. Oh, I went to Eastern N. Carolina a few years back and loved the BBQ. I'd never heard of Carolina BBQ but became addicted while I was there. I couldn't drive by one of those little shacks w/o stopping for one. For those that don't know, it's pulled pork that 's been slow cooked/smoked for hours. They put it on a hamburger bun, top it with sauce and then a scoop of cole slaw. The sauce is basically vingegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, maybe some salt etc. Some places I tried put a touch of ketchup or tomato in it, but it's far from red and is as runny as vinegar. The combo of the meat, the tangy sauce and the cool, creamy cole slaw is just awesome. Granted, I'm a vinegar lover (buffalo wings, philipino adobo), but I think an authentic Carolina BBQ shack would do well around here.