Memphis. St. Louis. Houston. Kansas City. Gowanus? While exceptional barbecue spots have proliferated in NYC over the past few years, there’s no question that Brooklyn’s industrial axis has seen the lions share. In fact, the second you step foot on 3rd Avenue, you’re enveloped by a fragrant cumulus cloud wafting lazily through the neighborhood, created by the commingling of smoke from Fletcher’s, Dinosaur, Freek’s Mill (where they work wonders with kohlrabi) and as of today, Pig Beach. Because despite what it lacks in sand and sea—save for the adjacent, nubilous canal—it more than makes up for with meat, permeated by cherrywood in Old Hickory pits.
Having evolved from last season’s all-star pop-up (partners include Balthazar’s Shane McBride and Ed’s Lobster Bar’s Ed McFarland) to year-round destination (Matt Abdoo parted ways with Del Posto, to tend the pits fulltime), Pig Beach’s previous menu has been significantly fleshed out. In addition to various grilled options (hot dogs piled with mac n’ cheese sauce, triple patty hamburgers, hatch vinegar-slathered wings) they’ve gotten notably more ambitious with their slow-and-low-cooked specialties; turning out pork shoulder, tri tip and provolone and pepper-studded sausages, with more experimental items—think yuzu-glazed duck or za’atar-rubbed lamb leg—to come. And starting June 8th, they’ll launch a Pitmaster Takeover series as well, inviting in ‘cue luminaries such as Pat Martin, Chris Lilly, Mike Emerson and Skip Steele, to take a weekend-long stab at their smokers.
But the fun won’t peter out with summer this time around. Because to complement their 13,000-square foot space (newly equipped with multiple seating options and two bars, serving tallboys, draft wine, frozen cocktails and Pimm’s Cups) they now have an equal amount indoor real estate at their disposal, which will eventually house a retail component, and transform seamlessly into a weather-proof, Hometown-style hub.
Texas’ barbecue scene may still be bigger, but it keeps getting better and better in Brooklyn.
480 Union St., Gowanus
Photos by Louise Palmberg.