San Francisco might not be known for its BBQ cultures like Kansas City or Memphis, but the Golden City is a magnet that has attracted all the best BBQ styles from across America.
Do you want deliciously simple downhome BBQ? How about the unique experience of forgoing meat and enjoying vegan BBQ?
One of the things I enjoy most about San Francisco is you can find anything you’re looking for, from the traditional to something delightfully unique.
Check out my list of the best BBQ Restaurants San Francisco has to offer!
705 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
BBQ wizard Ryan Farr opened this locally-owned meat company and eatery in the North of the Panhandle neighborhood in 2009. One of the first things I noticed about 4505 was the smell, look and feel of the place.
Farr uses one of the few historic wood-fired BBQ pits in San Francisco, and even from outside the restaurant, you’re enveloped in that wood smell that makes it clear you’re about to eat quality BBQ.
In my opinion, BBQ tastes better outside, and those who agree can enjoy delicious wood-smoked brisket on 4505’s extensive outdoor patio.
576 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Memphis Minnie’s has provided the great taste of Southern BBQ to San Francisco for more than 20 years.
The first thing you notice about this BBQ joint is its bright red building front and laid-back diner atmosphere.
This atmosphere fits perfectly the Lower Haight neighborhood’s unassuming yet high-quality vibe. This joint features a special each Tuesday to Friday.
They are all worth eating, but if you’re only able to go one day, I suggest ordering the Minnie’s Maxi Burger on Friday.
The patty is a mix of chuck and brisket. It’s topped with house-made pimento cheese, cured and smoked bacon, and fried onion strings.
It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting the Smokin’ Warehouse Barbecue on 3336 Sacramento St. or 1465 Carroll Ave., you get the same quality meat.
Chef and owner Bill Lee has been serving in San Francisco for more than a decade. Both locations look slightly hole-in-the-wall, but as any good foodie knows – that’s where you find the good stuff!
You can’t go wrong with the pulled pork or brisket, but I recommend trying out the Fried Catfish Po’Boy.
The Lousiana-style fried fish with Sriracha mayo and coleslaw is so tasty you might order a second one to go.
3149 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
This BBQ joint sits in the urban village of Bernal Heights. The neighborhood is known for its eclectic vibe making Baby Blues BBQ the perfect fit.
The restaurant features a delicious mix of Memphis and Texas-style BBQ, making your mouth water the second you walk in the door.
There’s a lot of great food on Baby Blues’ menu. They have the standard fare, including:
Their cornbread is also pretty darn good! No matter what you choose as your entree, I recommend you finish your meal off with some of their delicious banana pudding. It’s made from scratch in-house and worth saving room for.
between Brannan, 680 8th St, Townsend St Ste. 170, San Francisco, CA 94103
The South of Market, SoMa, district of San Francisco is a large district home to AT&T Park, the world-famous San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Hardwood Bar & Smokery.
Perhaps the BBQ joint isn’t on the level of the San Francisco Giants’ home stadium as far as attractions go, but the food is better!
If forced to choose just one thing from this menu, I would have to go with their Mesquite BBQ Chicken.
They use local white oak and mesquite charcoal to smoke some of the best chicken in San Francisco. Hardwood also mixes a great-tasting Moscow Mule if you want a drink with your BBQ.
2534 Mandela Parkway, Oakland, CA 94607
Pitmaster Matt decided to open his BBQ restaurant in Downtown Oakland to participate in the food, art, and music migration happening in the city.
Horn Barbecue merges the styles of Central Texas and the Deep South into what Matt calls West Coast BBQ. This unique flavor is worth the trip across the bay!
Horn has a meat-filled menu, complete with all the savory and sweet sides you would expect from one of the best BBQ restaurants in San Francisco.
I recommend taking advantage of their by-the-half-pound offerings if you’re a local or have access to a fridge.
If you are looking for something beyond brisket and pulled pork, you can’t go wrong with trying a pork hot link or jalapeno and cheddar link.
301 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105
This upscale BBQ restaurant is the product of a collaboration by Chefs Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry.
The world-traveling pair have brought their experience with international BBQ techniques to the South Beach neighborhood just blocks away from San Fran’s Bay.
You will find all the standard BBQ joint fare here with unique additions, such as Thai Snapper and Main Lobster Mac.
The main draw for me is their rib selection. You can get St. Louis-style or go international with Korean or Mexican style.
If you choose to go with the Mexican-style ribs, try pairing them with an Oaxacan Standoff. This mezcal cocktail is a must-try!
2399 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Pete Koutoulas began serving the Mission District more than 40 years ago. This restaurant doesn’t serve traditional BBQ, as the meat is cooked in a rotisserie.
But that doesn’t make it any less delicious. There’s a reason this family eatery has thrived for four decades in a city that sees plenty of restaurant turnover.
Everything about Pete’s screams local family diner. It’s a place to sit down and have as much fun chatting with the cooks and servers as you do eating.
If you can’t decide what to eat, I say go with the rotisserie chicken. It’s tender, juicy, and cooked to perfection.
500 Lake Park Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
Vegan Mob started as a mission by local father and chef Toriano Gordan who wanted to serve up healthy plant-based BBQ. Trust me when I tell you this restaurant offers some of the best flavors in San Francisco.
It can be difficult to choose between so many unique options at this one-of-a-kind BBQ and soul food restaurant, which is why I recommend going all out and getting the Combo Plate.
You can choose four proteins from options such as:
- Plant-based brisket
- Vegan shrimp
- Vegan chicken
Throw in three sides from choices like cajun potato salad, candied yams, and their famous Mob Fries. Even the most hardcore carnivore won’t regret going vegan for the night!
2036 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123
Westwood is the place to go if you want a solid burger and stiff drink. Kick back and enjoy the Western atmosphere and live entertainment.
You can take a stroll down Fillmore St. to Marina Green Park when you’ve finished eating. You get great views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge from the park.
I recommend The Westwood Burger. You get a double house-blend patty, sesame brioche bun, and sweet pickles, all topped with Chef’s special sauce and a side of fries.
Westwood serves 150 American Whiskeys to choose from. So it’s the perfect place to go for delicious food and a strong drink.
303 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
This South of Market restaurant does a great job merging upscale and community eatery. Social 303 positions itself as a community gathering place featuring California-grown and raised ingredients.
Check out their menu before going, as it rotates throughout the year to keep things fresh. I love a good pulled pork sandwich for lunch here.
Social 303 includes crisp apple fennel slaw and sub-smoked mushrooms to make a sandwich that puts a great twist on a BBQ classic. If you want a drink with your meal, this smokehouse offers a decent selection at attractive price points.
2619 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
This Mission District eatery is the place to go if you want to start your day off with a smile. Smile BBQ is only open for breakfast and lunch. It’s a local destination for:
- French toast
- Roast pork
- Fried chicken and waffles
I love a good hole-in-the-wall diner, and Smile BBQ is a classic example of a rough-around-the-edges restaurant filled with great-tasting, affordable food.
I recommend getting there early for breakfast if you’re on a time crunch because this local favorite can get busy.