The common wisdom used to be that San Franciscans couldn't barbecue.
Not only are a few local pitmasters doing their damndest to disprove this old saw, but Michele Manfredi has concocted a barbecue sauce just for San Franciscans.
In mixing up SFQ ($7 for 9 ounces), newly available at local Whole Foods Markets as well as Bi-Rite and Rainbow, Manfredi thought through the question, "What should San Francisco-style barbecue taste like?"
She started with tomatoes, of course, using an organic ketchup base doctored with iconic tastes locals love: hoisin sauce, coffee, oak-aged red wine vinegar and cocoa powder.
And here's the thing: The assemblage works. The flavor grows brighter in the seconds after you first taste it, brown sugar the prologue to vinegar's sharp snap, followed by the richness of spiced tomato and, finally, the chile heat you expected all along.
Because few of us have room for smokers to produce San Francisco-style ribs, the sauce is ideal incorporated into baked Rancho Gordo beans, spooned onto burgers made with Marin Sun Farms beef or even basted onto grilled Tofu Yu garlic-pepper firm tofu.
We're keeping it around for the next batch of potatoes we roast, too.