Edward Calhoun and Elizabeth Wells opened Southpaw BBQ and Southern Cooking in the Mission almost a year ago. With a selection of proteins and a choice of sides served on cafeteria-style metal trays, they served decent enough BBQ, fried catfish and oysters. Earlier this summer, they brought in Chef Max Hussey, whose résumé includes stints at Epic Roasthouse, 25 Lusk and Emeril’s in New Orleans. With his extensive experience with smokers and Southern fare, the food got even better. Gone are the fried seafood options, but the metal trays have remained.
Southpaw features a daily Happy Hour with great prices on drinks and menu items. We couldn’t turn down the super tasty brisket sliders which came with slices of smoked bacon:
They were out of their in-house brewed beer, so we got a Deschutes Black Butte Porter and a Moscow Mule:
We also ordered a couple of smoked pulled pork tacos and a smoked pork meat pie served with salsa verde. The fried meat pie was a little too greasy for our tastes, but the tacos were really good (it’s a Lytro living picture, so click on the tacos to bring it into better focus):
They offer at least 6 different kinds of BBQ sauces stored in beer cardboard containers. Other sauces, such as the Alabama white and extra hot are served on request:
Another evening, we returned for dinner to try out their newer menu items. We started by ordering a House Sazerac (Old Overholt Rye, tea syrup, Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters) and a House Old Fashioned (Bulleit Rye, pecan syrup, orange bitters):
Perhaps in preparation for the holiday eating season, the menu included a Flintstone-esque dry rubbed smoked turkey leg. The brined dark meat was moist and very tasty, but it was hard to finish since it was truly super-sized:
We also ordered the whiskey brined chicken which was also moist and smoky delicious. Fried cornmeal hushpuppies came with the meal which served as a great vehicle for the many different BBQ sauces:
The side dishes also got better with the change in chefs. Some of the side dish choices are seasonal, like the cheesy rich cauliflower and bacon gratin (top) and beet salad (bottom). We also ordered mac and cheese and potato salad to accompany our poultry-based BBQ dinner (click anywhere in the picture below to check out the Lytro living picture refocus feature):
There have been a spate of BBQ places that have opened in San Francisco over the past year or so, but Southpaw holds its own under the much improved food by Chef Hussey. They have the ability to brew beer in-house, but it doesn’t seem to always be available. The cocktails tend to run on the sweet side, but the whiskey-based cocktails can pair well with the spice and smokiness of the meats.