New Yorkers are snobby about a lot of things—what they wear, what they read, what they listen to, and most importantly what they eat and drink. Please see the coffee snob, the pizza snob, the cocktail snob, the sushi snob. And here now, for the people who don't know what the hell they're talking about, some primers. Welcome to A Snob's Guide.
Although some purists think that New York is a barbecue wasteland, there are a lot of great smoked meats to enjoy in this city if you know where to go and what to order. Here's a handy guide to New York City barbecue, full of the most essential info about the big players, the different styles, the restaurants to avoid, and the ones to seek out, in glossary form.
Click on each restaurant name for more coverage.
The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party: New York's favorite annual food fest/meat mosh pit.
Big Lou Elrose: A former New York City cop who started a smoked meat cart in Ozone Park, was tapped to man the fires at Hill Country, and then moved to Wildwood, where he is currently the chief pitmaster.
Blue Smoke: Danny Meyer's polished, perpetually-packed Gramercy barbecue restaurant. Slagged by purists, adored by everyone else.
Brother Jimmy's: Beer, bros., and barbecue. Not the worst, far from the best.
Burnt Ends: Flavorful morsels cut from the triangle-tip of the beef brisket. Due to the high fat content, this part of the meat is cooked longer than the rest.
Central Texas-Style: Dry-rubbed meat cooked over indirect heat from pecan or oak wood coals. Traditionally served on butcher paper, with bread and pickles on the side.
Char No. 4: Matt Greco's modern Southern restaurant in Cobble Hill. The menu includes a number of impressive smoked meat dishes, plus a next-level Bourbon list.
Daisy May's BBQ: Le Cirque and Daniel vet Adam Perry Lang makes some mean Memphis-style ribs, but the main draw here are the pricey, but epic half/whole pig feasts.
A Gallery of Superior Sides:
Dallas BBQ: Arguably better than Chili's.
Dinosaur: The menu is a grab bag of different regional styles, but all of the barbecue dishes are good and the smoked chicken wings are the stuff of legend.
Eastern North Carolina-Style: Smoked whole hog, with the different parts mixed together, dressed in a light vinegar-based sauce.
East Texas-Style: Ribs, pork shoulder, brisket, and sausages slow cooked over hickory wood until very tender, often served with a sweet tomato-based sauce.
The Empire: A special meal at R.U.B. that includes beef, pork, pastrami, ham, turkey, chicken, sausage, two large sides, a quarter rack or ribs, and a bottle of Dom Perignon. $288.75.
Fatty 'Cue: Zak Pelaccio's Williamsburg restaurant serves superb smoked meats paired with Malaysian spices, sauces, and sides. Adventuresome diners will want to try the whole pig's head.
Fette Sau: The four-year-old hipster barbecue joint that still packs 'em in every night. Fette Sau uses a gas/wood smoker, and their barbecue does not adhere to any particular regional style.
Georgia's Eastside BBQ: Casual LES restaurant that serves a greatest hits list of barbecue and Southern foods, but does not use a smoker — they boil their meat in beer and put it on the grill.
Hill Country: The mothership of Central Texas-style barbecue in NYC.
Kansas City-Style: Dry rubbed meat of all cuts that are smoked (generally with hickory), then served with a thick tomato and molasses-based sauce.
Kenny Callaghan: Pitmaster and partner at Blue Smoke. A vet of Union Square Cafe, Kenny is co-founder of The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.
Mable's Smokehouse: An unpretentious new Williamsburg restaurant that serves a tiny menu of Texas-style barbecue, all priced to move.
Memphis-Style: Most famous for smoked dry-rubbed ribs, but also smoked ribs that are brushed with a tomato and vinegar-based sauce.
Neely's Barbecue Parlor: The new Memphis-style barbecue restaurant from Pat and Gina Neely, the stars of Down Home with the Neelys. Wade Burch of the Merchants Hospitality group runs the kitchen.
Paul Kirk: One of the most highly-decorated pitmasters in the country; proprietor of R.U.B. in Chelsea.
Rack and Soul: An Upper West Side restaurant from fried chicken king Charles Gabriel and competition pitmaster John Wheeler. The pork butt is the star of the show.
Notable Smokers in NYC:
- The smoker at R.U.B. (NYCFoodGuy).
- Wildwood's Big Lou Elrose pulling brisket out of the smoker (Pig Trip).
- Chicken wings coming out of the Dinosaur BBQ smoker (Grill with Rich).
- Kenny Callaghan withe the Blue Smoke smoker (Guest of a Guest).
- The smoker at Fatty 'Cue (Liza de Guia/Food Curated)
- And just for fun, here's Char No. 4's Matt Greco giving smoker tips at The Dutch (AndrewCarmellini.com).
Robbie Richter: A young gun pitmaster from Queens who helped open Hill Country, then Fatty 'Cue. He is now a free agent.
R.U.B: A Kansas City-style barbecue joint that's a great place to go both on a budget, or with cash to burn.
Southern Hospitality: A theme restaurant that was once co-owned by Justin Timberlake. If you find yourself here, order the Memphis-style ribs.
South Carolina-Style: Generally, smoked pork dressed in a "Carolina Gold" sauce of yellow mustard, vinegar, sugar, and spices.
St. Louis-Style: Pork cooked with direct heat, usually slathered in a sweet, slightly tangy tomato and vinegar-based sauce.
Western North Carolina-Style: Smoked pork shoulder, with a thick tomato-based sauce.
Wildwood: Steve Hanson's slick Flatiron southern restaurant. Skip the loaded nachos and kicked-up caesar salads, and head straight for the regional barbecue dishes from pitmaster Big Lou Elrose.
· All Editions of A Snob's Guide [~ENY~]