In this great nation of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
Chef John Edwards has been serving Southern-style barbecue in uptown Oakland for over a decade. His original smoke joint, a dining counter with seats on one side and a smoker and two giant cast iron skillets on the other, was where I first discovered the joy of the barbecue sandwich in college.
That sandwich, the "Piggly Wiggly," has been through quite a bit as Chef Edwards moved into a larger, swankier space across the street and began to experiment with his signature special. Despite the fact that the formula seems to change slightly every time I pay a visit to the good Chef, it's still some of the best barbecue I've had on the west coast. And in seven years it's only risen in price one dollar, from $4.50 to $5.50.
You can request the Chef's thick, sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauce on the side, but I've never had to. Like good Kansas City-style 'cue, the Piggly Wiggly's thick chunks of smoked pork shoulder stand up well to the rich, tomato-based sauce, which turns the bottom of half of the sandwich roll into an edible barbecue sponge. A large scoop of peppery vinegar slaw completes the meal, a sandwich that's as good an entry point into barbecue as it was when I first ordered it in 2004.
Chef Edwards Bar-B-Que 1915 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland CA 94612 (map); 510-834-9516