The sandwiches, whether you get them hot, dusted with ghost pepper, or sweet, with a lick of honey butter, are delicious, with crisp grooves of breading that hide deeply seasoned thigh meat. The sandwiches, like Mr. Horn’s barbecue, would make a nice meal no matter where they were. But they’re not anywhere — they’re here.
During the Great Migration, West Oakland’s Black population grew quickly and built a powerful cultural hub along Seventh Street. Harry Mock, an East Bay butcher who immigrated from Guangzhou, China, in the 1930s, documented the barbecue boom that followed World War II in meat sales, overhauling his cold storage to keep up with demand.
At Fair Deal Market, Mr. Mock stocked pork ribs, tails and ears, as well as oxtails, chitlins, ham hocks, neck bones and, around Christmas, hog heads. He hired 10 butchers to work the counter on busy days, slicing slabs of bacon to order, breaking down whole pigs, chickens, goats, rabbits and even the occasional wild deer, if a regular brought one in.
Lana Cano Klock, 80, one of Mr. Mock’s six daughters, remembers making the wholesale deliveries of pork ribs and chicken to the pits that lined Seventh Street and peppered the neighborhood, as well as to big-name kitchens, like Esther Mabry’s club, Esther’s Orbit Room, which opened in 1950. Known simply as Esther’s, the music venue sold fried chicken, pork chops, rice and gravy, as well as chitlins — the dish that Ms. Mabry said kept her in business.