The Fourth of July is coming right up. But why make your own sauce when you can buy it? In other words, fake it till you make it. First stop, local barbecue restaurants.
I called up Baby Blues BBQ, located at the base of Bernal Heights. They make a Triple X that I'm fond of, as well as a Sweet and Tangy, Sassy Molassy, and a Ginger Tabasco. Do they bottle it? No. Will they sell it to you? Yes. The woman that answered the phone said though she's never actually sold the sauce separately, she figured about 8 ounces will run you about $10.
Meanwhile, in the lower Haight, Memphis Minnie's has long bottled their regionally-based sauces ($6 a piece). My former SF friends, born and bred barbecue folks, always thought of MM's as having the best barbecue sauce in town.
Out in the Richmond District, Roadside BBQ sells their Kansas City-style sauce by the pint ($4). It comes in three grades of heat, including mild, sweet-heat and Asian ginger (Asian by way of Kansas City, I guess).
Finally, if you really want a taste of San Francisco barbecue, get yourself to Bi-Rite and pick up some SFQ, a labor of love from a couple who started bottling and selling it last year. In it? Chocolate, coffee and red wine of course—three of this city's biggest loves. That and, of course, heirloom tomatoes. Their website has a statement that says that SFQ is also a gluten-free, vegan sauce—as if this is (1) particularly unusual (how many barbecue sauces are made with meat?) or (2) a good idea. Unless, I guess, you're making tofu kebabs. But it's certainly very SF to the Q. And would probably cause any good ole' barbecue master from the likes of the Carolinas or Texas or even Kansas City stomach pains.
P.S. I called Big Nate's but was told that they're out of barbecue sauce … for three months!