Wexler's Back BBQ: An Airy Hush Puppies | San Francisco

The hush puppies at Wexler's Back may outshine the barbecue

Is it truly a hush puppy if you can't brain a dog with it?

Most of us are accustomed to thinking of the fried cornmeal balls as solid, even leaden.

But the hush puppies ($4) at Wexler's Back, Matt Wexler and Charlie Kleinman's barbecue truck, are astonishingly insubstantial: Crunch through the exterior and you encounter eggy, airy centers flecked with golden cornmeal.

Kleinman concocted the recipe for the truck, substituting cornmeal for much of the wheat flour in a traditional pâte à choux (cream puff) dough, then dosing the batter with enough black and red pepper to prickle with spice. "They're my favorite side, too," the chef admits.

The truck, which parks on the street behind the restaurant from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, serves a menu of straightforward barbecued meats. The best of them: Kleinman's silky pulled pork ($8 for a sandwich), light on applewood smoke but shiny with its own juices. Order a platter ($10) and you'll be prompted for two sides. The mustard-spiked potato salad ($4) is certainly worth one spot on the plate.

Or you could just double down on the puppies.

Wexler's Back, 565 Commercial St. (at Montgomery St.), 415-832-0494, wexlerssf.com/back.htm