What a difference 10 years makes. Prior to openings like the Smoke Joint (2006) and Fette Sau (2007), Brooklyn barbecue meant burning burgers and dogs on a hibachi grill in Prospect Park. But over the last decade, meritorious ‘cue spots have continued to multiply to such an extent, we think we’ve earned the right to call ourselves one of the country’s foremost smoked meat capitals. And with this guide at the ready, you’ll be able to avail yourself of barbecue no matter where you are in the borough; think burnt ends in Gowanus, brisket in Red Hook and ribs in Bed-Stuy.
Fletcher’s: While Fletcher’s was recently crowned the winner of “Rib King of NYC,” we’re especially infatuated with their burnt ends, as well as unconventional, definitely not from Texas specials; such as tri tip pastrami and barbecued brisket cheesesteaks.
433 3rd Avenue, Gowanus
Arrogant Swine: Still the only spot in NYC dedicated to Carolina ‘cue, Arrogant Swine is all about the pig; dishing up whole hog drenched in vinegar pepper sauce, and the Piedmontese specialty, outside brown, paired with a Lexington tomato dip.
173 Morgan Avenue, Bushwick
Hometown: Their home base may be Red Hook, but this counter service eatery could stand shoulder to shoulder with the hallowed pit-stops of Texas; offering textbook brisket and beef ribs (that said, Billy Durney one-ups the Lone Star state with lamb belly banh mi and Vietnamese hot wings).
454 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook
Hill Country: Its Brooklyn outpost has become a saving grace for Downtown office workers and captive jurors; with sides (corn pudding, collards, beer-braised pinto beans and sweets (pecan pie, cowboy brownies, bread pudding) that are every bit as noteworthy as the smoked meat.
345 Adams Street, Downtown
Fette Sau: Having helped sow the seeds for Brooklyn’s eventual barbecue revolution, Fette Sau continues to draw crowds for their Black Angus brisket, Berkshire pork belly, and Duroc pulled pork, offered with a quadrant of sweet, spicy or piquant sauces.
354 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg
Morgan’s: Exhibiting a surprising penchant for poultry, Morgan’s stands out from the pack with by-the-pound turkey, three-hour-smoked chicken, and most notably, deep-fried turkey tails; tossed in sauce and served with cornbread and collards.
267 Flatbush Avenue, Park Slope
BrisketTown: While their pork ribs and smoked turkey are not to be sneezed at, this Williamsburg roadhouse will forever be associated with its eponymous, black pepper-rubbed brisket (after all, the restaurant started life as Brisketlab back in 2012, a summer-long supper club selling “shares” of meat).
359 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
Mighty Quinn’s: One of Smorgasburg’s most enduring success stories (spawning eight locations and counting), Brooklynites can still find Mighty Quinn’s at the all-food flea as well as their brick and mortar spin-off, Berg’n, serving an abbreviated menu of brisket, burnt ends, pulled pork and wings.
899 Bergen Street, Crown Heights
Mable’s Smokehouse: The subject of sauce can be especially divisive in the barbecue world, but Mable’s has always stood firmly behind the profligate use of their signature, sweet, Oklahoma-style dressing, swabbed atop brisket, half chickens, pulled pork and St. Louis ribs.
44 Berry Street, Williamsburg
Pig Beach: Boasting an all-star barbe-crew (Balthazar’s Shane McBride, Ed Lobster Bar’s Ed McFarland, and Del Posto’s Matt Abdoo) who together, have won honors on the competitive ‘cue circuit (2nd place for Whole Hog, 1st Place for Best Sauce, and 1st place for Poultry at the annual Memphis in May) Pig Beach allows them to strut their stuff year-round, in an indoor-outdoor 13,000 square foot space.
480 Union Street, Gowanus
The Smoke Joint: Also behind Hothouse, Peaches and Marietta, The Smoke Joint is the barbecue entry in the B&C group’s southern-styled dynasty, specializing in spicy hot links, hulking beef short ribs, chopped chicken and pulled pork, smoked for 12-hours over hickory.
87 S Elliott Place, Fort Greene
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: The pride of Western NY, Gowanus’ branch of the bbq, blues and biker bar mini-chain serves saucy and sweet smoked meat; the heart of a massive menu that also includes fried green tomatoes, chili nachos, poutine, shrimp boils and creole deviled eggs.
604 Union Street, Park Slope
Beast of Bourbon: Fronted by pitmaster Nestor Laracuente, this 5,500-square foot Bed Stuy hangout is a haven of bbq (brisket-gobbed nachos, pork belly-strewn salads, by-the-pound meat and racks of ribs) as well as beer (over 40 on tap) and rock n’roll (live bands regularly play on their stage).
710 Myrtle Avenue, Bed Stuy
Izzy’s: A godsend for kosher ‘cue aficionados, this small spot in Wingate’s observant Jewish community serves masgiach-approved meat, including smoked fried chicken, lamb ribs, pulled beef tacos and brisket.
397 Troy Avenue, Wingate
Humo Smokehouse: Issuing a challenge to Fort Greene’s barbecue go-to, Smoke Joint, Humo debuted back in 2014, peddling Tennessee-style pork (pulled, ribs, belly, sausage) from local purveyors, procured through the Farm to Neighborhood program.
336 Myrtle Avenue, Fort Greene
Calvin’s Royal Rib House: The lines say it all at this Bed-Stuy stalwart; after 50 years, the crowds still emerge en masse on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for takeout-only barbecue, including chopped pork sandwiches, whole marinated chickens and of course, rotisserie-roasted ribs, followed by cups of old fashioned banana pudding.
303 Halsey Street, Bed-Stuy
Arrogant Swine photo by Jane Bruce, Pig Beach photo by Louise Palmberg, and Hometown photo by Josh Cohen. All other photos by Max Branigan.