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Everett & Jones lost a BBQ Trial
versus Memphis Minnie's and Brother-in-Law's

Everett & Jones
3411 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland
Map This Restaurant

Pretrial hearing at Lucky 13
11/15/02

McClure

Other than a spiffy name, Everett & Jones, there is nothing remarkable about the place.

While the other fellows were ordering their Q I took the opportunity to have a peek around the neighborhood. I explored an alleyway next to the freeway and with every step a new spotlight shined to guide my way. How nice of the residents to keep the alley safe. I decided that an intruder might not be welcome so I made haste back to the deserted street and into the comfort of E & J.

Out front.I decided to go light on my order, already wondering why we'd journeyed across the bridge for BBQ when Memphis Minnie's is so close and so tasty. Well, you gotta see what's out there. I went for the pork ribs (small), called an open-faced sandwich. Not really a sandwich but a goodly portion of ribs for $6.50. The meat was okay but not particularly flavorful; the sauce I requested was spicy and quite good. The bread, slices of white, part of the sandy, were on the side and came in handy for soaking up some o' the sauce.  My meal came with decent potato salad but I was disappointed that no cornbread was available.

Overall the meal was decent, worth the price of admission but not the commute.  If you live in Oakland maybe give it a try, or you could head over this way and check out Memphis Minnie's. Or, better yet, let us know where the great BBQ is in the East Bay.

 

The Iron BootTurner

"Do you know what it's like to fall in the mud and get kicked, in the head, with an iron boot? Of course you don't, no one does, that never happens."* But that's what it's like trying to find a plate of decent barbecue in this region. Heck, we went ALL THE WAY to Oakland looking for it, only to feel again the sting from the iron boot of mediocre 'cue.

Don't get me wrong, it's okay "food" they're serving up there at Everett and Jones. But when one has supped at the likes of Arthur Bryant's in Missouri, The Georgia Pig in Georgia, and Kreuz's Market in Texas, one develops standards. Standards so high they can never be matched, perhaps. But such is my lot in life, and I refuse to accept that good BBQ can't be produced in San Francisco! I won't abide it!

We had high hopes for Everett and Jones, as they seem to be somewhat legendary. Award winning, I believe. So we actually ventured over a bridge, out of the city, for the first freaking time (as the Füd Court.) They've got several locations, E&J do, but we went to this one for no particular reason. I assume the food's all the same. Anyway, it's a down-homey kind of soul kitchen place, if you like that kind of thing. I do, and had the hopes.

I went for the 2-Way Combo, pork ribs and beef brisket. I also ordered a side of beans to go with my potato salad and bread (which come with everything). But the beans never showed up. By the time I finished, I was so demoralized I didn't even bother. Not sure if I was charged for them or not. Think I was. That two-way goes for $10.75, and is probably worth it based on portion size. But my "ribs" were barely recognizable as ribs. I guess I got the last of the end pieces or something, because it was half gristle and not one full-bone meaty rib was to be had. The sauce was good enough, and it better be, because they put it on for you. But the rib meat was hardly smoky tasting at all. Disappointing. The brisket, as I recall, was tough, and also not that smoky. The menu says it's "smoked for hours in our brick pit with a special marinade that gives it the tasty outer crust," but I just don't buy it. Well, I bought it, but I won't buy it again. The potato salad was potato salad and the bread was bread. I think it was actually that white-wheat bread, not white bread proper. Which is fine, but I can get that out of a bag from Safeway.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Memphis Minnie's is still the only decent barbecue I've had in San Francisco. We're heading to Cliff's next, and maybe Bo's (way out in wherever) that's supposed to be good. Maybe there's hope. But for now, this BBQ quest is enough to make a preacher lay down his bible.

* Rex Kramer, Airplane

 

Vardigan

Have you heard of an underchange? We hadn't either. Before this. See, things took on new meaning, new emotions were felt, and new words were invented as the judges and Randy Half-Man Half-Antin drove over the Bay Bridge for the very first time in Füd Court history.

Ay ay ay!!Yeah! I'm not kidding! It really happened. And I'm not sure we were prepared. In the photo here, Judge McC wears a fearful, perplexed look as he inspects the directions. I wore one too -- we all did. Especially when we got lost and began to speak of the underchange.
"Aren't we supposed to go under that…underchange there?"
"We just went under that. And why are you calling it an underchange?"
"I am perplexed."
"Do the directions say anything about an underchange?"
"I have the fear."

An excerpt from our conversation in the Ninja's Jetta, whose soft blue digital interior glow was not enough to soothe on this occasion. We were rattled by the time we found Everett & Jones, but the Ninja found a spot right in front (just as he had earlier in front of Lucky 13), and the sweet smell of smoke passed over the underchange of our noses, and soon we had adjusted our attitudes.

We shouldn't have. Because quickly we were disillusioned and despondent (why do I use this word so much in restaurant reviews?) at the taste and tenderness of our two-way combos. Lack of tenderness, I should say. The meat on the ribs required incredible industry just to chew into swallowing condition. How can rib meat be like that? But, here in the East Bay, land of underchanges, it was, and we cursed ourselves for crossing that bridge.

I can say the beef links were excellent. They were pre-sauced, like everything else. Everett & Jones's sauce is pretty good, and these links were very good. Homemade, hand-stuffed, with a nice kick (I ordered hot sauce). If I went back, I think I'd get those, and nothing else. But I don't think I'll go back. It's too far away. On the Bay Area barbecue list, I'd put Everett & Jones a distant third behind Memphis Minnie's and Brother-in-Law's. Next stop on the barbecue trail: Cliff's.

 

Guest Judge Ninja

Great parking.

Coke was good.

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