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Two meats and three sides on a paper lined tray.
Find fatty brisket and maduros at Bark Barbecue.

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Brooklyn’s New Dominican Barbecue Spot Is Serving Some of the City’s Best Smoked Meats

A roaming barbecue joint settles down in Dumbo

Ruben Santana started Bark Barbecue in his backyard in Ozone Park in the summer of 2020, dispensing brisket smoked over hardwood from his garage. Eventually, he parked his smoker across the street from Vito Locascio Field in the same neighborhood, and later did a series of pop-ups, mainly in Queens bars. He later scored slots at various Smorgasburgs and upgraded his smoker, but this was barbecue with a difference: While the meat was treated Texas style, the sides were distinctively Dominican, creating a unique New York City hybrid. As he told NBC News, “Who would have known that, in the barbecue culture, rice was what was missing.”

I followed his progress from afar but never went, though I heard good things about the ’cue. It seemed that every time I tried to organize a car expedition, the pop-up was over or had moved somewhere else.

Now the target has stopped moving: Two weeks ago, Bark Barbecue opened on the fifth-floor rooftop annex of Time Out Market, which furnishes magnificent views of Brooklyn and Manhattan in an airier and more relaxed setting than the cramped downstairs food court.

A man with a black apron and red baseball cap.
Julio Logrono behind the counter at Bark.

Santana stood behind the counter of a gleaming new kitchen cutting brisket. He treated the meat like a doctor examining a patient, turning it every which way so the fat gleamed in the bright light. Eventually, he cut off a cube of the fattiest part and offered me a taste. It was sublimely smoky, and quite literally melted in my mouth.

A thick slice of fatty meat.
The sublime beef brisket.
A piled of pulled pork with glints of bronzed skin.
The pulled pork is made with crisp-skinned pernil.

The menu lists seven types of meat (brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, Dominican chicharron, turkey, beef ribs, and beef rib) and two sausages (longaniza and Texas-style beef sausage). On the day I visited, two were available: brisket and pulled pork. This is a good thing: Many barbecues in New York will sell you a piece of meat that was smoked the previous day, or even before that, but Santana wants to ensure his are at peak freshness.

Yes, my quarter-pound slice of brisket was heavenly, not as aggressively salted as some barbecue, with a bark (the spice rub that blackens and hardens as it cooks) that added strong smoky flavors. Barbecue is sold by the sandwich ($18) and by the pound ($24 to $38 per pound, with the brisket at the higher price).

The pulled pork was as good as any I’ve had before, with little bits of skin and much more flavor than usual. “Why don’t you do pernil?” I asked him. “The pulled pork really is pernil,” he said. And the sides? At $7 each, I tried the maduros (fried sweet plantains), the torta (Dominican cornbread sweetened with coconut milk), and mac and cheese — pale and more strongly flavored than usual, with a hint of oregano. They were a welcome change from the usual dull barbecue sides, giving the meat some competition.

I liked it so much, I’ll return soon to check out the current selection of meats, hoping for some longaniza.

Time Out Market

55 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Visit Website

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