All of a sudden, barbecue is booming in the North Bay. In the past few months, three new barbecue joints have opened: Kinsmoke in Healdsburg, Sauced BBQ & Spirits in Petaluma and the Juicy Pig in Guerneville.
Kinsmoke (304 Center St., Healdsburg; 707.473.8440), located in what was the Center Street Deli, doesn't claim any one style of barbecue, but instead serves a little bit of everything—Texas-style beef brisket (very good), St. Louis pork ribs and North Carolina pulled pork, as well as burgers, wings, sausage and even a coffee-rubbed porterhouse steak. Once you find a seat in the always-crowded dining room, your server will drop a quintet of sauces on your table. My favorite is the vinegar-based North Carolina–style sauce.
Sauced (151 Petaluma Blvd. S., Petaluma; 707.410.4400) weaves a little Tex-Mex into its menu ("rednexican" nachos, chili con queso, puffy pork-belly tacos), but it's all about the slow-cooked meats and sandwiches. Most exciting for me are the burnt-end sandwiches. The meat comes from the end pieces of brisket, and are crusty, juicy and flavorful—a rare treat and always in short supply. Bonus: Sauced also makes its own beer.
Located where Bucks Rivermill Dinner Theater used to be, the Juicy Pig (164400 Fourth St., Guerneville; 707.604.7120) brings brisket, North Carolina–style chopped pork, smoked chicken, St. Louis pork ribs, burgers and fat Reuben sandwiches with housemade pastrami to Guerneville's growing restaurant row.