While New York was once smoked meat desert, it’s now a veritable rainforest. Thanks to a massive explosion that happened a couple years ago, Brooklyn has essentially become New York’s own BBQ trail. We suddenly have an embarrassment of BBQ riches all over the city, and plenty of brisket to go around. It’s almost like Austin (but also nowhere near Austin) in the sense that there are enough good places now that you can legitimately crawl your way around the city, eating nothing but smoked meats and cole slaw for an entire weekend if you so choose. And choose, you should.
The king of NYC barbecue, no one does it better than Hometown out in Red Hook. This massive Texas-style dust hall/church of smoked meats is the closest thing NY has to the real thing. When you’re inside Hometown, you don’t feel like you’re in New York anymore. It feels, and smells, like Texas. You’ll have to wait on line to get your meats, but as we all know, that extra wait time makes the reward that much more special. Come prepared with an empty stomach and pocket full of wet naps.
As much as Hometown is worth the trek to Red Hook, that pilgrimage is often just not going to happen. In these times, we turn to Mighty Quinn’s, which was really the first of the “new” BBQ spots that hit NYC and made people lose their minds. There are locations all over the city, but the flagship East Village brick-and-mortar is our favorite. Whether you start your Saturday night out here (good luck not taking a nap afterwards), or just want an easy dinner after work, this place is amazingly accessible, and the Carolina/Texas BBQ is easily some of the best in the city.
Williamsburg has a disproportionate number of solid BBQ joints, but Fette Sau reigns supreme – not just in meats, but also in vibe. It always feels like a party in here. Once you get through the line (fair warning: it often stretches out the door), you’ll order your meats, then stop by the bar to choose your beer or whiskey drink. The tables are huge and communal – perfect for reveling in the glory of meats with you big crew or a bunch of strangers.
New York’s status as the country’s laughing stock officially came to an end when the former pit-master of Franklin’s – the Austin brisket mecca – moved North and set up shop here. Thankfully, his pedigree held up – this brisket is damn near perfect, and so are the sausage, pork, and sides. The indoor/outdoor setup gives the place a low-key vibe that makes you want to sit back, relax, and truly enjoy some ’cue on a lazy afternoon. This is also a very strong move for a post-Barclays Center outing.
How to convince your reluctant dinner partner to eat BBQ? A) Meat is gluten-free and B) there is a real BBQ place where they will actually be served by a waiter and there will be zero sawdust in sight. We keep coming back to Blue Smoke because of its convenient location, very good meats, and best-in-city mac and cheese (their loss).
BBQ cravings do not asked to be invited into your system. THEY CAN ATTACK AT ANY TIME. Like when you’ve been day-drinking in Williamsburg and needed food three hours ago. Your move here is Mable’s, which is the guaranteed-fastest way to get some meats into your hands and straight into your belly. The operation here is simple and efficient, we’ve never seen a wait, and these people know their way around solid BBQ.
Long Island City is the promised land of so much space that people don’t even know what to do with themselves. And John Brown Smokehouse is no exception – from its gigantic beer hall atmosphere to its long list of BBQ specialties. Need more proof? Direct your attention to the 60-ounce boots of beer. Get one (or three) of those and some burnt ends and there’s your afternoon.
Completing the Williamsburg BBQ trifecta is BrisketTown, which, as its name suggests, specializes in our favorite ’cue item. But PLOT TWIST: the ribs are actually the best thing here. Get this place on your Williamsburg BBQ crawl agenda, and save room for the pies, which are outstanding.
Motorcycles + BBQ = a combination we’re both intimidated and intrigued by. Originally run out of a bike shop, The Shop has since moved to a giant warehouse (because Bushwick) complete with a huge smokehouse and and a live music venue. The menu is made up mostly of BBQ sandwiches, which is fine by us since they are some of the most perfect foods ever to exist. If you’re looking for a fun and tasty start to your night out in Bushwick, consider The Shop.
Dinosaur has two locations, servicing people way up in Harlem and way down in Gowanus. It may sometimes get forgotten in the wake of so many new and exciting places, but there still isn’t a better place to congregate in Big Groups, eat lots of meat, and drink cold pitchers of beer.
A new addition to the NYC BBQ scene, Fort Gansevoort is essentially a smoker with a small outdoor storefront in the back “yard” of an art gallery on Little West 12th St. They’re only serving BBQ sandwiches at the moment, and they’re really, really good. We damn near lost our minds on the pulled chicken sando we tried recently. It’s covered in onions and pickles and sandwiched between challah bread. Glorious. Fort G will close for the season soon, and next year expect them to re-open once winter is over with picnic tables and a cool little place to chill, something they don’t have right now.
Sometimes the only way to deal with being stuck in Midtown is to get a plate of BBQ to the face. For times like these, Daisy May’s is here for you. Daisy’s is an OG, they’ve been dry rubbing ribs Memphis style and and covering them with sweet Kansas City sauce since 2003. The ribs are their specialty, and they’re pretty damn delicious. This is the kind of place you come for sandwiches and beers after work, or maybe you bring the whole office and get a full pig, which they offer. Also, if you work in Midtown, Daisy May’s delivers happiness daily.