Barbecue in NYC: 2 smoky, tasty must-haves
The beef rib at Briskettown in Brooklyn weighs a pound, sometimes more. The soft meat, which sticks to your fingers like glue, has a gentle gaminess. It costs about $21.
Yes, it's just one rib. And, yes, it's just barbecue. Still, the $21 rib is about as good as the $38 version at Il Buco Alimentari in Manhattan.
It's brought to us by Daniel Delaney, who opened Briskettown in South Williamsburg with little more than a few tables, a butcher's block, a cashier and a piano.
As at any proper barbecue joint, you choose your meat and pay before you eat. Everything is priced by the pound.
The brisket ($25 a pound) is legit. Even the leaner slices are moist, the fat silky. The post oak smoke is restrained; then again, so is the meat, perhaps a bit too mild-tempered. Pair with braised collards or beans mixed with more pork and beef ($4), and there's your meal.
Pork ribs ($19 a pound) occasionally veer toward overly tender, but this is a quibble. The only real fault is the salt. Delaney doesn't use enough, not on the brisket at least. Ask for more, and you get the common saltshaker variety. That's not quite good enough for this far-above-average spot.
Be sure to check the website before visiting to find out if there's any meat left. Once Briskettown runs out, that's it for the day.
Guests won't encounter such Internet courtesies at Mighty Quinn's, another cafeteria-style venue.
You get in line and ask for a beef rib. "No beef rib," the butcher says.
"How about chicken?" He shakes his head.
"How about those Yankees?" Don't even try. This guy is here to cut meat. And the good news is I've never seen Quinn's run out of brisket, which is, bar none, the best in town. Cost: $8.50 for a single serving, $22 by the pound.
The smoke is more pronounced than at Briskettown. The beefiness is also amped up a few more notches. The marbling is gorgeous. And every order is finished with sea salt.
Co-owner Micha Magid calls the style a mix of Texas and Carolina barbecue, or "Texalina." That means your pulled pork ($18.75 a pound) is squirted with vinegar sauce. The Carolina influence also finds its way into the ribs ($23 a rack), spiced with a hint of chile.
Pass on smoked chicken ($8.50), with flabby skin and bland flesh. Same with the $23 beef rib, which is heavily oversalted. Sides range from bright, beautiful edamame to saccharine pork and beans.
So stick with meat and beer. You won't go wrong.
Briskettown, 359 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn
INFO 718-701-8909, delaneybbq.com
Mighty Quinn's, 103 Second Ave., Manhattan
INFO 212-677-3733, mightyquinnsbbq.com