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Former French Laundry Chef Serving Barbecue by the Pound in the East Bay

It’s the second location for Marin County’s Pig in a Pickle

Janelle Bitker

Pig in a Pickle quietly opened its barbecue stand in Public Market Emeryville this week, bringing sultry smoked meats to a food hall stocked with options like Minnie Bell’s, Shiba Ramen, and Koja Kitchen.

The Emeryville kiosk is the second location for Pig in a Pickle, which has already built a fan base in Corte Madera. Chef-owner Damon Stainbrook comes to the pit from a fine dining background, with stints at Lark Creek Inn, One Market Restaurant, and most notably, as a former sous chef at the French Laundry.

“I’ve always enjoyed live fire cooking in general — cooking whole animals,” he says. “And that kind of morphed into barbecue.”

Stainbrook hits a range of regional styles with Pig in a Pickle. He rubs and smokes brisket for 18 hours in the vein of Central Texas. His hot links are based on Cajun andouille. He calls his dry-rubbed, smoked, and pulled pork shoulder dressed in a vinegar-based sauce “very North Carolina.” His smoked chicken is influenced by Alabama, right down to the accompanying white sauce. And the dry-rubbed baby back ribs hint of Memphis. Everything is smoked onsite with California white oak.

“I just cook what I like to cook since we don’t really have a style. I make what I like to eat,” he says. “Some people are so stuck on where they’re from, they forget there are a lot of great things out there.”

Right now, not all of those meats are available at the Emeryville restaurant, but Stainbrook plans to slowly bring them all over. (If you go today, you’ll see brisket, pulled pork, and hot links.) The ordering style is meats by the pound, plus optional sides, including white cheddar mac ‘n’ cheese, braised collards with ham hocks, potato salad, and coleslaw.

Through the weekend, Pig in a Pickle will be open only for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stainbrook hopes to expand hours starting Monday, November 12, from 11 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. (“We’re kind of a ‘until sell out’ place,” he explains. “Our goal is to not have any meat left.”)

Public Market Emeryville

5959 Shellmound Street, , CA 94608 (510) 652-5852 Visit Website