A pulled pork sandwich served with pickles and housemade barbecue sauce. (Courtesy Stewart Putney.)
By Kate Bradshaw
Growing up in both South and North Carolina, Josh Regal’s love for barbecue began at a young age.
But when the chef came to the Peninsula about a decade ago, he didn't see much of a barbecue community here. As a result, he decided to start Saucebelly, a barbecue business that he says is "an homage to everything I've learned over the years."
He hosted pop-ups at Timber and Salt before serving up barbecue dishes for ECR Pub in Belmont. Then in September 2021, he says a police officer delivered a cease-and-desist letter from the city of Belmont to end barbeque operations, allegedly in response to a complaint they had received about the smoke. The police department says the letter was related to the location of the barbecue. (The city of Belmont did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
"I understand it, but at the same time it definitely sucked," he says. "I wish we could have come to a compromise."
After his barbecue operations were shut down, he says, he worked for a few months to change up the menu, but things were looking difficult without his main source of revenue.
He returned as chef at Timber and Salt, where he'd hosted Saucebelly pop-ups years before, and now offers Saucebelly barbecue there exclusively on Sundays. They have a catering license and smoke the BBQ off-site, he says. The meats are prepared with hickory and oak wood using methods from Texas and the Carolinas, and the barbecue is served with pickles, onions and a housemade barbecue sauce. The menu includes brisket, pulled pork and smoked turkey sandwiches, smoked beef brisket, pulled pork, smoked turkey breast and baby back pork ribs. Sides include spicy coleslaw, Texas potato salad and pinto beans, and starters include pimento cheese served with Ritz and saltine crackers and deviled eggs with bacon, chives and pickled habaneros.
Barbecued ribs served with housemade barbecue sauce. (Courtesy Stewart Putney)
The process of barbecuing is a laborious and time-consuming one that can mean 36-hour shifts, he says, but being able to keep the embers of Saucebelly burning in his life is something he's grateful for.
"If you really love it, you're there for it," he says. "You can't call it in. You're not going to put that time and effort to half-ass it. It's got to be all or nothing."
On Saturdays, he prepares and butchers the meats, then transports them to the smoker Saturday night. The proteins go on the smoker overnight and into the next day. When the meat is ready, it's returned to the restaurant.
"To be able to do barbecue, to keep that spirit of Saucebelly alive… that's just something we worked really, really hard on," he says. "It's been a hell of an adventure."
Saucebelly BBQ is available Sundays at Timber and Salt from 3-7 p.m.
==I Timber and Salt, 881 Middlefield Road, Redwood City; 650-362-3777, Instagram: @timberandsaltrwc, @saucebelly.==