Allegations that our BBQ is inferior are just marginally exaggerated, much as allegations that NYC apartments are smaller than fire escapes, that everyone here is a jerk, or that every single bar has a speakeasy motif. However, barbecue does exist in the five boroughs, and there is enough of it that is better than OK, good approaching great, and even amazing. Sure, we aren’t known for it as we are for our twice-yearly social media arguments about pizza and bagels, but we do have it. These are now the top barbeque destinations, or at the very least, the greatest places to cite as examples in online discussions. Keep in mind that you can only triumph in the former.
One of the best meal categories an omnivore may enjoy is barbecue. Since pitmaster Ruben Santana first began distributing his low-and-slow, white oak-fueled recipes at outdoor markets and pop-ups around the city (and beyond!) in 2020, Bark Barbecue has been a mobile feast in NYC. Now, at its first permanent location, Bark’s delicious brisket, ribs, and pulled pork are offered by the pound right here, every day. Place your selection next to sandwiches, rib tips, and sides like mac & cheese.
Location: 55 Water Street
11201 Cross street: Between Main Street and Dock Street
1. Hometown Bar-B-Que
Address: 454 Van Brunt St., New York, NY 11231 Cross Street: at Reed St.
Transport: Subway: F, G, R to Fourth Ave–9th St
Brisket costs $25 per pound on average. AMC, MC, and V
Mon-Thu 4pm-midnight, Fri 4pm-2am, Sat noon-midnight, and Sun noon-10pm are the hours of operation.
When it originally debuted in the seaside community of Red Hook in 2013, Hometown Bar-B-Que was a popular newcomer. Long lines, high praise, and the media darling moniker were all awarded to “Brooklyn style” barbecue that incorporated ingredients from many cuisines. Then, however, it briefly became merely ok before regaining its previous level of excellence during the last several years. So, even if it was never gone, Hometown is back, serving pulled pork, ribs prepared in various ways, hearty sandwiches, and traditional sides in its large interior and outside areas.
2. Fette Sau
Lived-in White tiles adorn the wall behind the bar at Fette Sau, which also has exposed brick and a large mural of butcher slices on one wall. Some of those drawings come to life on natural wood tables, including pulled pork, pork belly, ribs, and wings with five sauce choices for maximum blending and matching.
When Joe and Kim Carroll (Spuyten Duyvil) named their Williamsburg barbecue restaurant Fette Sau, which translates to “fat pig” in German, any scepticism about their sincerity is dispelled at the counter, where the lightest meat offered is scorched hog (even chicken has been banned). Any remaining concerns are allayed at the bar, where patrons may choose from 10 beers on tap, each served in a gallon-sized glass jug.
Fette Sau is a lot of fun because of this intense, even by gluttonous BBQ standards, unbutton-the-pants enthusiasm. Customers purchase their meats by the pound, heaping gleaming piles onto baking pans coated with paper, after patiently waiting in line, and then carry their feast to one of the picnic tables in the old auto body shop. Lean baby back ribs arrive pink in the centre, soft, and flavorful thanks to a mild espresso and brown sugar rub and a touch of smoke. Pastrami with a thick crust is coated in a coriander-black-pepper seasoning and coated in the sweet, fatty drippings of its ovenmates. Add homemade baked beans, cold broccoli spears, or half-sour pickles and fresh sauerkraut to your meaty supper to complete it.
3. Hudson Smokehouse
354 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, 11211
Between Havemeyer and Roebling Streets, there is a crossroads
Transportation: G to Metropolitan Avenue; L to Lorimer St.
Average cost for a main course is $18. Disc, MC, AmEx, and V
Hours of operation: Mon. 5–11 p.m.; Tue.–Thu. noon–11 p.m.; Fri., Sat. noon–midnight; Sun. noon–11 p.m.
Days before the citywide hotel closures in 2020, the lone Smokehouse in the Bronx opened, and it has been rising from the ashes ever since. The counter-service restaurant has a scattering of knotty wood tables, where metal trays are stacked high with sandwiches, wings, a variety of sides, and pounds of burnt ends, turkey breast, pig, and brisket.
4. Hill Country
Address: 30 West 26th Street, New York, 10010 Intersection: Broadway and Sixth Avenue
Contact: View Website 212-255-4544
Transport: N, R to 28th St. on the subway
Average cost per pound of beef is $25. AMC, MC, and V
Mon-Wed, Sun 11:30am-10pm; Thu-Sat 11:30am-11pm are the hours of operation.
Hill Country feels quite at home in Gotham City, even if barbecue in Manhattan may be as perplexing as a Pace Picante Sauce ad from the 1990s (the Platonic ideal of incongruity comedy). The avowed “tribute to the traditional central Texas barbecue experience, Southern hospitality, and the artistry of downtown Austin” smokes its meat over wood imported from The Lone Star State. Choose low-and-slow dishes like shoulder clod, brisket spare ribs, small or large combination platters, and so forth.
The Hill Country men are about as Texan as Bloomberg in a Stetson. Hill Country is an ode to the beef-centric BBQ outside Austin. Robbie Richter, a native of Queens and avid barbecue competitor, is the pit master. The Texas heritage of owner Marc Glosserman comes from his grandpa, a former mayor of Lockhart, Texas, where Kreuz Market, a landmark of barbecue, has been operating for a century.
After visiting Lockhart and Kreuz Market for barbecue a few years ago, I can say that Richter’s cuisine would have spared me the journey since it is a genuine, top-notch interpretation of the restaurant’s namesake locale. The 250-seat duplex does a good job of pulling off faux Texas, from the aesthetic (highly stacked post oak logs ready for the smoker, below antique mirrors and a ceiling painted brown to simulate decades of smoke) to the method of ordering (at the counter, by the pound, served on butcher paper and accompanied by white bread and crackers, with sides, drinks, and desserts requiring a different line). Hill Country Live, a fairly large basement showroom, offers C&W, live-band karaoke, and several other entertainments to go with your meat.
5. John Brown BBQ
Location: 27-20 40th Avenue, Queens 11101
Transportation: 7 to 45th Road-CourtHouse Sq. on the subway
The average main course costs $10. Disc, MC, AmEx, and V
Mon-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri 11:30am-11pm, Sat noon-11pm, and Sun noon-9pm are the hours of operation.
Nearby its former site, which initially opened in 2011, the relocated John Brown BBQ continues to draw customers. It serves a variety of meat by the pound, slab, quarter, or half, depending on the situation. The barbecue is made in the Kansas City style with a Queens, New York, twist. Place your order at the counter and claim a table in the spacious dining area or beneath a gazebo on the patio.
6. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
700 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027
Crossroads between W Riverside Dr. and 12th Ave.
Transportation: 1 subway to 125th St.
$20 is the average cost of a main course. AC, DC, Disc, MC, and V
Mon–Thu 11:30am–11pm; Fri–Sat 11:30 pm–midnight; Sun noon–10pm
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is always crowded with locals of all ages, including families and leather-clad motorcyclists. Lists of the finest BBQ in the city often include the smokehouse. Despite the fact that you came for the meat, you may still want to start the meal with some fried green tomatoes or Creole deviled eggs (three for $3.99, six for $6.99). A half rack of St. Louis-style pork ribs costs $18.99, while a full rack costs $28.99. You can also have slow-smoked brisket with pickled jalapenos for $18.99, or skirt steak with chimichurri and sautéed peppers for $20.99. Every meal includes a side dish, so you may choose from choices like barbeque beans, Creole potato salad, stewed greens, crunchy coleslaw, and mac & cheese. For others who aren’t nearly as hungry, there are burgers and barbeque sandwiches. One of the 25 beers on tap will go well with the meal.
This perennially popular Harlem attraction, which began in Syracuse in 1988, draws barbecue enthusiasts from near and far. Dinosaur Barbecue is renowned far and wide for its extensive menu that includes all the usual favourites in addition to sliders, steak, burgers, bowls, salads, and sandwiches. It now has four locations in New York State and two in New York City.
7. Royal Rib House
Location: 256 Malcolm X Boulevard, NYC 11233
The recently moved Royal Rib gained a loyal following over the course of fifty years in its prior site, and the family-run company is now open again close to its original location. There are ribs, chicken, and an abundance of sides that have delighted generations on the menu.
8. Mable’s Smokehouse and Banquet Hall
Location: 44 Berry St., New York 11211 Cross Street: at North 11th St.
Public transportation: L to Bedford Avenue and G to Nassau Avenue
The average cost of a main course is $14. AmEx, Disc, MC, and V.
11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.
As adorable as can be, Mable’s is full of mismatched chairs, faded wood accents, a picture-perfect hunting cabin aesthetic, and enough charm to serve as a wedding setting as well. Say “I do” to brisket, ribs, and pulled chicken and pig.
Dinosaur, Hill Country, Daisy Mae’s, and Fette Sau: A new barbecue restaurant appeared to be opening every week throughout the aughts. Although we got a lot of fantastic low-and-slow meat thanks to that growth, barbecue, unlike, say, pizza or burgers, hasn’t reached its pinnacle in New York City yet.
This uniquely American art form is presented in a relaxed, salon-like setting at Mable’s Smokehouse and Banquet Hall, which just opened close to the Williamsburg waterfront: Young and noisy customers are present, the Blues Brothers soundtrack plays, and trashy foods like Frito Pie and Velveeta dip are served at a large wooden bar across from the food line.
Jeff Lutonsky, an artist turned pit master who founded the restaurant with his acting wife Meghan Love, takes his job far more seriously than this roadhouse environment would imply. Even if they weren’t exactly at the top tier, his smoked meats and church social aspects
in the city are undoubtedly superior than the typical alcohol sponge. The Oklahoma and Kentucky natives, who were both first-time restaurateurs, solicited recipes from their families. They gave the restaurant its name after Jeff’s grandmother Mable, who created their top-secret sweet and sour barbecue sauce.
The pair spent the months before to launching looking through flea markets and thrift stores for ornamental items—the vintage
The wood-panelled area is filled with ancient LPs, beer signs, and a plush deer skull. They have a similarly jumbled regional emphasis that crosses state boundaries. The very restricted menu, which only offers three meats and a few sides, features Texas-style moist, fatty brisket that has been dry-rubbed in generous amounts of black pepper and cooked for 12 hours in a Southern Pride smoker. This brisket is delightfully smokey and incredibly tender. The Oklahoman pork ribs are equally as tender and have a lovely caramel sear around the edges from being passed over the grill after they are taken out of the smoker. Only the Kentucky-style pulled pork shoulder falls short due to the too mushy flesh and secret sauce.
The sides are often overshadowed by the meat at famous barbecue restaurants. Although the mac and cheese, which is cooked with copious amounts of Velveeta, is catnip for neo-rednecks, it’s still rather tasty: Noodles with some bite are covered in a rich, creamy sauce. Even better are the charred and smoky braised collards with chile vinegar and bacon nuggets or the fresh corn on the cob with copious amounts of butter and more bacon.
For dessert, there is pie. Key lime and peanut butter fillings, both light and fluffy, are spooned onto an incredibly flaky crust that is both shockingly delicate and freshly baked. Despite the fact that Mable’s may seem like a wonderful location to get sloppy drunk, the cuisine here tells a different tale. We advise combining the two.
Enjoy this: Brisket cooked in the manner of Texas, pork ribs, collard greens, corn on the cob, and peanut butter pie
Drink this: The bar here has a small range of bourbons (Blanton’s, Buffalo Trace). A list of “fancy cocktails” includes The Frog ($8), a surprisingly mild pickle martini.
If you want to dine at one of the large communal picnic-bench tables, you’ll need to get up and go up to the counter to place your order. If you want to eat at the bar, you won’t have to move since the amiable bartender will take your drink order as well as your meal order.
The dining area is furnished with a treasure trove of reclaimed items. The walls’ wood panels came from an old barn close to Buffalo. On their return journey from Texas, the owners came across the feed-lot sign that is displayed near the chow line.
9. Queens Bully
Location: 113-30 Queens Boulevard, New York 11375
At Queens Bully, a party atmosphere is created by a boozy brunch and DJ music, while orders from the bit provide the celebrations a solid base. On the menu are baby back ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and smoked jackfruit.
10. Pig Beach
Location: 35-37 36th Street, New York 11106
Before opening this location in Queens and closing the first, Pig Beach attracted lengthy, sidewalk-clogging lineups up and down the Gowanus Canal week after week. Like previously, there is a large outdoor area with a selection of sandwiches, ribs, brisket, hamburgers, dogs, and wings for meat aficionados.