SF barbecue joint serving mesquite-smoked spare ribs & briskets from Creekstone Farms.
Hardwood Bar & Smokery is not your typical American barbecue restaurant. It’s a distinction that’s not immediately obvious to the untrained eye. Many of Hardwood’s food appears traditional. For instance, the ever popular brisket, slow-smoked for 15 hours and sourced from Creekstone Farms, is cooked Texas-style with just salt and pepper, giving the meat a pure and beefy flavor. But a further glance at the menu reveals Hardwood’s differences. The pork ribs are flavored with a Chinese char siu inspired rub. There’s Dry Fried Chicken Wings, a dish that’s an homage to Cantonese Salt and Pepper chicken wings. The wood used in Hardwood’s smokers are sourced entirely from Northern California. Hardwood isn’t a recreation of Southern American barbecue—it’s a restaurant that’s crafting a unique style of Northern California barbecue. All of this comes from the vision of Albert Lee, the owner of Hardwood Bar & Smokery. A native of San Francisco, Albert is a restaurateur with an extensive background in the bar and club business. A man with a deep passion for food, he realized that the Bay Area, especially SF, was severely lacking in American barbecue. Hardwood Bar & Smokery was his answer to that culinary gap. But he also didn’t want to copy everything about Southern barbecue. “We don’t want to be compared to that. They have their influences and we have ours,” said Albert. Instead, he was inspired by the global flavors and cultures of the Bay Area and his staff. In essence, that’s the story of Hardwood Bar & Smokery. This is a restaurant with a culinary tale, detailing a version of American barbecue that’s both authentic and solely unique to Northern California.