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Woodchuck BBQ, New in Redwood City

Melanie Wong May 6, 2012 12:10 AM

Just opened this month, I heard about Woodchuck BBQ in Redwood City from barbecue contacts. Full range of meats and the special items seem to be burnt ends and beef ribs. They're a wood-cooker. I won't be able to get there soon myself to check it out, hope to hear from 'hounds who try it.

2397 Broadway St Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 369-9000
http://www.woodchuckbbq.com/
Sun-Thurs 11am to 9pm
Fri-Sat 11am to 11pm

  1. b
    BryantD Aug 18, 2012 11:36 AM

    Sadly they closed effective immediately -- I'm not sure when their last day was. The website has the notice.

    I thought their meat flavor was good, including the brisket. The burnt ends were quite good. The brisket's texture was, as others have noted, a bit dry and not as loose as a good Austin/Central Texas brisket, but I liked the flavor a lot.

    Best feature was definitely the cheerful, chatty service. I like people who're willing to talk about the food they cook.

    My wife and I just moved here after a blissful sojourn in Austin, and we miss Lockhart and Franklin's and the rest a bunch. Woodchuck was the best flavor I've found so far although I haven't done anything comprehensive -- Memphis Minnies, Woodchuck, Gorilla. I suppose I oughta swing by Mack's soon since it's also very close to us.

    5 Replies
    1. re: BryantD
      Melanie Wong Aug 18, 2012 04:10 PM

      Gosh, three months and gone. The notice on Facebook was posted 5 hours ago.
      https://www.facebook.com/WoodchuckBbq...

      1. re: BryantD
        RWCFoodie Aug 18, 2012 05:00 PM

        Very sad indeed. The Beef Rib was always outstanding and so were the burnt ends and pulled pork, but I believe that inconsistency was what did them in. Sometimes the brisket was outstanding, juicy, with just the right amount of fat while other times it was dry and tough. The sides IMHO were pretty miserable... We'll miss them and hope they can reopen, hopefully someplace close by.

        1. re: RWCFoodie
          s
          slew Aug 21, 2012 02:46 PM

          Indeed... This is sad/bad news to learn...

          My favorite (and only item I ordered) was their Woodchuck Bone, with burnt end beans and creamed corn sides... ;_;

        2. re: BryantD
          bbulkow Aug 19, 2012 12:49 PM

          Dang. I stopped by a few times, and never got any food. Once they had sold out, which I thought a good sign. They're on a lousy part of Broadway, down there.

          1. re: bbulkow
            r
            Rockman Aug 19, 2012 01:18 PM

            I disagree that location was the problem. Vesta recently opened up the street and they are really busy. And Woodchuck was next door to New Kapdokia, one of Redwood City's most venerable restaurants.The difference is in the experience of the ownership. You have to know what you are doing. You can't just make pretty good BBQ, or whatever, and plunk down a deposit on a storefront.

        3. Civil Bear Jun 8, 2012 02:31 PM

          Made it out to Woodchuck for a second visit this afternoon. The service was much better and more attentive this time around, although perhaps sitting at the bar had something to do with that.

          Got the Brisket & St. Louis cut sparerib combo with bbq'd beans and slaw.

          The brisket was smoky and flavorful, but on the tough side (could barely cut the 1/8" slices with the side of my fork). It was a bit dry too but the sauces helped with that. Unfortunately the sauces are just so, so. Only the bourbon sauce really went with the beefiness of the brisket.

          The ribs however were spot-on. Tender and smoky with just the right amount of sauce already baked on. I would most definitely order these again.

          As for the sides, the beans with bits of bacon and burnt ends mixed in were fantastic. The slaw was vinegar based, but not overwhelmingly sour. The added cracked pepper was also a nice touch.

          Looks like they earned another visit!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Civil Bear
            w
            walker Jul 12, 2012 06:09 PM

            I was there last week and my friend and I both thought the meats (and chicken) were WAY too smokey tasting and all the food was room temp. Awful corn muffin that seemed old. Would not return. Place was nearly empty at dinnertime. I'll be surprised if it's open next year. Server was attentive and friendly.

          2. Sushi Monster May 11, 2012 06:26 PM

            I would *love* a decent BBQ place in the neighborhood. But I have to ask: Does their price structure seem a standard deviation above the norm? A $12 bacon cheeseburger seems on the high side. And $14 for a single beef rib? I suppose if it were the size of a Louisville Slugger ...

            Maybe I'm out of line, having not priced BBQ lately. But the Mexican rotisserie chicken specialist at Middlefield and Fifth "point" could feed a family of three or four for the cost of a single dinner at Woodchuck.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Sushi Monster
              c
              ChewChew May 11, 2012 08:47 PM

              I hear ya Sushi Monster but for $14 you're getting a very meaty rib that will leave you happily full. it's not inexpensive but I feel like we got fair value in return. I'm guessing that you probably get a10 or so ounces of meat or perhaps more. Not a Louisville Slugger but it's pretty hefty and hangs off the plate when it comes out.

              1. re: Sushi Monster
                RWCFoodie May 12, 2012 02:19 PM

                To be honest, I thought the prices seemed a bit high - but then I thought, hmmm, maybe I'm just out of touch with the "real" world.

                My sandwich and an iced tea + tax and tip came to $13.94 - that seemed a bit high for a rather modest lunch...

                But then, it is downtown Redwood City, a place sorely lacking in bbq!

              2. RWCFoodie May 8, 2012 03:22 PM

                Melanie, after I read your post yesterday I took a ride over to Woodchuck for lunch. No way could I ignore the prospect of some good 'cue. I wanted to try the burnt ends and the brisket so when I ordered my sandwich I asked Mark if they could do that for me - no problem! I had the Southern Vinegar slaw as my side and an iced tea.

                Wow, you can really tell we are starved for bbq in the mid-Peninsula - They've only been open a week and we're all checking it out!

                Loved both meats - tender, smokey, decent bark - hit all the marks for me. I tasted all of the sauces and my choice was the Bourbon sauce, slightly sweet but with some tang. The Woodchuck Sugar Sauce will satisfy anyone with a highly active sweet tooth. Like that they don't drench the meat in sauce, rather let you apply it yourself. Sandwich is served on a brioche type torpedo roll with some pickle slices. The slaw wasn't terribly exciting but was ok. Sandwich $8.95 plus $1.99 for the iced tea.

                Mark was telling me how he and Tony and their wives did most of the remodel and that they had taken it over on April 1 so they really turned it around quickly. Nice guy. Will return - Just looking at my photo of the burnt ends portion of the sandwich makes me want to go back soon!

                 
                 
                6 Replies
                1. re: RWCFoodie
                  c
                  ChewChew May 8, 2012 09:18 PM

                  We gave Woodchuck a try tonight. Barely half-full at about 7:00pm. I had the beef rib, basically a 10-inch long rib with a healthy-sized chunk of tender beef barely attached. Cooked nicely to fork-tender but missing some smoke for me. The beans spiked with burnt ends was a nice accompaniment and the slaw provided some much-needed acid to cut through all of the beefy goodness. I finished my portion, barely.
                  E had the brisket which was well-cooked but dried out on the plate and the baby backs which were, again, tender and falling off the bone but a tad on the dry side. They offer 5 sauces including a too-sweet sugar sauce, a spicy mustard, bourbon sauce, and the bourbon sauce spiked with habaneros and Thai chiles.
                  Overall this was good barbecue. I've had much better in other parts of the country but to have this available close by is nice. We will likely return.

                  1. re: ChewChew
                    Melanie Wong May 10, 2012 12:35 AM

                    Thanks for the report, ChewChew. Sounds like Civil Bear hit the beef rib for lunch and you had the rib at dinner time on the same day. Which sauce did you find goes best with the beef rib?

                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      c
                      ChewChew May 11, 2012 08:35 PM

                      The hot one. But that's usually my bias. The sweet was just too sweet for me.

                  2. re: RWCFoodie
                    Melanie Wong May 10, 2012 12:31 AM

                    You've called it, I'm amazed at the fast response. Definitely a hunger for some good 'cue!

                    Thanks for the photos, burnt ends and brisket look very tempting.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      l
                      Lisa S. May 10, 2012 12:11 PM

                      No Melanie, you called it! Doubt there would have been such a rush to try if this thread was started by a random.

                      My experience was similar to ChewChew's -- tender, fairly tasty ribs and brisket but on the dry side. They need to slow the cooking process down to reach the next level (and even then it's an uncertain art controlling heat, humidity, smokiness, etc.). Unfortunately for many of us on this Board they probably don't have a good business incentive to do so. The current formula combined with the sauces and burgers should be enough to keep them busy. In any case, they are already miles above the goop served nearby at Mack's (which does not even qualify as 'cue imo.)

                      1. re: Lisa S.
                        Melanie Wong May 11, 2012 11:08 AM

                        Another taker . . . thanks for posting.

                        When the meat's dry, definitely do point it out to the staff. When a place is just starting out, I think it's critical to push them to higher standards.

                  3. Civil Bear May 8, 2012 02:28 PM

                    Made it there for lunch today (btw, the address is 2397 Broadway, not 397!). Nice space. Asked for the two-way combo. What would I like? Burnt ends and the beef ribs. Sorry, out of burnt ends. Okay, I'll have the beef rib & brisket. Sorry, but you can't get the beef rib as part of the combo. Dang, okay, I'll just have the beef rib with two sides...

                    The beef rib was actually bretty good. The bone is a foot long and comes with a huge hunk of meat attached. Could maybe have used a bit more time in the smoker, but I find that it is better to error on that side with beef ribs least they become stringy. Pretty tasty. I would definitely order it again.

                    The beans were also above average - firm, not too sweet, with bits of burnt ends thrown in. The Mac on the other hand was a complete disaster - mushy and flavorless...bleck.

                    The service needs work, as the two gentlemen were overwhelmed with the place only half filled. It took them 10 minutes to take my to-go order, and then they refused to let me pay while waiting for the food. And of course it took them another 5 minutes after my food arrived before they gave me the check! They also appeared to have some errors on at least two other customers' bills while I was waiting. Still, I will be back, although I might wait until off-peak hours.

                    ps- Melanie, will you be judging in Morgan Hill this weekend?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Civil Bear
                      RWCFoodie May 8, 2012 03:28 PM

                      CB: your description of the beef rib is irresistible - I will have to head back over and try it!

                      1. re: Civil Bear
                        Melanie Wong May 10, 2012 12:29 AM

                        Now you're talking. The two 'cue joints where the beef rib was my favorite thing have both gone out of business, so I'm very, very interested in hearing this.

                        I'll be in Morgan Hill, but not judging. I'm attending the pig feed friday and will be helping Butcher's Daughter put together her boxes for judging on Saturday. Send samples. ;)

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          Civil Bear May 10, 2012 12:05 PM

                          Heh, Heh, I scored a couple of prime-grade briskets from Golden Gate Meats this morning, so I am excited to see how they turn out. Be sure to stop by after turn-ins for a taste!

                      2. r
                        Rockman May 8, 2012 01:01 PM

                        I also stopped by last night after seeing Melanie's post. It is next door to New Kapadokia in downtown RWC. Very nice people using Apple and White Oak wood to make some good BBQ. I had a 3 meat combo with 2 sides, and my wife a brisket dinner with two sides. With a Sierra Nevada draft, $45 with tip. Good meat portions. Baby back ribs and pulled pork were ok, but the brisket stands out--moist, tender, tasty. It's hard to get brisket that way. On the way out I noticed a single giant, meaty beef rib on an adjacent table that reminded me of the one I had at the Reno Ribfest and still dream about.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Rockman
                          Melanie Wong May 10, 2012 12:24 AM

                          Rockman, how nice to see your handle again. Please don't be a stranger.

                          I'm paying attention to the time series - sounds like you and lpfch had dinner there on the same day and probably had the same batch of brisket. And RWCFoodie was there earlier the same day for lunch and she really liked the brisket too. ChewChew was there a different day and that brisket was drier.

                        2. l
                          lpfch May 8, 2012 10:58 AM

                          I have hesitated to report on my first visit to Woodchuck BBQ because everyone has such strong opinions on what makes BBQ great. That said, I paid a visit last night, and will definitely return. Wonderful burnt ends, great brisket, and really interesting and delicious from scratch sauces to enhance the already delicious meat. Check it out!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: lpfch
                            bbulkow May 8, 2012 12:41 PM

                            Sounds like Smoking Pig with better sauces (and closer to my house). Not a bad thing.

                            1. re: lpfch
                              Melanie Wong May 10, 2012 12:18 AM

                              Please don't ever hesitate to report in, lpfch. We're still grateful to you for turning us on to El Hueco and need to hear from you more often. Good brisket itself is hard enough to find, and some good burnt ends too is like icing on the cake.

                            2. f
                              frellis May 7, 2012 10:06 PM

                              I went there this past Sunday and ordered some items to go - a full slab of the Saint Luis Ribs, a Cheeseburger, and a few sides (creamed corn, potato salad, and mac and cheese). I thought the ribs were decent though I would've preferred a bit more bark and smoky flavor to it. I wouldn't say it blew me away but with such limited BBQ choices in the area, it's definitely one of the better ones. However, the cheeseburger was absolutely delicious - soft bun and the meat was cooked perfectly. Next time, I'd like to try their other meats.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: frellis
                                Melanie Wong May 10, 2012 12:06 AM

                                Wow, frellis, LTNS! Guess it took the mention of promising barbecue to lure you back to us. I like more bark too myself. I wouldn't have thought to order the cheeseburger on my first visit. I'm glad you did and found it up to snuff. Is it grilled?

                                What have you been eating for the past 5 years?

                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                  f
                                  frellis May 11, 2012 12:31 AM

                                  I finally remembered how to log in. Not sure if the burger was grilled. It was a good size (1/2 pound) and the cheese was melted and not just thrown on at the last second.

                                  We've been eating at a lot of Asian restaurants - Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian. Any place that's toddler friendly.

                                  1. re: frellis
                                    Melanie Wong May 11, 2012 11:06 AM

                                    Thanks, and congrats on the toddler. Glad to have you posting again.

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