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Thread: California > San Francisco: CatHead's BBQ

  1. #1
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    San Jose, CA

    California > San Francisco: CatHead's BBQ

    CatHead's BBQ
    1665 Folsom St.
    San Francisco, CA

    Let's cut to the chase...the term "cathead" refers to the size of the biscuits served at CatHead's BBQ, a buttermilk biscuit said to be "as big as a cat’s head". I had one and it was a mighty fine biscuit. It better have been for $5, with a little container of honey butter and pepper jelly on the side.

    CatHead's is the brain-child of Pamela Schafer and Richard Park, a couple that met in culinary school in 2004, moved to the big city, started a BBQ restaurant, and eventually took over the location of San Francisco's iconic Big Nate's BBQ founded by Golden State Warrior star Nate Thurmond.

    This joint serves the usual suspects--pork shoulder, chicken whole and pulled, brisket, spareribs, hot links, and for the SF vegetarian crowd a Maker's Mark portobello 'shroom and a cornmeal-crusted tofu--available as plate lunches, sandwiches, and by the pound. A sweet tomato-based barbecue sauce, a mustard-based sauce, and a bright yellow habanero hot sauce in a tiny squeeze bottle are available at each table.

    Sides are limited to pimento mac & cheese, baked beans, dandelion green potato salad, collard greens, and two types of slaw: mustard or habanero. There's a cookie and a bread pudding for dessert. Beer, soft drinks, and tea both sweet and unsweet are available. And don't forget the biscuits! They come in "cathead" and "mini cathead" sizes.

    Things were a little slow when I arrived before 11:30am on a Wednesday, but business picked up by the time I left. I sampled 1/4 lb of the Coca-Cola brisket and the pork shoulder, and 4 bones of St. Louis style spareribs. These came arranged on a small sheet pan with chow-chow (pickled veggies) as a garnish. I also got the cathead biscuit, served with the honey butter and pepper jelly on the side.

    The brisket was the star of the meats. I got some crunchy end bits and some lean and some fatty slices. Really nicely done, with just a slight drizzle of a sweet sauce applied by the chef. The pulled pork came in second, mixed with some sweet sauce to add flavor and moisture. The ribs came in third, with a couple of decent ribs in the middle surrounded by two kind of sad, dried up ones on either side. Nice flavor, though.

    The biscuit lived up to its reputation. Warm with a crispy time I might show up with a pound of room temperature butter and just order the biscuits...they're that good.

    I found a parking space in the lot adjacent to the building, five spaces total. It's an awkward, narrow little lot that you pull into and back out of. If you can't find a space in the lot, you're parking on the street. Good luck with that.

    CatHead's BBQ is a little joint with a few picnic-style tables in the dining room and a smallish counter where you can sit and watch the staff work the brick pits in the open kitchen. You can't miss the bright red exterior...make sure to check-out the fun mural on the side of the building facing the parking lot.

    Here are a few photos...enjoy!

    OK, the biscuits aren't quite this big.

    The menu board, a pretty simple affair.

    My meal.

    The CatHead Biscuit. Yum.

    The brisket was the star of the barbecued meats.

    The pulled pork shoulder was very good. The mustard-based sauce served at the table was a nice compliment.


  2. #2
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    San Jose, CA

    Four bones of spareribs. Two sad, two decent.

    The counter seating area with view of the brick pits.

    The small dining room with picnic-style tables.

    Not sure why there's a gas pump in the entry area, but it's cool looking.

    The fun mural on the side of the restaurant. That cat's dreaming of great barbecue!

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