Even with Shiner on tap, New York's no Austin, and we can't pretend our barbecue options rival those in the Lone Star State. Still, we've got our fair share of solid smoked meat spots, and there's no question our dry rub, brisket and spare ribs can hold their own. Here are our favorite barbecue joints in the city; as always, leave yours in the comments.
FETTE SAU: This Williamsburg smoke joint is probably worth touting as THE best barbecue spot in town, boasting delectable dishes that rival even the finest Southern BBQ feasts. Housed in a converted garage, Fette Sau serves spectacular smoked meats by the pound, like pulled pork shoulder, loin chops, and boneless beef ribs. For sides, get the burnt end baked beans, though note that they're pretty meaty themselves. There's no sitdown service at Fette Sau—food is consumed at communal tables, and you wait on a typically loooong line to place your order, so bring some friends or a good book, and be prepared to feast.
Fette Sau is located at 354 Metropolitan Ave between North 4th and Roebling Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-3404, fettesaubbq.com).
MIGHTY QUINN'S: We were wowed by Mighty Quinn's when they debuted at Smorgasburg in 2012, and again when they opened their first brick-and-mortar spot in the East Village. Since then, they've scored counter space at markets like Berg'n and Brookfield Place, and they continue to serve up some of the best 'cue in the city. Mighty Quinn's' menu is simple: they've got basic meats like pulled pork, burnt ends and spare ribs, and sides like sweet potato casserole, baked beans and slaw, but the meat is so tender it'll melt in your mouth, and the East Village joint's laid-back, funky atmosphere just adds to the experience. Plus, their restaurant space has got a solid selection of beers on tap, like Sixpoint Sweet Action, Lagunitas and Allagash White, to add a kick to your dishes.
Mighty Quinn has a number of locations and counters in Manhattan and Brooklyn: 103 Second Ave between 6th and 7th Street in the East Village (212-677-3733, mightyquinnsbbq.com), Brookfield Place at 225 Liberty Street, 2nd Floor in the Financial District (mightyquinnsbbq.com), 75 Greenwich Avenue between West 11th and Bank Streets in the West Village (646-524-7889, mightyquinnsbbq.com), and at Berg'n at 899 Bergen Street at Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn (mightyquinnsbbq.com). You can also catch them at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg on Saturdays and at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Sundays.
(Courtesy Matthew Kanbergs/Brisketlab)
BRISKETTOWN: BrisketTown debuted in barbecue-heavy Williamsburg back in 2012, the well-cooked brainchild of Delaney's BBQ pitmaster Dan Delaney. Here, the BrisketTown crew doles up everything from dry rub briskets to ribs to pulled pork, with sides like mac-and-cheese and tangy slaw a plenty. True carnivores should try the $20 Meatfest, which comes with a 2/3 sampling of all available meats of the day. Do note that BrisketTown eschews barbecue sauce, and though these delectably smoked and seasoned babies probably don't need any additional flavor, you're welcome to bring your own sauce if you must.
BrisketTown is located at 359 Bedford Avenue between South 4th and 5th Streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (delaneybbq.com).
FLETCHER'S BROOKLYN BARBECUE: Fletcher's managed to open in the brutal aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, bringing pork loins and ribs to Gowanus while the neighborhood was still flooded with canal water. But they survived, and it's a damn good thing they did—Fletcher's serves a consistently spectacular slew of barbecue dishes, with standouts including burnt ends, juicy brisket sandwiches, and their famed Char Sui pork belly; note that food here is served cafeteria-style, though you can also grab grub to go.
Fletcher's is located at 433 3rd Avenue between 7th and 8th Streets in Gowanus, Brooklyn (347-763-2680, fletchersbklyn.com).
MORGAN'S BARBECUE: Barbecue enthusiasts swear by this Prospect Heights spot, once run by pitmaster and native Texan John Avila. Pulled pork, brisket, chicken and other meats get slow-smoked before they're tossed on a grill, with "ginormous beef ribs" serving as the house speciality. Avila's since moved on to other projects, but the Texas taste remains: other Lone Star touches include sweet tea, chips and smokey queso, link sausages, green been casserole, and bourbon pecan pie; they've also got a solid selection of mac-and-cheeses for dairy fiends.
Morgan's Barbecue is located at 267 Flatbush Avenue between Prospect Place and St. Marks Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (morgansbrooklynbarbecue.com).
HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE: This counter space spot is a relative newcomer to our fair land, having opened up shop in Red Hook in the summer of 2013. But in its short lifetime, the joint's delicately smoked and exquisitely seasoned meats have earned accolades a-plenty, with long lines to match. You can score basics like brisket, pulled pork and spare ribs, along with more unique offerings like jerk chicken, lamb belly and sriracha hot wings. Hometown also boasts a collection of sauces to add flavor, not that anything extra's needed; sumptuous sides like corn bread and smoked pit beans are available as well.
Hometown Bar-B-Que is located at 454 Van Brunt Street between Reed and Beard Streets in Red Hook, Brooklyn (347-294-4644, hometownbarbque.com).
DINOSAUR BAR-B-QUE: This heavyweight BBQ company started out in Albany as a food truck of sorts in the 1980s before opening a flagship in Syracuse; now, they boast ten locations and counting, each one serving up spectacular, sauce-slathered dishes like slow pit-smoked pork ribs and apple-brined smoked half-chicken. Do not, under any circumstances, skip out on the jumbo chicken wings, which range in spice from mild to hellishly hot; be sure to pair your meal with a side of homemade mac and cheese and baked beans. Their Harlem restaurant still holds down the fort, but their two-year-old Gowanus outpost is doing a solid job providing Brooklyn with brisket and the like as well.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que has two locations in the city: at at 700 West 125th Street between Twelfth Avenue and Riverside Drive in Harlem (212-694-1777, dinosaurbarbque.com) and at 604 Union Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues in Gowanus, Brooklyn (347-429-7030, dinosaurbarbque.com).
John Brown Smokehouse (Via Yelp)
JOHN BROWN SMOKEHOUSE: This laid-back Long Island City barbecue joint makes a killer slab of Kansas City-style meat, serving everything from simple beef brisket sandwiches to massive, juicy pork ribs. Their real specialty, though, are "Burnt Ends," which are far tastier than they sound: crispy, sweet pieces of meat you can dip in housemade barbecue sauce. They come in sandwich form and by the pound and taste best when coupled with sweet coleslaw and draft of Saratoga Lager or Speakeasy Prohibition Ale in the beer garden out back.
John Brown Smokehouse is located at 10-43 44th Drive in Long Island City, Queens (347-617-1120, johnbrownseriousbbq.com).