KINsmoke BBQ in Healdsburg
Sonoma County’s barbecue scene is burning brighter these days, thanks to the opening of KINsmoke in downtown Healdsburg. And if the name seems familiar, it’s because the place is the more streamlined sister to KIN in Windsor, from owners JC Adams and Brad Barmore.
KIN is a full service restaurant, while KINsmoke focuses on barbecue, with counter service, food sold by-the-pound, and beer and wine to-go. But the ideas are the same: flame-inspired food in friendly surroundings.
At KINsmoke, the barbecue pit behind the joint on Center Street slow cooks meats over California oak and cherry wood, sending out beef short ribs, brisket, St. Louis style pork ribs, pork shoulder, homemade sausage and chicken. There’s a lot of smoke flavor in the pink-tinged meats, perfect for pairing with a wide variety of craft beers served in 32-ounce glasses.
Yet in creative Wine Country style, there’s fancier fare to be had, too. A la carte entrées include coffee-rubber Porterhouse, jerk seared ahi, bourbon glazed pork chop, Cajun dusted blackened scallops and citrus marinated, shell-on U-12 shrimp atop dressed mixed greens.
After placing your order at the cash register, you grab a table amid the polished wood walls and work counters, gleaming white subway tile and brick accents. A server will take your drink order, then deliver your goods on a tin cookie tray.
It’s a mix-and-match deal, so be sure to pile on the sides, like sautéed Brussels sprouts tossed with bacon, black pepper, cayenne pepper and mustard BBQ sauce; sweet potato tater tots with maple dip; and sautéed kale. Mini corn muffins, horseradish-kissed Granny Smith apple slaw and baked mac ‘n’ cheese, too.
Then, load up on the sauces. The meat comes unadorned, and the sauces are first-rate, including zingy North Carolina vinegar, gutsy South Carolina Bourbon Dijon, a thick mayo-vinegar Alabama white sauce, sweet house barbecue sauce and tangy, dark espresso sauce.
Note that there’s no dessert, but with the stellar Noble Folk pie and ice cream shop just around the corner, who can complain? A hearty bit of barbecue, a short stroll, and it’s all good in the world.