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10 Smokin' New BBQ Joints

November 19, 2013
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by Billy Lyons

Gone are the days when a New Yorker’s best bet for BBQ was to hop a flight to Memphis. With the recent announcement that Danny Meyer’s next project, Porchlight, will add another Southern-themed restaurant and bar to the mix, we noticed that the city's barbecue renaissance continues to keep the hickory chips burning brightly. From a red-hot revitalized Red Hook to historic Stone Street, it seems that every part of NYC is offering up a piece of pulled pork and brisket these days. Here are some of the latest restaurants dishing up the most credible 'cue in town.

Hometown Bar-B-Que

Grab a tray and head on up to the counter at this Red Hook BBQ banquet hall courtesy of pitmaster Billy Durney and partner Christopher Miller. Proteins by the pound include jerk chicken, pulled pork and two kinds of brisket (moist or lean). For lunch, lamb belly banh mis and chopped brisket are a few sandwiches you’ll be able to fill up on; sides range from whiskey sour pickles to smoked pit beans with house-cured bacon. You can also order up a slice of pie for dessert courtesy of the neighboring Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies. On the weekends, live music is another bonus (347-294-4644).

BrisketTown 2.0

Daniel Delaney’s made a few changes to give his Texas-style brisket joint a reboot from its original concept. With table service now in full effect in the redone interior, along with new items on the roster, the Bedford Avenue barbecue place feels brand-new, even though it recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. There’s still plenty of brisket to be had - in fact you can see how much is left each night - but now pulled pork and sausage are there to stay on the revamped menu, and if you have a hard time making a decision, a new 'Texacase' sampler gives you a taste of all the meats Delaney’s team has cooked up for the night (718-701-8909).

Morgan's Brooklyn Barbecue

John Avila, formerly of Austin’s renowned Franklin Barbecue, offers homesick Texans a place to live out their Lone Star dreams over turkey tails, Frito pie and baked potatoes stuffed with pulled pork or brisket. Morgan’s also offers a brunch complete with fresh kolaches, a sweet and savory Texas pastry, and cream chipped beef with fried Texas Toast. There’s even a late-night menu of sandwiches and sides (like smoked queso), making it the perfect place to drop in anytime (718-622-2224).

Little Brother

With the success of its Clinton Hill sib and the strong affection for Southern-style food in Bed-Stuy, it was fitting that this spin-off would move into the former Lewis Avenue digs of The Pantry, a cafe owned by the same restaurant family. The BBQ meats here can be ordered on a bun, plate or over salad, and there are also several vegetarian-friendly items, like dirty rice and vegetarian sausage. Craft beer courtesy of SingleCut brewery is on tap, along with hard-to-find imported suds, while coffee and pastries are also being kept on from the original cafe concept (347-955-5366).

Route 66 Smokehouse

Though Stone Street is known for its lively Irish bars and annual oyster festival, it can now add smoked meats and smokier whisky to its arsenal of options of where to unwind once the market closes. Chef Billy Kooper, who honed his craft at Blue Smoke, oversees a menu featuring regional selections like pimiento cheese, St. Louis ribs and a Kreuz Market sausage plate. Wooden beams shipped in from Wisconsin add to the heartland theme, along with a selection of American craft brews, over 70 different kinds of whiskey and even regional sodas like Cheerwine and Dad’s Root Beer (212-943-1602).

City Rib

As its website notes, it’s “all about the sauce” at this Jamaica rib retreat. The Queens County Gold option offers a sweet mustard base topping to slather on your meat of choice, while Kings County is a tomato-based mixture with chipotle chiles, paprika and bourbon mash whiskey. The menu features a variety of chicken, brisket and rib combinations along with spicy starters like chile-dusted calamari. Since all of that heat can parch the throat, the bar offers a robust selection of mixed cocktails, courtesy of Bathtub Gin mixologist Ivan Mitankin. Spiked lemonade and a moonshine cooler are just a few drinks to cool you off between bites, while a selection of draft beer and appetizer combos are available during football season (718-878-3599).

Beast of Bourbon

With multiple fire pits and plenty of bourbon, this BBQ dive bar and beer hall offers something for everyone (especially if you like punk rock and pulled pork). Though the bar scene is a draw in itself, the menu offers distinctive items like a PBR sandwich (pulled pork, bourbon bacon, house relish) along with pig "wings" by the pound. Whiskey is the drink of choice here, ranging from cocktails to flights and frozen drinks, though beer lovers are compensated by 40 taps. The venue also plans to host live music, though for now a pool table and jukebox provide plenty of entertainment (347-789-9901).

Harlem BBQ Company

When Sherman’s, Harlem’s first family-owned chain of BBQ joints, closed its final location, it was only fitting that the new tenant continue the tradition of offering up hearty portions of beef and pork sandwiches. Kenny Heatley, who also runs Londel’s Supper Club, puts the focus on seasoning and marinades in lieu of a smoker at this intimate outpost. Beef brisket on Texas Toast with sides like mac 'n' cheese constitute one of several sandwiches perfect for lunch. For dinner, dishes to share like a whole rotisserie chicken and braised short ribs are just right for sharing. While a few tables are available to dine in-house, you may want to opt for takeout if you tend to get messy when confronted with beef coated with sauce.

2509 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.; 212-690-0100

Photo Credit: Dave Cook/Flickr

Smokin' Aces BBQ

Pitmaster Brian Tolisano oversees the menu at this Douglaston BBQ and Southern fare specialist, where hickory and cherrywood are used to create a slow smoke. The restaurant features both a Memphis-style dry rub and sweet and sticky baby-back ribs along with all the sides you’d expect, like a cornbread with honey butter. You may not even make it past the appetizers, though, like pulled pork sliders and fried potato chips with bacon dip - a loaded deck for sure (718-225-8787).

MexiBBQ

This new UES offshoot of the Mexican-American Astoria favorite starts with hybrid dishes like crispy pork guacamole and mixes it up even more with each course. A South Carolina crispy citrus pork skillet comes with a side of jalapeño goat-cheese cornbread, while beef brisket is braised in tequila. Speaking of drinks, the bar serves a variety of the Mexican spirit in various ages, along with bourbons and mescals. There are also 48 craft beers on tap, as well as the option to fill up your growler if you're planning on taking home leftovers (212-837-8285).

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