[West Oakland] Horn Barbecue

Horn Barbecue, West Oakland, CA.
Much has been written about Matt Horn’s new brick and mortar, and let’s just say it lived up to the hype. I had read about 2 hour waits so pre-ordered instead. On Saturday at 1:00 the line looked to be about 30-45 minutes, so next time I’ll wait in line. BBQ sold by the pound, but pre-ordering there is 2 lb minimum for brisket, etc. If you wait in line you can order 1/4 lb minimum and can try more variety. Pre-order brisket is half fatty half lean. Strong peppery bark, deep smokey flavor and perfectly rendered fat, falling apart in the fatty, which is my preference. Collards were decent, but a little bland. Pit beans were great, super smokey from pit drippings with bits of brisket. Easily the best BBQ I’ve had in the Bay Area, and best since my last trip to Austin.
Swung by Ono Bakehouse in Berkeley for a chocolate haupia pie and Queen Emma slice cake with guava, passionfruit and coconut. I love tropical flavors and these were great!
Oakland has some great new additions to the food scene.


Totally envious of both the bbq and tropical desserts! Drool…

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Did they run out of anything at 1pm on Saturday?

Hmm, I really don’t know because I was picking up my pre-order, which is a different line. I did see people continue to get in line as I was leaving, so there appeared to be plenty of BBQ, but I don’t know if they had everything on the menu. When I pre-ordered my brisket they were out of links.


How long was the wait in line for pre-orders? That seems like the way to go.

No real wait 5-10 minutes, they give you a specific time to pick up. The downside of pre-orders are the minimums, 2 lbs for brisket or pulled pork, only large sides and the massive beef ribs were a 3 piece minimum, which was something like $130, so unless you are ordering for a large group (or are a competitive eater), you are limited in how much variety you can try. If you wait in line you could get one beef rib, 1/4 lb of brisket, 1/4 lb of pulled pork, etc.

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Thanks for the info. That is helpful to know. I really dislike lines for food (see food trucks) so order ahead makes sense…but only for a crowd as you suggest.

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Second visit. Saturday at 12:30, line not bad maybe 40 minutes. They ran out of the beef ribs as soon as we got in line. Tried the ribs, chicken, hot link, fatty brisket again and sides of pit beans and mac-n-cheese. Ribs had the same peppery rub as the brisket, but seemed overcooked and dried out. Chicken was also somewhat dry with tough skin. Hot link had pretty finely ground meat and heavy powdery spice taste, mostly cumin and cayenne, rather than beefy. I was kind of disappointed in the ribs, chicken and hot link.
Fatty brisket was again, sublime. I’d like to try one of those beef ribs someday, but think I’m going to stick with the brisket, which is world class.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold