Food & Drink

The 11 best BBQ spots in NYC

Published On 05/12/2014 Published On 05/12/2014

A couple years ago, BBQ kind of sucked in NYC (not all of it, but definitely pretty much all of it). Then, like Eli Manning that time he won a Super Bowl, it stopped being totally terrible. BBQ joint after BBQ joint emerged, leaving NYC with an actually respectable 'cue game.

For the sake of this list of NYC's 11 best spots, we're gonna leave off both out-of-the-box BBQ-ers Fatty 'Cue and recent Brisket King of NYC Ducks Eatery, and go full-on traditional. We hope you brought napkins.

Facebook/ Mighty Quinn's

Mighty Quinn's Barbeque (click here for address and info)
East Village
Finally opening a proper restaurant after its massive success at Smorgasburg (where it still has a stand), this Texas and Carolina hybrid spot from pit master Hugh Mangum offers a no-frills counter service environment flush with hardwood-smoked, bigger-than-your-head beef ribs, just-as-delicious-but-less-humongous spare ribs, and excellent brisket.

Andrew Zimmer

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (click here for address and info)
Harlem and Gowanus
Originally from upstate (and actually also starting as a food stand of sorts for Harley riders), Dinosaur is one of the old guards in NYC that still stands up. Now available at two locations (hello, Brooklyn branch), you can grab their St. Louis ribs, brisket, and less traditional fare like the Pork-Sket (Texas brisket layered with cheese, then topped with pulled pork and slaw).

Facebook/ Delaney BBQ

BrisketTown (click here for address and info)
After a long haul from Texas with a trailer of wood in tow, and countless tests with the subscription pop-up BrisketLab, Daniel Delaney's Brooklyn shop now serves an exemplary version of the tender, smoked meat in surroundings that draw just as much influence from the Texas originals. Bonus: you can catch them doing their thing in sandwich-form at the SmokeLine on the High Line, with chopped brisket, pulled pork, or smoked chicken.

Facebook/ Hill Country

Hill Country (click here for address and info)
Flatiron and Downtown Brooklyn
Technically, you can get lean brisket here... but you can also get single-stuffed Oreos, and you don't do that, do you? Go with the moist, and then feel free to load up on sausage, chicken, and green bean casserole before heading downstairs for some awesome live music in this ode to central-Texas meat markets.

Andrew Zimmer

Hometown Bar-B-Que (click here for address and info)
Red Hook
It's worth the trek to Red Hook for this massive BBQ hall doing Texas-style brisket, St. Louis-style ribs, and a bunch of other meat-sweat inducers that pit master Billy Durney traveled all over the country learning how to do just right. Oh, and they're breaking the rules a bit too, with additions like a lamb belly banh mi and jerk baby back ribs.

John Brown Smokehouse (click here for address and info)
Head here for Kansas City-style eats, like their killer burnt ends and awesome pulled pork that mingle with things like house-cured pastrami, badass lamb sausage, and even foie gras.

Facebook/ Blue Smoke

Blue Smoke (click here for address and info)
Gramercy and Financial District
Danny Meyer's spot helped usher in an air of respectability in the NY BBQ scene. And even if it's not considered super-authentic, it's still damn delicious, thanks to a North Carolina-style pulled pork platter, Texas-style salt and pepper beef ribs, and Memphis baby backs all on hand (or on face, more likely).

Andrew Zimmer

Fette Sau (click here for address and info)
This narrow garage-like spot in Williamsburg offers an excellent beer selection, on top of meats like a pork belly that gets rubbed with espresso, melt-in-your mouth brisket, and sometimes -- if you're lucky -- one of their amazing specials like the don't-knock-it-'til-you-try-it pastrami beef tongue.

Facebook/ Fletcher's Brooklyn BBQ

Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue (click here for address and info)
Wood-smoking everything in a pit made in Texas, this spot also aims to honor the neighborhood and borough by keeping ingredients as local as possible for their brisket, burnt ends, and ribs, as well as letting some local influence creep in for dishes like their char siu pork steak.

Smoke Joint

The Smoke Joint (click here for address and info)
Fort Greene
Combining tried-and-true BBQ methods with skills picked up from years at fine dining establishments, this roadhouse-style spot is doing eats like St. Louis ribs, pulled pork smoked for 12 hours over hickory, and what some consider to be one of the best hot dogs in the game -- which, by the way, you can also top with pulled pork, beef, or chicken.

Mable's Smokehouse & Banquet Hall (click here for address and info)
This labor of love -- from a husband and wife team who're using their Grandma Mable's recipes -- rocks a honky-tonk feel and gets dirty with Frito pies, awesome mac 'n cheese, and of course, meats like hot links, St. Louis ribs, and brisket.

Andrew Zimmer is Thrillist's NYC Editor, and if it was socially acceptable to eat BBQ every day, he would. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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1. Fette Sau 354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

"Fat Pig" is the German translation of this barbecue spot's name, and that's exactly what you'll feel like (in the best possible way) after a meal here. Fette's dry-rubbed BBQ and special smoke blend makes their meat both unique and delicious. The pork belly gets its own espresso-inflected rub and the brisket comes with a fatty top layer that basically dissolves in your mouth.

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2. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que 604 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Before Dinosaur Bar-B-Que was a kitschy blues-and-barbecue chain, it was a motorcycle hang in Syracuse, and all of its locations across the Eastern seaboard pay appropriate homage to its biker bar history. As for the food, the ribs, pulled pork, and brisket are something to write home about, as are the sauced-up hot wings. Live music, featuring acts from rock and reggae to R&B and classic soul, keeps Dinosaur BBQ's honky-tonk charm alive.

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3. Hometown Bar-B-Que 454 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Pitmaster Billy Durney's Red Hook restaurant is smoking authentic regional barbecue like Texas-style brisket and St. Louis-style ribs. The menu is inspired by Durney's New York childhood spent eating eating at the international food carts along Flatbush Avenue, so options like lamb belly bánh mì and Vietnamese hot wings make the cut as well.

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4. Mighty Quinn's BBQ 103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

This fast-casual BBQ joint has multiple outposts in the city, but the original holds strong at its 6th Street East Village location, bringing the sweet smell of smoked meat to 2nd Avenue. There's a real authentic flavor here, whereas many BBQ spots in the city have an artificial smokiness to their meat. The fall-apart brisket at Mighty Quinns doesn't even require sauce, but you might want to add one of the local drafts on tap to your order.

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5. Hill Country 30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010 (Flatiron)

This gigantic, high-design roadhouse is modeled after Texas' 107-year-old Kreuz Market -- like at that institution, HC patrons'll order heaping piles of ribs, brisket, sausage, and slop-sopping white bread at a cafeteria-style counter. Their brisket is smoked over post oak straight from Texas, producing a meat so fatty and moist you don't even need sauce. There's a stage for live music, and once that gets going you'll be as close to Central Texas as you can get in, er, the Flatiron District.

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6. BrisketTown 359 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

This pop-up-turned-brick-and-mortar serves up classic Texas-style brisket, ribs, and BBQ. Its fatty cuts are especially memorable, but the tender bite and peppery bark of most of the meats will have you coming back for a ton more. Your taste buds could be satiated with a carnivorous entree alone, but sides like tangy collard greens and creamy mac 'n cheese round out the savory, umami-ful experience.

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7. Mable's Smokehouse and Banquet Hall 44 Berry St, New York, NY 11211

Refurbishing former tonic water factory digs with their own four hands, the husband & wife team behind Mable's stocked their airy, industrial barn-steezed "roadhouse" with long communal tables set with chairs they either built themselves or sourced from flea markets, a giant buck head shot by the owner's cousin, and a central bar lit by hanging rusted buckets. The sliced brisket is lean with the perfect amount of fat and smokiness to not even require sauce. Order at the counter and be served almost as quickly as you can sit down.

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8. Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue 433 Third Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Fletcher's is a Brooklyn BBQ joint that serves all-natural, hormone- & antibiotic-free meat smoked over maple and red oak in the American tradition of pit barbecue. Everything about the place is fairly modern and pristine, and you can expect higher prices than some of the more "down-home" barbecue options in New York. Meat and sides are served on a metal tray lined with butcher paper, and we absolutely recommend ordering the burnt ends and the chili mac and cheese, containing actual chunks of brisket.

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9. John Brown Smokehouse 1043 44th Dr, Long Island City, NY 11101 (Long Island City)

John Brown is serving smoky deliciousness to Long Island City with his Kansas City-style BBQ, including drool-inducing favorites like their burnt ends, pulled pork, and house-cured pastrami. The space is no frills, with a handful of picnic tables and a chalkboard menu behind the counter. The food arrives on white paper with plastic utensils, and hopefully there's a large portion of their amazing cornbread on that paper.

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10. Blue Smoke 116 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016 (Flatiron)

The Flatiron outpost of Blue Smoke's grilling that same BBQ goodness that officially brings authentic Southern eats to the big city. BS also hosts the annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, which attracts 'cue lovers from all over the place to fill up on more than they can handle.

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11. The Smoke Joint 87 S Elliott Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (Fort Greene)

Combining tried-and-true BBQ methods with skills picked up from years at fine dining establishments, this roadhouse-style spot is doing eats like St. Louis ribs, pulled pork smoked for 12 hours over hickory, and what some consider to be one of the best hot dogs in the game -- which, by the way, you can also top with pulled pork, beef, or chicken.