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Best Barbecue in NYC by Neighborhood

By Kelly Dobkin
July 15, 2014
Photo by: Daniel Krieger

The barbecue trend continues to blow up in NYC, where you can now get some real-deal smoked meat from a variety of local pitmasters, many of whom have gone down South to learn from the legends. With newcomers like Arrogant Swine and a West Village outpost of Mighty Quinn's opening in the coming months, this is an ideal time to take a look at some the best BBQ options in NYC. Below, we've selected one eatery for each neighborhood, so you're never more than a stone's throw away from a plate of smoky, slow-cooked meat. Grab your wet-naps, because it's about to get messy.

  • Red Hook: HomeTown Bar-B-Que

    ​Brooklyn-born Bill Durney describes his 'cue as "classic American barbecue steeped in tradition and history, yet done with a little Brooklyn flair." Hurricane Sandy nearly washed away Durney's dreams of BBQ glory, putting a serious damper on the Red Hook restaurant's opening. But it finally opened in fall of 2013, and this massive counter-style 'cue hall has been a local hit ever since.

    ​Don't miss: The brisket, beef ribs

    Side dish: Smoky collards and burnt-end baked beans

    454 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn; 347-294-4644

  • Williamsburg: BrisketTown

    Daniel Delaney, a Jewish kid from New Jersey, stumbled upon his love of barbecue while touring the country with some friends for what would eventually be part of a web series called VendrTV. After meeting 'cue legends Wayne Mueller and Aaron Franklin in Texas (and tasting their meat), Delaney's love of barbecue escalated to full-blown obsession. He began experimenting with smoking his own meats himself in his parents' backyard, which eventually led to a subscription service called BrisketLab and which led to BrisketTown's current location. Now Delaney's transcendent central-Texas-style smoked brisket can be found there or at the SmokeLine kiosk on the High Line. 

    Don't miss: The brisket, duh

    Side dish: Potato salad and the housemade pickles

    359 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn; 718-701-8909

  • Long Island City: John Brown Smokehouse

    Pitmaster John Brown fires up his ode to Kansas City-style 'cue at this Long Island City eatery. In the traditional preparation, the meat is smoked low and slow over wood and then smothered in a molasses-based barbecue sauce. But burnt ends are also a specialty of the city, which are a must-try here as well. You'll even find a take on BBQ foie gras.

    Don't miss: The burnt ends and spareribs, especially with the housemade Kansas City-style sauce

    Side dish: Baked beans and slaw

    10-43 44th Dr., Long Island City; 347-617-1120

  • East Village: Mighty Quinn's

    Texas native Hugh Mangum forged a hybrid of Texas and Carolina BBQ styles, which he started serving as his "Texalina" 'cue at Smorgasburg a few years back. Now Mangum has a brick-and-mortar 'cue shack in the East Village, one in Clifton, NJ, a recently opened kiosk at gourmet food court Hudson Eats in FiDi and another planned for the West Village in the coming year. What sets Mighty Quinn's apart is its use of high-quality ingredients (given Mangum's fine-dining background) like Maldon salt and all-natural meats. His style, which combines dry-rubbed and smoked Texas-style meats with the vinegar-laden sauces of the Carolinas, is also unique.

    Don't miss: The pulled pork, ribs, the brisket and the chicken wings

    Side dish: Burnt-end baked beans, slaw

    103 Second Ave.; 212-677-3733

  • Gowanus: Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue

    Pitmaster Matt Fisher smokes his meat in a J&R mesquite pit direct from the Lone Star State. Using top-notch meats and locally sourced ingredients, Fletcher's makes their brisket Texas-style and their ribs St.Louis-style, although Fisher and owner Bill Fletcher insist that their counter-service barbecue is authentically Brooklyn.

    Don't miss: Beef tri tip, chopped brisket sandwich

    Side dish: Pit-smoked baked beans, chili mac 'n' cheese

    433 Third Ave., Brooklyn; 347-763-2680

  • Flatiron: Hill Country

    Texas native Elizabeth Karmel's barbecue institution Hill Country still has meat lovers lining up every night (the offerings are served cafeteria-style) for a taste of her brisket, ribs, pulled pork and more. The brand also opened a second location in Downtown Brooklyn as well as a fried chicken-focused spin-off called Hill Country Chicken earlier this year.

    Don't miss: The brisket, ribs, Kreuz sausages

    Side dish: Campfire baked beans, mac 'n' cheese, the corn pudding

    30 W. 26th St.; 212-255-4544

  • Photo by: Clay Williams

    Murray Hill: Blue Smoke

    Danny Meyer's Blue Smoke was the restaurateur's first foray into more casual eateries (with Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and Tabla already behind him) when it opened in 2002. Meyer was inspired after tasting the food of legendary pitmaster Mike Mills, and decided to open this ode to all types of 'cue, which has now expanded to Battery Park City, JFK Airport and Citi Field.

    Don't miss: Pulled-pork sandwich, Memphis-style babyback ribs, and the Kansas City spareribs

    Side dish: Warm barbecue potato chips with blue cheese and bacon dip

    116 E. 27th St.; 212-447-7733

  • Astoria: The Strand Smokehouse

    This massive bourbon and 'cue hall in Astoria is one part barbecue counter and one part beer garden. The meat is no afterthought though; the smoky 14-hour slow-cooked pulled pork and brisket, the babyback ribs and the NYC-style smoked salmon are all excellent.

    Don't miss: The pulled pork, the brisket, the selection of bourbons served in colorful barrels

    Side dish: Mac 'n' cheese, coleslaw

    25-27 Broadway, Astoria; 718-440-3231

  • Photo by: Daniel Krieger

    Morningside Heights: Dinosaur BBQ

    Pitmaster John Stage got his start serving barbecue to bikers near Albany, NY back in the '80s before opening his first full-service 'cue joint in Syracuse. Once he expanded to NYC's Harlem by 2004, New Yorkers finally got a taste of the much-buzzed-about smoked meats. The chain now has seven locations, including one that opened in Brooklyn last year.

    Don't miss: Smoked chicken wings, St. Louis-style pork ribs

    Side dish: BBQ beans, curried succotash (seasonal)

    700 W. 125th St.; 212-694-1777

  • Fort Greene: The Smoke Joint

    This always-packed BBQ joint near BAM and Barclays is a local favorite that combines a variety of barbecue techniques and styles to create one that is distinctly NYC. Owner Craig Samuel (Peaches, Little Brother BBQ and Marietta) and Ben Grossman serve their dry-rubbed meats with two housemade sauces called "joint smoke" and "hollapeño."

    Don't miss: Smoked chicken, beef brisket, any of the ribs

    Side dish: Smoky collards, corn on the cob

    87 S. Elliot Pl., Brookyn; 718-797-1011

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