[Oakland] Smokin Woods BBQ at Forage Kitchen cafe

Looks like the Forage Kitchen cafe is now serving Smokin Woods BBQ Su, M, Th and Fri. Their Google search entry says they are the best BBQ in the Bay Area. Has anyone tried? And if so, is it decent compared to real BBQ joints in the South?

If I am in Oakland its usually Saturdays, but i want to see if its worth the effort to stop by on Sundays instead. Thanks.

tried Smokin Woods BBQ monday. when they opened 11:30, nothing was available to serve. BBQ meat had to be warmed up in oven.

12 o’clock, some meats ready, sides not.
brisket plate (14) had 2 large pieces of lean nonfatty brisket meat, had smoky taste
-smokin taste stayed in my throat for hours, doubt it was the original BBQ sauce
-potato salad still in referigerated state. could feel it in my stomach for hours.
definitely housemade.

maybe it was an off day. only one guy working, he showed up just before 11:30.
tried their food at eat real festival. seem average. food not prepped at eat real site.


got feedback from another foodie that the smokin taste in my throat was liquid smoke, a short cut to “smoke” meat.

I stopped by recently and have to say it was the best BBQ I’ve had in the Bay Area, though I wouldn’t necessarily say that is a high bar. I got the links, brisket, and pork ribs and all were served unsauced by default (which is my strong preference). All were quite meaty and flavorful, not intensely smoky, only the brisket was not as moist as ideal and was helped by a dunk in the sauce, which was not too sweet and sticky, my main complaint about many old-school Bay Area places. I had asked the woman at the counter what her preference was between the chicken and the links, as I am typically indifferent to both, but her suggestion of the links turned out to be my favorite meat in the bunch. They had a fairly grainy texture, with intense but not too spicy flavor.

In contrast, 4505 Meats has a delivery operation running out of the former Grand Fare market and the pulled pork and brisket I got from them were mooshy with little smoke or meat flavor, though the pulled pork was helped by the sauce included by default/necessity.


I meant to mention that the sides were also excellent. I could eat those greens every day and the mac and cheese made me get what people mean when they talk about comfort food (and I don’t usually get it).

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I am curious, what was your previous best BBQ shop?

By the way, looks like they are on the move to Temescal

As my comments suggest, I hadn’t really noted any BBQ that was a standout for me. I found the classic East Bay places (eg. Flint’s, Everett & Jones, The Brick Pig’s House) lacking in the juicy, smoky meat department and more reliant on a sticky sweet sauce. Memphis Minnies and 4505 are just meh, and at somewhat higher prices that translates to not worth it.

When appliance shopping in the area, I tried Just Potato Salad based on a Luke Tsai review. It was probably my previous leader–a nice smoky flavor, great sides. While I wouldn’t travel far out of my way for either Just Potato Salad or Smokin’ Woods, I’ll definitely go back to both without hesitation.

Smokin Woods BBQ
4307 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609

SUNDAY: 1:00P - 10:00P
MONDAY: 11:30A - 3:00P & 5:00P - 10:00P

excerpt from Eater.com:

Along with his two brothers and his mother Vermilyea Jordan, the Woodward is reminding Oakland of its barbecue history through dishes like Jordan’s mac and cheese, St. Louis-style spare ribs, and smokey beef ribs. “This is what Oakland was about, and we’re going to bring it back.”