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Aug 11, 2010 01:02 PM

Dad and Son’s Gourmet BBQ: St. Louis Ribs, Pulled Pork, Brisket, Alabama-style White Barbecue Sauce

At nearly all our local festivals and fairs, I just walk on by the “barbecue” stands because few of them are actually selling meats cooked low and slow. But last Wednesday night at the Santa Rosa Downtown Market I took a closer look at Dad & Son’s Gourmet BBQ stand because it had a display of Alicia’s cakes and pies in front. I’d been regretting not getting a piece of sweet potato pie earlier at BFC in Oakland.

But what made me stop dead in my tracks was spotting “WHITE SAUCE” on Dad and Son’s BBQ menu. Until I’d tasted a version of Gibson’s Alabama white barbecue sauce ( ) last summer, I have to confess that I’d never heard of the stuff. And, I’d certainly never seen it out here before. Breathlessly, I asked the young woman where Dad & Son’s family was from. She said that the family was from Sonoma County. She further explained that her husband (the “Son”) was a student of barbecue and had researched styles from all over the country. This is evident in the range of meats and sauce styles on offer. Besides the white sauce, there’s what’s called regular BBQ sauce, a sweet version, and a spicy mustard-based yellow sauce. She said the sweet sauce was one of the most popular, which jives with what I’ve been told about Northern California tastes in barbecue.

But enough about the sauces, good barbecue is all about the meat. While not listed on the menu, I asked if I could get a three-way combo with ribs, brisket and pulled pork. Dad nodded and charged me $10. This came with fries and my choice of two sauces, and I had them hold the bread (good-looking Franciscan rolls). I was pleased to see that Dad and Son were confident enough in the quality of their meats to serve them bare, as shown here, serving the sauce on the side.

The meaty and well-trimmed St. Louis-style spareribs were some of the best-looking ones I’ve seen outside of competitions. Deliciously seasoned, the brush of sauce glaze baked into the meat formed a tasty crust highlighting the natural sweet flavor of the pork and no other adornment was needed. I really liked the layers of smoke notes mingled with the seasonings and deep meatiness. Not quite falling off the bone, the ribs were a little too soft for my taste, likely from holding before serving. But all in all, this was very satisfying.

The pulled pork still had its integrity, not cooked to mush like too many examples in the commercial realm. Quite peppery and with more subtle smoking than the rib, the inherent flavor of the meat came forward. I was sorry that I’d not chosen the yellow mustard sauce to try with this. Yet, the apple cider vinegary snap of the white sauce turned out to be a good companion for the pulled pork.

The brisket had good flavor, but was a little too soft and had started to dry out. They told me that it spends about six hours in the smoker. I noticed that the brisket was sliced and held in a warming tray. I might ask for some to be sliced to order if I try it again, as this meat dries out the fastest after it’s cut. The beefy flavors paired best with the tangy, medium-bodied, non-sugary regular BBQ sauce.

Fries were decent, and I liked dipping them into the white sauce. The white sauce reminded me of the packets of mayonnaise-y sauce that come with frites in France. I liked this white sauce more than the bottled Gibson’s. Dad and Son’s white sauce has a fresher taste without the metallic preservative element in the packaged version.

I asked “Son” whether he had any other regular appearances besides the Wednesday night market. He said that they’re available for catering on the weekends, but this was as much as they could handle since they all have full-time jobs elsewhere. The Santa Rosa market runs through September 1, if chowhounds want a chance to check out Dad & Son’s Gourmet BBQ. I hope someone will report on the white sauce with the smoked chicken.

Chowhound threads about "Alabama white sauce"

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Santa Rosa Downtown Market, 5/26 to 9/1/2010

Big Bob Gibson's White Barbecue Sauce

Chow’s White Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Santa Rosa Downtown Market
637 1st St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Dad & Son's Gourmet BBQ
Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, CA

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  1. Great report Melanie, thanks! Looks like a pretty nice smoke ring on the brisket & ribs, altough the brisket looks a bit overdone.

    Will we see you in Lakeport this year?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Civil Bear

      Nice smokiness to all the meats, but yes, the brisket was overdone and starting to come apart. I didn't do such a good job of matching up sauces with the right meats. i should have ordered the mustard sauce to pair with the pulled pork and the smoked chicken to go with the white sauce. Have you ever seen an Alabama white sauce out here?

      For those wondering about putting a mayo-based sauce on bbq, think about how much people like ranch dressing on almost everything. The white sauce by Dad and Son's has a quite a vinegar tang to it that makes it work.

      Yes, I'll be in Lakeport later this month to judge the KCBS contest. Still waitin' on your brisket. :-) This weekend I'm headed to San Diego for the Harrah's Valley Center Blues and BBQ event.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Wow, you are really geting around!

        I have not seen the Alabama white sauce out here, so I had to make my own from Dr. BBQ's cookbook. It didn't over all that well. MAybe I will get to trying Bob Gibson's recipe one day...

        As for the brisket, I finally broke through with a second place finish at the West Coast Country Music & BBQ Festival at Fortt Mason a couple of weekends ago. it was only a 12 team field, but I will take it anyway!

        1. re: Civil Bear

          Would that be Bullet Bob Gibson, the Cardinal's pitcher?

          1. re: chocolatetartguy

            Nah, its the late Big Bob Gibson of Alabama BBQ fame. His son-in-law, Chris Lilly, took over the business and recently published a cookbook with many of the restaurant's secrets.

          2. re: Civil Bear

            Well, now you understand that with a judging coming up this weekend I wasn't so keen on buying any BBQ at home. But when one stumbles upon something that looks good, I have to try it.

            Congrats on the strong finish in brisket!

      2. During my off-season break from BBQ judging, I've had a few occasions to buy barbecue.

        Dad and Son's Gourmet Barbecue made a few appearances at fundraisers for a church on Fulton Road before the start of its season. I caught up with it in March for this brisket and rib combo plate. While I'm all about the meat (and it was drier this time than my earlier sample), gotta say that I love the spicy mustard sauce. Quite picante and just the right tart tone to compliment fatty meats, the mustard sauce was especially good on the pork spare ribs.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Hello Melanie, This is Aurie From Dad & Son's Gourmet BBQ. I want to thank you for coming by again. Thank you for the positive feedback on our Gold sauce. We apologize for the meat being a little drier the second time. We will make every effort for that not happen again. Thanks for the review and have a blessed day.

        2. I'm so glad you posted this! I'm the same way as you about BBQ at street fairs. I've walked by this stand twice, but not next week!!!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jeni Bean

            And I am so happy to see your name on the screen again, welcome back!

            1. re: Pius Avocado III


              I just checked the twitter feed, and they were selling the last two Saturdays at the Community Center in Fulton where I last found them. Maybe it's a trend and they'll be there again tomorrow.

              Last yr I told 'em that I follow them on twitter and that it would make a big difference if they'd give us more advance notice. Even 24 hrs would be helpful, rather than "we're open NOW". They're a small operation with other full time jobs so they don't always get around to promotion.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Thanks Melanie- I wouldn't have known otherwise, and am going today. They took your advice. Half an hour ago:

                "We are gonna be at the Fulton Community Center, 3385 Fulton Rd. again from 1230-5pm!!! Wonderful day for BBQ, so come on out and get some!!!"

                And this:

                "We will also be at the PMC Easter Egg hunt in Petaluma from 11-2pm, so come on out and enjoy the fun and some good tasting BBQ!!!!"

                A further search shows that the Easter Egg Hunt is tomorrow in Petaluma at 11th & G.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Made it up to Fulton yesterday while Dad and Sons was working the community center.

                  It was just Dad and ourselves when we walked up; he had just taken a rack of ribs from the small cooker which was running at 325 with no visible smoke. Naturally, we ordered the ribs, adding the pulled pork and brisket to round out a 3-way, along with a full order of chicken with white sauce.

                  I asked for the chicken to be served sauced, with the sauce on the side for the others. Re-reading your initial post, I should have asked to hold the bread- the brisket and pork came out as half sandwiches.

                  I wouldn't add a word to your initial review on any of those three meats, other than noting that the piquant, spicy mustard sauce married with the pork exceptionally well, and ended up making me glad the pork came in sandwich form.

                  When I smoke chickens at home, I serve white sauce exclusively, using a recipe I've adapted from my autographed copy of Chris Lilly's Big Bob Gibson BBQ book. It is the only instance in which I'll brook saucing meats prior to serving, and I feel it's essential to the presentation.

                  The somewhat-blackened chicken quarter was indeed coated in a thin layer of white sauce, sitting above a delicious pool of more of the above. The smoky skin and still-juicy, dark meat, when dabbed in the pool of sauce beneath, rivaled my own results. The sauce has more ground red pepper and is thicker than my personal adaptation, traits I'm likely to appropriate next time I smoke a chicken.

                  I wouldn't have eaten the fries if it weren't for the white sauce.

                  I told Glen (Dad) we were BBQ judges and Melanie had tipped us off- he got on the phone, called Son, and said "BBQ judges Melanie sent are here, you better get down here."

                  Son and grandsons soon appeared to help with service. Son makes all the sauces.

                  All of this was experienced on fold-out chairs on a card table in front of the Community Center's open door, wherein the locals were engaged in a musical workout I'm told is called zumba. While we waited for our food a steady stream of locals arrived, some sharing our modest, musical card table.

                  Good times. We'll be back.

                  1. re: Pius Avocado III

                    So good to read that Dad and Son are still on form. I've gotta try that chicken with Alabama white sauce. Had thought I'd be able to pop over on Saturday but unexpectedly had a visitor and never left the house.