Restaurant Review: 4505 Burgers and BBQ


4505 Burgers and BBQ 3-Meat Platter

4505 Burgers and BBQ 3-Meat Platter

4505 Burgers and BBQ opened recently along the Divisadero corridor in San Francisco and has quickly become a popular destination.  4505 Meats was established by Ryan and Cesalee Farr as an outgrowth of their interest in whole animal butchery.  They started teaching butchery classes and selling chicharrones.  Now 4505 Meats is establishing itself as a mini-empire in San Francisco, with a butcher store in the Mission selling meats and prepared foods and stands at the Ferry Market Terminal and various local food events like the Eat Real Fest in Oakland, where they sell magnificent sandwiches like “The Fat Bastard.”  I had made a pilgrimage last year to Austin, TX to visit Texas barbecue legends like Frankin Barbecue and John Mueller Meat Co., so I was excited to see how local meat experts 4505 stacked up.

The barbecue menu at 4505 Burgers and BBQ is traditional, with brisket, pulled pork, chicken, homemade sausage (hot or mild), and pork ribs.  I tried a 3-meat sampler platter with their brisket, pulled pork, and hot sausage.  The pulled pork was excellent, moist, and flavorful.  The sausage had snap and a good amount of heat.  The brisket was a lean cut and was very good with a slightly peppery bark.  The brisket did not quite reach the luscious heights of Franklin Barbecue, but was still very well done.  The “sweet and thick” barbecue sauce was really good.

The sides were definitely well thought-out and elevated.  I had the Frankaroni, deep-fried mac and cheese and 4505 hot dogs – delicious.  Well done creamy, mild cole slaw.  Excellent pickles and pickled onions to cut the richness of the meat.  Pillowy soft Parker rolls, slightly toasted and basted with butter.  This is a great barbecue platter!

On another visit, I had the smoked rib plate and thought the smoky flavor and barbecue char on the ribs was simply outstanding.  I have come back for the smoked rib plate, which is my favorite item on the menu.  I also tried the posole, a Mexican stew of meat and hominy garnished with cabbage, cilantro, radish, and lime that is is one of the more unusual options for a BBQ side dish.  This was also outstanding; there was so much flavor in this posole since they use all of the bits and pieces from the various barbecue meats.

On the sandwich side of the menu, they offer what they modestly call the “Best Damn Cheeseburger.”  It’s a very good burger, with melted cheese, lettuce, and onion, on a nicely toasted seeded bun.  Bacon and egg can be added on as extras.  They cure their own bacon, and I am pretty sure they also grind the meat for their burgers.  I had a side of spicy fries topped with chimchurri and lemon parsley aioli, which were good.  Hamburgers are offered at their late night window until 11pm on the weekends (there are several bars as well as The Independent concert venue in the neighborhood).

There is an extensive selection of beers on tap as well as non-alcoholic drinks.  The building is dominated by the open kitchen, which includes the barbecue smoker.  There are about six counter seats available inside, and a fenced off area with picnic tables outside.  Many people eat there, but a lot of people get their orders to go, “Pig in or Pig out” as the sign outside says.  4505 Burgers and BBQ is located on Divisadero in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco, a block away from The Mill.  Go to both places for a double whammy of great food.  Highly recommended.

4505 Burgers and BBQ, 705 Divisadero, San Francisco

Link to 4505 Meats site here, and 4505 Burgers and BBQ site here.

4505 Burgers & BBQ on Urbanspoon

 

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Restaurant Review: Franklin Barbecue (Austin, TX)


Franklin Barbecue Brisket, Pork Rib, Pulled Pork, Turkey, Sausage

Franklin Barbecue Brisket, Pork Rib, Pulled Pork, Turkey, Sausage

Franklin Barbecue started off as a food truck in 2009 and has morphed into a stand-alone restaurant that is enormously popular.  It has gotten a lot of press, to say the least.  The brisket was hyperbolically named best in the history of the world in 2011 by The Austin Chronicle (come to think of it, coming from a Texas publication, this might be true), and the same year Bon Appetit magazine declared Franklin the best barbecue in America.  Recently, Franklin has even been featured in a national Chase Sapphire Preferred commercial with Chef Aaron Franklin being visited by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa.  All of the buzz has resulted in lengthy waits.  People start lining up before 8am for the 11am opening time.  This is to get a coveted place under the covered awning on one side of the building to help escape the relentless, scorching Texas sun and heat (100 degrees when I visited in early September), and to ensure that the barbecue does not sell out.  I arrived on a Sunday morning at 8am, and was about 20th in line and got a place under the awning.  I finally made it inside after a three hour wait.  Thankfully, Franklin’s restaurant is air-conditioned!

Franklin serves beef brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, turkey, and sausage.  I got a ¼ pound sampler platter of each type of meat, along with one sausage link.  At the counter I got my first taste of the brisket, a generous sample cut by the chef.  Crisp bark, fatty richness, moist interior, and smoky flavor throughout really was extraordinary.  There are fatty and lean portions available, and I think the fatty portions are the best, but they are both great.  The pork rib was also outstanding.  Peppery bark, with tender flavorful interior meat.  The sausage was also excellent.  The turkey was moist and good, and the pulled pork was fair.  The stand-outs for me were that brisket, along with the pork rib and sausage.

Pickles are essential to cut the richness of all the meat.  Their cole slaw is really great, and the beans were OK in my opinion.

I got a pound of brisket to take home.  They wrap it in butcher paper and provide a plastic bag and some containers of three types of BBQ sauce.  Everyone was really friendly.  The brisket survived a plane trip home the same day and was delicious wrapped in foil and reheated at 350 for about twenty minutes.

This is the last in my series on Austin, a city I really liked.  Unique places like Franklin Barbecue, Qui, John Mueller, and East Side King make Austin a really great food destination.

Link to Franklin Barbecue website here.

Restaurant Review: John Mueller Meat Co. (Austin, TX)


John Mueller Meat Co. brisket, sausage, beef rib

John Mueller Meat Co. brisket, sausage, beef rib

John Mueller Meat Co. serves Texas barbecue in Austin.  John Mueller is quite famous in Austin for the quality of the barbecue and the several comebacks he has made in selling it (see a nice article here).

John Mueller serves his barbecue in an outdoor fenced in lot in East Austin at 2500 E. 6th Street, with an outdoor smoker, covered picnic tables, and a small trailer where the food is served.  They open at 1030 am, and when I went on a Saturday in September right before opening time there were only a few people in front of me.  The line is not nearly as long as some other places, which was much appreciated to avoid the unrelenting Texas sun and heat.  Mueller is there tending the smoker and sometimes passing out cans of ice cold Lone Star beer to customers.  Be forewarned: he is a little prickly about people taking pictures of the smoker, which I learned firsthand.

The beef rib was enormous and encrusted by a thick bark, under which was a huge amount of tender, smoky meat (see the detail on the right in the picture above).  The brisket was excellent – moist, luscious, peppery, complex, delicious.  It’s important to get a combination of both fatty and lean sections.  Barbecue this flavorful does not need sauce, but they serve a great vinegar-based sauce.  I was not as big a fan of the sausage (a little crumbly texturally) or the squash (a little too much cheese), but most importantly the brisket and beef rib make John Mueller Meat Co. definitely worth seeking out.

Link to John Mueller Meat Co. website here.

Great pics and descriptions of other Austin barbecue spots here.

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