Best Barbecue in NYC by Neighborhood

By Kelly Dobkin  |  August 2, 2016
Credit: Clay Williams

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 Sammy's House of BBQ joining the dance floor over the last few months, this is an ideal time to take a look at some the best BBQ options in NYC. Below, we've updated our list of must-try BBQ joints in 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.

  • Gowanus: Pig Beach

    The 150-seat outdoor eatery returned this summer with an all-star culinary team. The barbecue team behind Salty Rinse and Ribdiculous Bar-B-Krewe, made up of partners Shane McBride (Balthazar), Ed McFarland (Ed's Lobster Bar), and Matt Abdoo (Del Posto) bring their award-winning signature meats to Pig Beach. Look for their championship babyback ribs, homemade sausage, and a brisket and short-rib burger. To drink, select from frozen cocktails like the Siesta (tequila, Campari, lime and grapefruit), rosé wine on tap, and craft beers from Other Half and Brooklyn Brewery, among others. The 13,000-sq.-ft. space on the waterfront features picnic tables, corn hole, ping pong, string lighting and high-top tables. 

    Don't miss: Babyback ribs, burger

    Side dish: Deviled eggs, purple coleslaw

    480 Union Street, Brooklyn

  • Times Square: Sammy's House of BBQ

    Legit BBQ in Times Square? Believe it. Pitmaster "Big Lou" Lou Elrose returns with this brand-new tri-level 'cue spot. Using a combination of oak, hickory and apple woods, Elrose smokes meats low and slow, specializing in Texas brisket. BBQ platters are also available. 

    Don't miss: Texas Smoked Brisket, Big Lou's Pulled Pork Sandwich, Baby Back Ribs

    Side dish: Baked beans with burnt ends, Aunt Betty's Fried Green Tomatoes, Tater Skins

    258 W. 44th Street; 212-944-6900

  • 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

  • Credit: Clay Williams

    East Williamsburg: Arrogant Swine

    Pitmaster Tyson Ho brought the swiney goodness of traditional North Carolina whole hog to Brooklyn last year with this massive swine and beer hall. After learning his craft from NC 'cue legend Ed Mitchell, Ho smokes his whole hogs over Long Island oak for nearly 24 hours. Then the pig is tossed with a traditional vinegar-pepper sauce and topped with cracklins. The menu here is short and sweet: all meats including whole hog, turkey legs, spareribs, pork belly and outside brown shoulder are all available by the pound. Meanwhile their signature hog platter comes with a choice of slaw including the Eastern mustard-based variety or the Western red-vinegar-based option.

    Don't miss: Signature hog platter, ribs

    Side dish: Sweet potato waffles, mac 'n' cheese and brews from their epic roster

    173 Morgan Ave., Brooklyn; 347-328-5595

  • 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 and West 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 brick-and-mortar 'cue shacks in the East Village, Clifton, NJ, a kiosk at gourmet food court Hudson Eats in FiDi and another in the West Village. 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

    75 Greenwich Ave.; 646-524-7889

  • Bed-Stuy: Beast of Bourbon

    This combo rock music venue/barbecue restaurant opened in late 2013 and has been making waves ever since for its many pulled-pork sandwiches (regular, PBR-braised and Hanoi Rocks, aka Asian-style with kimchi) as well as its Texas-style brisket. Order up a "mixtape" and you'll get three ribs, two meats and two small sides ($30).

    Don't miss: Pulled pork, ribs, brisket

    Side dish: Smoked mac 'n' cheese, beans, collard greens

    710 Myrtle Ave., Brooklyn; 347-789-9901

  • Flatiron: Hill Country

    Barbecue institution Hill Country still has meat lovers lining up every night (the offerings are served cafeteria-style) for a taste of the Texas-style 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.

    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

  • Credit: 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, Queens; 718-440-3231

  • Credit: 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.

    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., Brooklyn; 718-797-1011