Berkeley BBQ - Favorites ?

I stopped at BBQ hut today, peculiar location at Alcatraz and Shattuck ( not far from dearly departed Flint’s ) and a very nice bit of brisket. Annoyance was the small portion for the price, benefit was parking, and quality of brisket. A little bit of smoke, a little bit of fat, a little crispy on the outside, “spicy” sauce ( optional ) was a nice middle ground, really and all-around nice bit of brisket.

Perdition - didn’t love it. Need to give it another shot.
Smokey Joe’s - haven’t tried it.
Everett and Jones - Soft spot for this place, haven’t been there a decade tho
Brick Pig - see it on yelp haven’t tried it
KC’s - haven’t tried it
T Rex - haven’t tried it in a LONG time
Smoke - haven’t tried it

That’s a lot of BBQ in a nice tight cluster ! I look forward to hearing favorites & comparisons.

We always takeout our BBQ, so that might make a difference.

Smokey J’s was our favorite until Perdition opened. Smokey is consistent with both ribs and brisket and I like their two red sauces, mild and spicy. Sides are solid.

Perdition has great brisket, pulled pork, slaw, and beans. Other items are very good too, those just happen to be my favorites. They can sometimes tend toward the salty but not so bad that I can’t dial it back with a carb. A little more expensive but justified by quality in my opinion.

Everett and Jones (Jack London) was hit or miss. I loved their chicken but one time it was too dry. Sides are pretty average.

Not in Berkeley, but B-side in Oakland is third on my list behind Smokey. I haven’t had anything bad there, but their pricing is higher than Perdition and their food is not better than Smokey’s. The only BBQ I am aware of that is more expensive than B-side is 4505. If I’m going to splurge on BBQ then I am going to ship it in from Texas!

When Perdition’s brisket is good, it’s really good: butter fat and meat that falls apart. However, they do have a consistency issue - I’ve had dry brisket with chewy fat. I find myself at Perdition more because of their late hours, good beer selection, and their sides (they sometimes have a cauliflower or broccoli salad with walnuts, shredded carrots, and raisins that I adore).

Everett and Jones brisket with their spicy sauce is in my rotation. And, since I am a sides person, I have to give a shout out to their peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, and potato salad. I always order an extra side of potato salad, and like clockwork, the person behind the counter always tells me that it comes with potato salad already. Yes, I do mean 2 helpings!

Smoke has juicy chicken. Others have told me the tea smoked salmon is fantastic, but I eat so much salmon at home (we catch King salmon out of Half Moon Bay and silvers in Alaska), that I don’t eat it at restaurants.

The last two times I’ve been to T-Rex, the brisket was dry. I like their mac and cheese, but I don’t go for their BBQ anymore.

Smokey J’s on Shattuck has good hot links, but I can’t remember the other meats. It’s been awhile since I went there. Is there a Smokey Joe’s in Berkeley also?

Although not in Berkeley, I also like Phat Matt’s. I can’t decide if I like the brisket, pulled pork, or the hot links the best, so I get a 3-way. They have tri-tip there, too, but I haven’t tried it yet.

I’ve been meaning to try Brick Pig. I’ll have to put it on the short list.

Interesting - so neither of you have tried BBQ Hut? I recommend it, at least once. Don’t know if they’re consistent.

I’ve been to BBQ Hut twice. It’s…fine. Just doesn’t blow me away, especially when I think about the BBQ I’ve had in true BBQ parts of the country. Smokey J’s isn’t bad, and similar in quality, but a greater variety of meats–including rib tips at times. They have more generous sides though. I know it’s crazy to judge a BBQ joint on the sides, but I guess that goes to show how meh I am about both of them.

Smokey J on Shattuck is in Berkeley. I like their chicken.

I like Smoke, for the atmosphere as much as the food. There are two items that are either specials or off-menu, pastrami and ham, that are really good. They’ll serve them up as sandwiches on good rye bread, with a slice of cheese for the ham. Great mac-and-cheese, too. ETA: I forgot about their excellent smoked lamb, another special/off menu thing.

Smokey J also does pastrami as a Tuesday special.

Everett and Jones is different in that they keep their meats in the smoker, pulling them out to slice. Other places wrap the meats in foil and keep them in a hot locker. They get a lot of traffic, so the meats don’t have time to dry out.

I’ve been eating at KC BBQ since my 1st job out of college in 1976. Their shortend dinner is invariably sweet and tender and their sauce tangy. The links are meaty and coarsely ground.

I did got through a phase a few years ago when I would go to Bo’s BBQ in Lafayette when I was out that way for other purposes. Their meat was so good it didn’t need sauce but the quality seemed to have decreased after awhile.

Since I like KC so much, I rarely try any new places, although I am tempted by BBQ Hut when I drive down Alcatraz (as recently as yesterday as a matter of fact). I wasn’t that impressed by Smoke. Everett and Jones will do in a pinch like when KC is closed on the holidays.

Berkeley’s Perdition Smokehouse shut down yesterday…for good.

Whoa, so they have.

I was going to get lunch today to take advantage of the free holiday parking, but decided on pizza instead.

Wow - I was just there on Saturday and was going to post about how good the brisket was (although the beans were not as good). Still have leftovers in my fridge. We were just remarking that the place was never very crowded on weekend lunches.

The Express article also says that B-Side closed down earlier this year.


What??!!! That’s horrible!

Hmm, that is unfortunate. It was leading the pack in my book for brisket–noticeably smoky and tender, with a tasty rub. I have stopped by BBQ Hut at one time and gotten brisket, and thought it good but not particularly special. Also, their evening hours tend to end pretty early. Similarly for Smoke, with the added caveat that they would try to smother it in sauce unless you requested otherwise.
I’ve kind of lumped the other, older school BBQ places together in my head since trying in my early days in the East Bay, circa 2007. Everett and Jones, Flint’s on Shattuck (long closed), and Brick Pig all seemed like smokiness wasn’t their primary concern, perhaps tenderness was. Meats (I know I’ve ordered ribs and brisket) would generally come heavily sauced in what reads as a very sweet sauce to me. I just accepted this as Oakland-style BBQ and assumed it was something I didn’t really care for.

Not East bay but the lightly smoked short rib at Liholiho (SF) is pretty consistent

note the marbling

the one time I waited in line at 4505 on divisidero, the brisket came out disappointingly dry

for a daytime brisket fix, I like the (non bbq) boiled brisket at R&g lounge (sf chinatown ). It may not look like much but it’s tender with good garlic flavor. While there, you might as well get the crispy pork shoulder with crackly skin

For ribs, the smoked pork rib at Monsieur Benjamin (SF) is good although very rich

Robert Lauriston liked Perdition…has anyone seen him posting here?

Check out Food Talk Central.

Smoke on San Pablo will be shutting down July 31.

It isn’t clear what the landlord intends to
do with the space. The Smoke owners said something about an office
building, but this Berkeleyside article says “a new drive-through
car wash”.


I’m surprised at the comments both on Berkeleyside and Facebook saying Smoke was too expensive. Everett & Jones is a little cheaper, but KC is about the same price as Smoke, and the old T-Rex was quite a bit more expensive. Smoke was paying a low rent, and I’m not sure they can find a space in town for a similar price.

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Smoke found a new location. They’ll be taking over the kitchen at Spats, that bar on Shattuck at Berkeley Way. It should be very popular with students.


Wonder if Berkeley will require them to jump through the same hoops that KC BBQ has been struggling with? I wouldn’t hold my breath for any early opening, LOL.