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NYC 'Cue Parlors by the Numbers: Dinosaur, Mighty Quinn’s, Mable’s, Brother Jimmy’s

As a Barbecue Week special, Eater reached out to four major smokers to find out how much meat, wood, and sauce they move through every day

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Smoker: Leland Avellino, corporate executive chef

How many pounds of brisket do you go through at one location in an average day?

LA: Anywhere from 60 lbs. to 250 lbs., depending on the location and what we have going on.

How many pounds of wood do you go through in an average day?

LA: We use about 35 cords of wood a week as a company... that's a LOT of wood!

Where does most of your wood come from?

LA: We source our wood direct at each location where we have relationships with local loggers and wood providers that can get us all that hickory.

How long does the brisket smoke for, on average?

LA: Average is from 10 to 14 hours, depending on the piece of meat. Each brisket is different and deserves its own attention… so we pull it from the pit when it tells us it's done!

How many links do you sell at one location, on average?

LA: 100 to 200, a week.

What's the item that's likely to sell out, and at what time is it usually gone?

LA: Sometimes we run out of ribs on really busy nights. We are a pit-to-plate operation, so if more people order ribs than we expected, than we may run out until the next load is ready.

Is there anything else we should know about your operation?

LA: As mentioned earlier, we are a true blue pit-to-plate barbecue restaurant – meaning, we don't cook and cool our barbecue and then re-heat it (as so many other restaurants do). We are loading ribs, chicken and wings every few hours, and our brisket and pork twice a day, so our guests can taste our product at its absolute best.


[The East Village location of Mighty Quinn's by Daniel Kreiger]


Mighty Quinn’s

Smoker: Hugh Mangum, co-owner and pitmaster

How many pounds of brisket do you go through at one location in an average day?

HM: That's a secret!

How many pounds of wood do you go through in an average day?

HM: Don't know amount in pounds but we use a lot.

Where does most of your wood come from?

HM: New York and New Jersey...we source from a combination of local fruit farms and the like. We try to keep it local and sustainable using what is available to us close to home.

How long does the brisket smoke for, on average?

HM: 18 to 22 hours.

How many links do you sell at at one location, on average?

HM: Daily, approximately 20 to 30.

What's the item that's likely to sell out, and at what time is it usually gone?

HM: Brisket and/or brontosaurus ribs...we always try to avoid running out of anything but if it happens, it's most likely one of these two items and typically around 10 p.m. would be the witching hour.

Is there anything else we should know about your operation?

HM: Lots to mention but mainly that we (my partners Christos, Micha, and I) are really proud to be a part of the renaissance that is NYC barbecue. The cultural melting pot of New York is an inspiration to all of us doing barbecue and I think that what we all do collectively has evolved from the notion of one specific barbecue style (Texas, North Carolina, KC, Memphis, etc...) into another specific barbecue style that is NYC. Although my barbecue lineage is Houston, Texas we consider our style as a manifestation of our experiences living in New York with a heartfelt nod to our families recipes, birthplaces, and history.

Speaking of operations and representing New York City barbecue, We are very excited and proud to have opened the first international Mighty Quinn's in Taipei where we have, thus far, enjoyed sharing real NYC barbecue with the awesome people of Taiwan.


[Nick Solares]

Mable’s Smokehouse

Smoker: Meghan Love, co-owner. She runs Mable's with husband Jeff Lutonsky, who is mentioned below.

How many pounds of brisket do you go through in an average day?

ML: We go through around 175 pounds on a busy day — and most days are busy these days.

How many pounds of wood do you go through in an average day?

ML:This doesn't apply much to us, our particular smoker only uses 10-12 pieces of wood a day and burns it for a long time producing a lot of smoke, so we may not be the best to ask on this one.

Where does most of your wood come from?

ML: Jeff doesn't reveal the type of tree, but we have a local wood delivery service that brings it from Upstate NY.

How long does the brisket smoke for, on average?

ML: We smoke our brisket for 12 to 14 hours.

[Nick Solares]

How many links do you sell, on average?

ML: 75 per day.

What's the item that's most likely to sell out, and at what time is it usually gone?

ML: It's interesting. In the summer we run out of brisket first, but in the winter it's ribs. Sometimes as early as 8 p.m. — which always hurts because the customers often look they are going to cry when you break the news. This is why we've really tried to manage [the preparation] to prevent 86ing anything. But sometimes you can't prevent it because preparing our meat is an overnight process, so when it's gone it's gone.

Is there any other wild barbecue stat that we should know about?

ML: We go through 85 gallons of barbecue sauce a week. And fun fact: Jeff still makes it all because no one else knows the recipe and he plans to keep it that way. The rub is the same story — Jeff is still the only person that makes our rub. Also, we did the math: We serve approximately 350,000 ribs a year (bones not slabs)!


Brother Jimmy’s

Smoker: Eva Pesantez, corporate executive chef

How many pounds of brisket do you go through at one location in an average day?

EP: At one location of Brother Jimmy’s we could go through 15 to 40 pounds of cooked product in a day. On a busy day at the Yankee Stadium Brother Jimmy’s, we have gone through 90 butts in a game — that’s approximately 450 pounds!

How many pounds of wood do you go through in an average day?

EP: On an average day at one location of Brother Jimmy’s we go through 18 to 25 pounds of wood.

Where does most of your wood come from?

EP: Our wood comes from an orchard in Downsville, NY which is in Upstate New York. We use hickory and maple wood.

How long does the brisket smoke for, on average?

EP: At Brother Jimmy’s, we smoke the brisket for 14 hours, on average.

What's the item that's most likely to sell out, and at what time is it usually gone?

EP: At Brother Jimmy’s we sell out of the marbled brisket most quickly. Since smoking brisket requires an incredible amount of skill and specialization, we simply do not produce nearly as much as we do our pulled pork, so there is a tendency to run out before service comes to an end.

Is there anything else we should know about the operations?

EP: Being a bar that rose out of North Carolina, we do sell more pulled pork than anything else. Brother Jimmy’s pulled pork is done in the style of Eastern Carolina. We use our proprietary rub and smoke the butts for 10 to 12 hours over Hickory wood. We then finish it off with the slightly spicy Eastern Carolina Vinegar-based sauce.

Top photo: Dinosaure Bar-Q-Que in Gowanus by Daniel Krieger

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