The Best BBQ In NYC
From a pop-up serving chicharrón and smoked turkey to a place that offers plant-based takes on ribs and pulled pork, here's where to find the best Southern-style BBQ.
Sometimes, all you want to do is order a half-pound of meat from someone standing behind a counter then eat that meat off butcher paper using plastic silverware. When you feel that urge, get some BBQ. New York City now has a very respectable BBQ scene, and we've rounded up our top picks right here. From a roaming pop-up serving chicharrón and smoked turkey and to a place that offers plant-based takes on ribs and pulled pork, here's where to find the best Southern-style BBQ.
photo credit: Bark Barbecue
Bark Barbecue started during the summer of 2020, serving freshly smoked meat by the pound, Dominican specialty sides, and lusciously thick arroz con leche. It’s unlike every single restaurant on here because it’s currently just a pop-up (at Smorgasburg Friday through Sunday). But make no mistake, this Central Texas-style barbecue spot serves the best-smoked meat in NYC. Get the 12-hour smoked brisket in addition to some smoked turkey, which is moist enough to star in a skin care advertisement.
You’re probably going to have to wait an hour in line to get what is undoubtedly some of the best BBQ ever to grace this city. Once you make it through the line at this Red Hook institution, get the brisket, a giant beef rib, and the lamb belly bánh mi. If you’re with a group (which you should be), add some brisket tacos and Jamaican jerk baby back ribs. Both are excellent, but they’re more like supporting actors. If you’ve never been here, make some weekend plans to stop by, and bring a book to read in line.
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Editor’s note: Morgan’s is currently only open for pick up and delivery.
If you don’t have the time or patience to wait in line at Hometown, we suggest you check out Morgan’s in Prospect Heights. This place opened in 2013, and it’s still making some of our favorite Texas-style barbecue in the city. The fatty brisket is tender and moist, and the pork ribs come covered in a thick, salty bark with a nice char. There’s a big dining room with brick walls and wood ceiling beams, and it’s usually pretty easy to find a table.
Royal Rib House
Royal Rib House has been a legendary BBQ spot in Bed-Stuy for over 30-years, and the consistently long lines will attest to that. After closing in 2019 and reopening in 2022, they’re more popular than ever—but the food is good enough to induce amnesia about the wait time. If you put ribs in the name of your restaurant, they better be impressive. These ones are slathered with a hot sauce-based BBQ sauce and fall off the bone. Your next priorities should be the smoky chopped BBQ, moist rotisserie chicken painted with a tangy sauce, and peach cobbler that everyone in line will recommend to you.
The menu at Fette Sau changes regularly, and unless you stalk their Instagram, you won’t know what’s available until you see what’s written on the chalkboard menu. Assuming they haven’t sold out (fairly common on weekends), they pretty much always have brisket and pork ribs. Order both and ask for a lean cut of brisket, which crumbles as you cut into it, as well as plenty of sides like the burnt end baked beans. This BBQ spot is in a converted garage in Williamsburg, and you can grab something from the long draft list before sitting at a communal picnic table inside or on the patio.
photo credit: Hannah Albertine
This South Bronx spot makes exceptional smoked chicken wings in a dry rub, along with a ton of other meat and BBQ sides that are perfect for a big, casual group meal. We recommend coming during their weekday Happy Hour (from 3-6pm) to load up on wings and baked beans laden with pineapple and pieces of tender brisket.
Mable’s is within a couple blocks of three trendy hotels in the middle of Williamsburg, but once you get your order of Frito pie, you’ll feel like you’re in some town from Friday Night Lights. Ordering here is easy. Get the deluxe platter, which comes with brisket, pulled chicken, pulled pork, and three sides of your choosing. Be sure to get the mac and cheese. That’s non-negotiable.
New York doesn’t have a regional BBQ style, which means that BBQ spots here can pick and choose different meats, cooking styles, and sauces from around the country. No place takes that to heart like Dinosaur BBQ, which serves everything from St Louis-style ribs and Memphis-style pulled pork to Creole deviled eggs. The grilled ribs and smoked jumbo chicken wings are both great, but make sure to get a few orders of the fried green tomatoes that come with a ranch-based dipping sauce. The location in Harlem is similar to the one in Gowanus in that it feels like a big warehouse that’s been converted into a barn, and it’s great for groups and kids.
John Brown Smokehouse
Even if it were raining outside and you couldn’t hang out in the courtyard, and even if they somehow ran out of their sweet, tangy Kansas City-style BBQ sauce that makes pretty much anything delicious, you’d still be happy at John Brown in Long Island City. All you really need is an order of their burnt ends. The smoky, tender, bark-covered bites of meat are the best thing here and one of our favorite BBQ orders in the city.
Queens Bully is one of our favorite spots in Forest Hills for both BBQ and day drinking, and it’s the best place in the area to eat while watching sports on TV. The big restaurant right on Queens Boulevard serves some very good smoked chicken and baby back ribs, as well as six types of wings. If you're prepared to sweat, try the sauce made with Carolina reaper peppers.
Hill Country is a good place to know about because it works for just about any situation, assuming you’re looking to eat dry-rubbed, slow-smoked meat off of butcher paper. The upstairs part of this massive spot in Flatiron has outdoor, bar, and communal seating, and the equally large downstairs area has a stage for live music. There’s a pitmaster special—brisket, pork ribs, chicken, sausage, and two sidestepped—but we recommend focusing your attention on the peppery ribs and spicy sausage, which, along with the cornbread, are the best things here.
Many of the BBQ spots on this list have outdoor space, but none of them can compete with Pig Beach. The courtyard at this restaurant next to the Gowanus Canal is about the size of a quidditch pitch. The best thing here is the very messy cheeseburger that you can get with one, two, or three patties. But if you want more traditional BBQ, get the sampler platter, which includes ribs, pork shoulder, and turkey. Come here in the summertime, when you can spend an afternoon drinking frozen cocktails with friends while feeding cornbread to other people’s dogs.
Izzy’s is a casual kosher barbecue spot about a ten-minute walk from the Utica Ave subway station. Whether you keep kosher or not, you’ll appreciate the peppery beef ribs, fried chicken sandwich, and admirably snappy hot dog. But our favorite thing here is the lean but tender brisket. It’s smoked for 18 hours, to the point where you’ll be able to see the char along the edge of each cut.
Vegans will love Monk’s Smokehouse, but meat eaters who go in with an open mind could become regulars just as easily. Monk’s serves its plant-based sandwiches, sides, and loaded fries out of Starr Bar in Bushwick seven days a week. (Check their IG for specific times.) The vinegary pulled mushroom sandwich topped with Asian pear is a winner, and the sticky-sweet maple BBQ sauce works great on slabs of seitan—but we’re most impressed with the crispy seitan fried chicken sandwich. We never would have thought pear jam and Alabama white could work so well on “chicken,” but they nailed it.