Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sticky Fingers

On Pat Fusco's mention, we hellied on down to the Best L'il Porkhouse in San Rafael to sample their barbecue. Pat Fusco's recommendations are always worth a trip over the bridge and, in this case, more than one trip. The father-and-son Flach team has roots in Missouri, Tennessee and Texas, and produces the kind of barbecue that keeps 'em coming back.

The Porkhouse is tiny, with about four tables, and clearly caters mostly to take-out orders. We made our order, snagged a table, and enjoyed the casual style of the place. Silly western signs on the walls warn patrons that the place is frequented by pickpockets and women of ill repute. Bottles of sauce grace every table advertising a range from "Sweet" to "Spicy" to "Spawn of Satan." Clearly, they take their sauces, housemade or bottled, seriously. We both agreed that our pal Chilebrown would need to visit this place. They take their meats seriously, too, using Mary's organic chicken and Painted Hills grass fed beef. 

There is a little napkin dispenser on the counter but the roll of paper towels on a spindle bolted to each table tells the real story. Sticky fingers are the norm.

While we were there, a local lady stopped in for a salad topped with barbecue, which she said was delicious. I would never have thought of putting barbecue on a salad but I might like salads more if I tried that.

We asked for the STL (Saint Louis - sweet and smoky) style platter that came with two kinds of meat, our selection of two sides from a list of about ten, and a big slab of Texas toast. We decided to split the order, and that was a wise choice - we were both nicely full by the time we finished.

Our "platter" arrived in a plastic basket lined with cheerful red checked paper, pork on one side and beef on the other. We had actually ordered chicken and pork on Pat's advice, but Ken Flach gave us brisket and pork by mistake, so he threw in the half chicken for free as a gesture of good will. Needless to say, it worked for us!  After we ate the platter, we needed a to-go box for the chicken.




Both pork and brisket were falling-apart tender, smoky with that deep-down smoky essence that doesn't come in a bottle, and moist with a little drizzle of their sweeter sauce on top. One of my pet peeves with barbecue is that so often it comes smothered in sticky, overly sweet sauce that is laced with "liquid smoke." I have no idea what "liquid smoke" actually is but it should be a banned substance. The smoky flavor of meats should only come, as these did, from a long, slow sauna with some hardwood smoke. We just rolled our eyes in pleasure.

My Beloved's onion rings were lightly battered and crisp (yes, I stole a few), not greasy. My cole slaw was creamy and crunchy at the same time, made with nicely fresh cabbage and carrots. Texas toast was a new concept to me - a thick slice of firm white bread that was grilled on the flat top - rather like a grilled cheese sandwich minus the cheese. It was piping hot, crisp, and a very nice accompaniment to the soft meats. 

I think you can tell that we will come back again and again to the Best L'il Porkhouse. Their name is no idle boast. This will be my treat whenever My Beloved is out of town on business - and he will take fewer trips knowing that he will be missing a jaunt to the Porkhouse whenever he goes! I'm already planning another visit to taste the other barbecue styles Ken makes - North Carolina, Kansas City, and Texas. My prediction is that he will need a larger restaurant very soon - this is going to be a hit.


13 Comments:

Blogger Chilebrown said...

I was excited to read your BBQ review till I got to the mention of grass fed beef. I can almost guarantee there will be no grass fed beef at the contest today.

Saturday, August 25, 2012  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

You guys gotta stop having the grass fed argument, because A) One of you is wrong, and B) The end.

Saturday, August 25, 2012  
Blogger katiez said...

I would love to be able to have real barbecue sometime.... doesn't exist here. And what's the argument about grass fed beef? What are they supposed to eat? All the cows here happily graze their entire lives.... Right up until the end LOL. And we have photos or the farmer who raised the beef above the butcher's counter.

Saturday, August 25, 2012  
Blogger Kailyn said...

Spawn of Satan! That sounds like my kind of sauce.

Oh and I feel that sauce should always be served on the side with BBQ. The good stuff stands up without any sauce. When folks slather it on before serving, I figure they are trying to hide some poorly prepared meat. Of course the only place that I have never had to tell them to put the sauce on the side is at Great American in Alameda.

Oooo. But Carolina style? Never seem to find that out here. Going to have to check them out.

Saturday, August 25, 2012  
Blogger Greg said...

Sounds like a great feed! Add them to my list.

Saturday, August 25, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Chilebrown, you're a reverse snob but I love you anyway. Give them a try and see if it isn't pretty darn good.

Cookiecrumb, and C) it's beginning to be a bore.

Katiez, there are those who feel that grass-fed beef should be grain finished and those who feel grain-finishing is not good for cattle because it's not natural for them to eat, adds more fat that isn't good for people, and is cruel because it is done in small pens where the cattle stand up to their hocks in their own shit. But grass-raised beef _is_ more expensive, so those who like grass-raised have to be prepared to pay more.

Kailyn, I'm going to try Great America one of these days...

Greg, they are close to you - try it!

Saturday, August 25, 2012  
Blogger kudzu said...

So glad you agree with my passion for this new place. It's a dream come true for me. Happy you shared the news!

Sunday, August 26, 2012  
Blogger kudzu said...

PS Just in case you've forgotten, kudzu is mygoogle name. Pat

Sunday, August 26, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kudzu, I had not forgotten. :-) Thanks for the tip! We had a scrumptious lunch there!

Sunday, August 26, 2012  
Blogger Chilebrown said...

I will never bore you again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Chilebrown, you don't bore me, ever. It's just that we need to agree to disagree about grain-finished vs. grass-fed beef. I don't think I'm going to convince you, nor are you likely to convince me. :-)

Sunday, August 26, 2012  
Anonymous Evil Empress said...

Ohhh... we'll have to join you in a future visit to this place. Sounds divine and right up our alley!

Sunday, August 26, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Evil Empress, now, that would be fun! Let's plan on it!

Monday, August 27, 2012  

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