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Mar 28, 2011 07:03 PM

Hyde Away Blues BBQ, to open in SF

Hyde Away Blues BBQ, a Memphis-style BBQ place, is scheduled to open on April 1 at 457 Hyde Street (at Geary).


Hyde Away Blues BBQ
457 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

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  1. I hope it's good. I really can't handle any more mediocre BBQ in this town, or pastrami for that matter. Is it really that hard?

    22 Replies
    1. re: virtualguthrie

      I have yet to even find a decent sweet tea in this town (except perhaps at Angeline's in Berkeley). For the life of me I don't understand why restaurants either go the "infused lavender syrup" route or open up a bottle of from-concentrate Gold Peak. How difficult is it to brew orange pekoe, add sugar when it's hot, and then add chilled water?

      it's funny how a random place anywhere in the South can just up and do good bbq. I think it must have something to do with the bbq pits themselves. All I see around here is purveyors using those commercial "Old Hickory Pits" or other in-kitchen devices, as opposed to a built-from-scratch brick pit with a firebox and chimney out back.

      My other hunch is the type of wood. I know some say the wood itself doesn't matter, but famous pitmasters like Keith Allen of Allen&Son in Chapel Hill swear by hickory because of the flavor it imparts.

      Anyway, I'm skeptical about the above. There's something wrong with a pulled pork product that takes 18 hours to smoke. You're either going to lose all the subtlety of flavor, or the procedure you're using is all wrong. A normal-sized pork shoulder should only require 9-10 hours.

      1. re: mikeh

        >>"it's funny how a random place anywhere in the South can just up and do good bbq. I think it must have something to do with the bbq pits themselves. All I see around here is purveyors using those commercial "Old Hickory Pits" or other in-kitchen devices, as opposed to a built-from-scratch brick pit with a firebox and chimney out back."

        I agree that the variety of wood matters; but I think quality of 'cue has more to do with location, and how it just wouldn't be right to be able to get good barbecue outside of NC, KC, Texas or wherever folks preference lay. Heck, many barbecue joints in NC have now switched to gas.

        Also, anyone doing a proper pulled pork from a full on shoulder in under 10-hrs is either roasting it at 300F+ or wrapping it foil (read braising). Smoking low & slow at 225-250 will take between 1 to 1-1/2 hrs per lb.

        1. re: Civil Bear

          I don't know what to tell you except that both Honey Monk and Keith Allen do pork shoulders about 4-5 hours each side in the pit. I wouldn't call what they are doing "braising." Maybe they're just using the Boston butt? I don't have my interview crib sheets with me right now.

          The places in NC that cook on gas might as well not be considered barbecue joints.

          The lack of quality of bbq out here goes beyond an atmospheric thing. Some of the best Texas-style beef brisket I've had was in NC. I recently found a place in Ft. Myers that did righteous eastern NC-style BBQ. The Bay Area is objectively lacking.

          1. re: mikeh

            What's wrong with Uncle Willie's brisket?

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              When I tried it, it was much too tough and oversauced. Perhaps I just hit a bad day?

              1. re: mikeh

                I always order sauce on the side so that's never an issue. Texture has seemed good to me, tender and juicy but not over the edge into pot-roast territory.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  When was the last time you went Robert?

                  I am in general agreement w/ you viz a viz the quality of the brisket prior to the last few months; however, my last 2 visits produced uniformly wan, pale, tough grey chunks with no hint of bark or smoke flavor.

                  This recent experience has my Phat Matt's brisket rating above UW's, which is pretty sad as Matt's is acceptable at best. Great American in Alameda is my current gold standard (apart from the nearly-unobtainable Double D).

                  Also, what civilbear said- 16-18 hours is a totally reasonable estimate of the time required to cook a shoulder at 200-225 degrees to its optimal temp of 190 degrees for pulling.

                  1. re: Pius Avocado III

                    I haven't been to Uncle Willie's that recently. Sad to hear that.

                    1. re: Pius Avocado III

                      I wonder if NC fireboxes run at a higher temp., then. Just looked at my references and both Keith Allen and Wayne Monk do a 16-pound shoulder. Allen claims "somewhere between nine and eleven hours" while Monk claims 10. This is to get the internal temp. to 195.

                      This is a huge discrepancy from what you all are claiming, but I've also seen the 1.5-2 hours per pound of meat quoted.

              2. re: mikeh

                >>"The places in NC that cook on gas might as well not be considered barbecue joints."
                Unfortunately there is more and more of them converting over each year.

                >>"Some of the best Texas-style beef brisket I've had was in NC."
                I have yet to have brisket in NC that comes close to Memphis Minnies.

                1. re: Civil Bear

                  Try Q-Shack in Durham if you ever happen to be around that area.

                  btw, I respect Bob Kantor of MM quite a bit in that he knows exactly what flavor he's trying to chase (Keith Allen's Allen&Son in Chapel Hill and Honey Monk's Lexington #1 in Lexington, NC for chopped pork, Louis Meuller’s and Smitty's in Texas for beef brisket). At least he has a realization there and has experienced the gold standards. Unlike the insipid sugar-infested bbq culture one all-too-often finds around here.

                  Just found some more about Honey Monk's procedure - he cooks shoulders but not hams. They cook at 250 degrees about 24 inches about the coals for around 9 hours.

                  1. re: mikeh

                    I believe Wayne Monk is the founder of Lexington Barbecue, which was formerly called the Honey Monk. Could Honey be a nickname?

                    Anyway, from the site of the woodpiles in back it looks like he is primarily burning hickory, which parts a distinctively different flavor than the oak being used at Memphis Minnie's. For me, oak goes much better with beef than pork.

            2. re: mikeh

              I'm curious why you think restaurants in the Bay Area should be imitating Southern sweet tea. The South and the Bay Area each have their own distinctive food cultures. Vive le difference!

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                I'm talking about places that purport to serve Southern/Soul/bbq. If you're running a place that is supposed to carry a regional product, wouldn't you say the recipes and techniques should be true to form? They were developed that way for a reason. Because it works for the cuisine. So the rebuttable presumption should be you follow a particular approach unless you have a compelling reason not to. I don't see that rationale when it comes to sweet tea paired with Southern food.

                Also, I don't see the argument that it is part of the Bay Area food culture to open up a bottle of Gold Peak from-concentrate and call that sweet tea. In fact, it goes against the from-scratch ingredient approach that drives the food culture out here!

                1. re: mikeh

                  You didn't specify that all the sweet tea you were criticizing was in restaurants that purport to be Southern-style BBQ restaurants. You said "in this town" so I assumed you meant anywhere, and I don't see why a restaurant shouldn't be allowed to make its own variation on sweetened iced tea. Actually, I wish it was easier to find plain, unsweetened iced tea instead of the peach dreck most places serve, but that's another rant.

                  I agree that it's hard to find "authentic" Southern BBQ in the Bay Area. That's what happens when you try to transplant a regional food specialty to another region -- something gets lost in the process. Personally I think that, over all, I'm glad that regional differences in food still exist, even if it means it's hard to get decent BBQ or bagels in the Bay Area.

              2. re: mikeh

                I'd appreciate input on the Southeast board for my questions about where to eat between Lexington and Edenton, NC.

              3. re: virtualguthrie

                >I really can't handle any more mediocre BBQ in this town<

                Yesterday afternoon I picked up a pound of brisket from Memphis Minnie's and just had a sandwich of it for lunch. I would definitely not put it in the "mediocre" category.

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

                1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                  It is when you consider that the flavor is akin to braised beef wrapped in charcoal. It tastes so one-note. It doesn't stop me from getting it when I'm desperate enough, but I'd put it at the high end of mediocre.

                  1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                    Oh, I do love Memphis Minnie's Brisket, it's just the only place we've got (Nate's is ok too) and I wish they would improve that "Texas Red Sauce"... what's going on there?. It seems like every couple of months or so a new BBQ place opens up and they're never very good or they always run out of things or limited hours etc..

                    1. re: virtualguthrie

                      "BBQ" may well be this year's pizza in our area...prolific openings with a mammoth quality shakeout in the offing. The SFWeekly ran a piece on 5 places this week, all of them attached to bars one or two nights a week or trucks. True, quality-smoked meats are not easy to pull off- the majority of these instant places will either sell their product solely to drunks or they'll be gone 12 months from now.

                    2. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                      I live right in between MM and Da Pitt. I've gone to both regularly for the past six years. The problem with both is consistency, great somedays, other days not so much.

                      1. re: Nopa

                        Consistency is the problem with BBQ in general. Even the famous, highly regarded places in Central Texas have their off days. One day I tried both Smitty's and Black's; Black's was great -- everything I'd hoped for. Smitty's was on the poor side of mediocre. I've seen people report the opposite.

                        Some of the best and worst brisket I ever ate came from the same place on different days -- Flint's (RIP).