The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
Barbecue biggie Willie B (a/k/a Will Breakstone) may have closed his takeout spot in Bay Shore two years ago, but he’s still in the smoking game. For barbecue buffs, this is cause for celebration.
Right now, you’ll find him at Lily Flanagan’s in Islip, where he’s in charge of both the indoor kitchen and a mobile smoker turning out ribs, chicken, pork, corned beef and pastrami behind the restaurant. There are also burgers and hot dogs off the grill.
If you want the ‘cue fresh out of the smoker, you’ll have to be there at tailgate time, before 1 and 4 p.m. on Sundays. Order indoors; Breakstone plates your meat outside and then it’s finished in the kitchen.
I went this Sunday and had an OMG moment after biting into one of Breakstone’s baby back ribs (make sure you order them dry-rubbed, so they're not overpowered by a glaze of bbq sauce). Beneath a crust pebbled with spice was gloriously pink meat, the trademark of low and slow smoking. I get wistful just thinking about it.
A pulled pork sandwich was in a class by itself, the juicy, smoky shards just dabbed with (rather than drowning in) barbecue sauce. But potato salad lacked flavor. So, too, curiously, did the house-smoked corned beef in a Ruben sandwich. Thankfully, the moist, savory smoked chicken more than compensated.
Accompanying fries were hand-cut, freshly fried, crisp, nutty and potato-y. Homestyle coleslaw made for another plus.
On days Breakstone isn’t out in back smoking, he finishes the previously smoked vacuum-sealed meats indoors on the grill, serving them up either dry-rubbed or “wet.”
Most civilized time to go? Definitely lunch. The place gets pretty raucous at night, especially during a game, when you’ll have trouble hearing yourself think, let alone converse.
Lily Flanagan’s is at 528 Main St., Islip, 631- 581-1550
Willie B's dry-rubbed ribs (fries in background) at Lily Flanagan's in Islip