Beaver Creek Smokehouse (Martinez)
Martinez strikes again for barbecue. A bbq-loving friend called me today after eating lunch at Beaver Creek Smokehouse in Martinez. The reason I'm posting this is because he's so picky about the quality of barbecue (and other food) and he raved about this place. He and his GF had the $21 combo that included brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, chicken, sausage and three sides. They thought it was all excellent, including the sides (especially the cole slaw). He also said it was too much food for two people.
Beaver Creek Smokehouse
601 Main St
Martinez, CA 94553
He sent me this photo: http://ruthvenphotos2.com/files/bcsh_...
Wow, great photo! Does barbecue ever get any better (looking) than this? I am sure it was very delicious!
Based on the above recommendation, also tried the $21 combo. Same five meats, coleslaw and beans.
Overall, I thought most things were quite good, say, mostly singles and a couple of doubles, but no home runs. I'd return if others wanted to, but I'll prioritize trying Smokehouse 10 first before returning here. Wouldn't make a special trip from, say, Berkeley.
One criticism of all the meats is that the smoke flavor was dialed way down compared to my preference. I'd say it was quite subtle at best. I found this a bit odd as the smoke ring was very pronounced on the brisket and ribs (easiest place to see it), and the whole place does smell mildly of wood smoke (in a good way) and there's a large pile of wood stacked in the back.
Brisket (requested fatty) was decent albeit on the dry side.
Ribs were good. Nicely cooked (some tug to get clean off the bone) and moist, but I found the dry rub a bit lacking. Probably the best of the meats.
Pulled pork: also a good version. Came sauced which makes it a bit hard to evaluate the meat itself.
Chicken thigh: definitely dry in spots. They ran out right after our order so maybe this was the previous days' reheated?
Sausage: Seemed like a pork-dominated sausage whereas I'm more accustomed to a beef-dominated version (best I've had is Luling City Market). Grind was also very fine, which isn't necessarily my cup of tea either. Probably a mismatch between my biases and theirs.
Coleslaw was very lightly dressed with vinegar. Throwing on some of the Carolina bbq sauce made it quite tasty.
Beans were nicely cooked (creamy but still intact).
Thinking about it a bit more, perhaps their meats are coming out fairly close to how they want them, but their style and mine just aren't well-matched. Despite this, on execution alone it's better than 95% of Bay Area BBQ places that I've tried so maybe worth a shot.