Gorilla BBQ in Pacifica, CA…

… is monkey-licious. But you have to wait for it.

Waiting in line (that’s what an hour of your life looks like) for Gorilla BBQ loveliness.


NOTE: Somehow barbecue seems frivolous and least important, in light of what’s happening in Haiti. The images erase even a vigorous appetite; they remind me of the tsunami five years ago. My heart goes to Haiti and its people. And yet. Life goes on. Jerry was kind enough to write about his recent excursion to one of the Bay Area’s most famous BBQ joints, an adventure I had to miss. Enjoy….


One day last week while the Rambler stayed behind to “work,” I joined my folks for a jaunt up the California coastline to sample a local phenomenon: Gorilla BBQ, in Pacifica.

Run from a converted railroad boxcar with a smokestack out the back (“If it’s smokin’ we’re open!”), the menu is a blessedly simple mix-n-match of: BBQ pork ribs, chicken, beef brisket, pulled pork, hot links and a Philly cheese steak sandwich. With regulation BBQ sides. In a nod to local non-carniverous freaks, they also offer a portabella mushroom. I think it may be a trick: I saw no one order it.


The Right Honorable Mr. Rich Bacci, co-founder, in situ, taking orders. Full menu behind.

It took us a solid hour of waiting in line in the parking lot to get inside to place an order. All orders are carry-out: there are no tables. They open at noon and close when they run out of meat, which may occasionally last until 8 p.m., so go early. And if you have the chance, you will go early again and again and again.

A man who loves his work.

There is a simian theme here…

Simian theme continued.

The meat itself is fantastic. Utterly fantastic. Over-the-top fantastic. Obviously soaked for days in sugary-spicy goodness and then roasted for hours upon hours, the pork is dreamy-succulent, and (surprisingly) not too terribly greasy. Personal preference would call for a little less sugar and more chili and vinegar in the sauce, but common North American palates would likely disagree.

Pulled pork de-lite, with beans, sauce, corn, cornbread and coleslaw.

And, unlike the offerings at so many BBQ joints, the sides were properly cooked and flavorful, not globby starch lumps.

But Gorilla BBQ is really about the ribs. Which are whole ribs, nearly a foot long, including the tips and other pieces often trimmed off and sold as separate bits by cruel butchers.

“Falling off the bone,” “mouth-watering,” “succulent,” “heart-clogging,” “I need a bib” and all the other usual rib-descriptors apply, but in this case they are all fully justified. You also get a whole lot of pig for your yuan, a fairly uncommon occurrence in the Golden State.

BBQ Ribs: Ribs, the Whole Ribs, and Nothing But the Ribs, so Help Me God. If this doesn’t fill you up, there’s a hole in you somewhere.

A Californian “surfing,” or simply wishing she had some good BBQ instead of a pointy foam board on her head.

Big, meaty and real, one more time.

The one single drawback to Gorilla BBQ – no beer. They should sell mini-kegs of Anchor Steam to go. Then I would be 110% gruntled.

-Jerry

3 thoughts on “Gorilla BBQ in Pacifica, CA…

  1. Good BBQ is something I haven’t had in years… I have so many New Mexico specific cravings when I go back to the US, that I always forget about the country’s other unique offerings. The pulled pork looks fantastic, as do the ribs– I’ve never been that big on ribs, but then again, I’ve never had ribs that looked like that. -X

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