Actually Pretty Awesome: Smoked Pulled Goat at Southpaw BBQ

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The smoked pulled goat from chef Max Hussey, served with fry bread that's not pictured. Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

Since they opened in late 2011, Southpaw (2170 Mission Street at 18th) has flown a bit under the radar, having been one of several in a wave of Southern restaurants to open within months of each other last year. Southpaw serves barbecue from several different regional traditions as well as a selection of whimsical share plates like a BBQ version of nachos dubbed Natchez (warm potato chips topped with pulled pork, black-eyed peas, hot sauce, and pimiento bechemel), and fried green tomatoes stuffed with mozzarella and topped with remoulade. In May they hired chef Max Hussey, most recently in the kitchens at Epic Roasthouse and 25 Lusk, and he's increased the scope of the menu a bit — they've even added to the restaurant name, since Hussey brings some New Orleans flair to certain dishes, so it's now Southpaw BBQ & Southern Cooking. Among his finer new additions is a dish of smoked pulled goat served with a pineapple salsa, salsa verde, pickled onions and cucumbers, and fry bread.

It's a fun and interesting dish, with the flavorful, spicy, slightly chewy goat playing well with all the other acidic flavors, and the salty and chewy fry bread. The smoky meat is well seasoned and tossed in a mixture of spices that blends Cajun and southwestern flavors, and when combined with the pickles, the herb-y salsa verde, and the sweet pineapple it makes for a complex, addictive, well balanced bite.

Some other menu highlights include a cheesy grit cake that's filled with bits of ham hock and is served as a side with barbecue items; a crispy goat cheese rosti served with roasted duck breast; and their excellent Memphis-style, dry rubbed and smoked ribs; and their ultra-tender, well seasoned, smoked brisket.

Co-owner Elizabeth Wells tells Grub Street that she and business partner Edward Calhoun have been seeking to create a fun, Southern-feeling environment. Wells, an Alabama native, says that she and her North Carolina-bred partner both "love Southern food" of all kinds, and they want along with Hussey to show off how both "creative and comforting a lot of this food can be." See the full, current menu here, and you should note they offer a selection of well made house cocktails and good beer selection too, including several house-made brews from fermentation tanks that sit right next to the bar.

Earlier on Actually Pretty Awesome:
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Black Risotto With Uni and Egg at Prospect
Seared Salmon and Mussel Mashed Potatoes at Bisou
The Meatloaf at Jamber
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Turducken at Honor Bar
Beggar's Chicken at Betelnut
Lobster Bread Pudding and Smoked Cod at Maverick
Sand Dabs at Bar Jules
Green Farro-Sausage Risotto at RN74
Vegan Charctuerie at Gather
Pickled Eggs at St. Vincent
Beef Tongue at Namu Gaji
Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken at Brasa
Green Garlic Bread at State Bird Provisions
A Dinner of Small Plates and the Duck Confit Salad at Frances
Duck Fat Chex Mix at Truck Stop Café
The Lamb Tongue Salad at Txoko
The Branzino and the Cucumber and Scallops at AQ
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Suckling Pig Sandwich at Sweet Woodruff
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The Date Night at Sneaky's BBQ
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