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Eat and Drink

Best BBQ in NYC for ribs, brisket and all things smoked

You don't have to go south for great barbecue.

New York City may not be the first place to come to mind when considering top-shelf BBQ, but the city's smoke game has been strong for years. Eateries around the city offer their take on St. Louis-, North Carolina- and Texas-style barbecue, just to name a few kinds.

From brisket to ribs to chicken, here's where to get your barbecue fix in the five boroughs:

Virgil's Real Barbecue, midtown

Virgil's Real Barbecue has been serving up Southern
Photo Credit: Virgil’s Real Barbecue

Virgil's Real Barbecue has been serving up Southern comfort food like hush puppies and Memphis-style (dry rubbed and hickory smoked) ribs from its midtown location since 1994. The midtown smokehouse and restaurant also offers Carolina-style pulled pork dinner, which uses vinegar during the smoking process. (152 W. 44th St., $6.95 for sides to $49.95 for a "Pig Out" combo platter, virgilsbbq.com)

Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue, various locations

For a more environmentally conscientious meal, head to
Photo Credit: Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue

For a more environmentally conscientious meal, head to one of Fletcher's two locations for their hormone- and antibiotic-free, locally sourced meats, all smoked over maple and red oak. The selection is widest at the Gowanus headquarters, where the daily, rotating menu features everything from pork ribs to barbecued chicken, and you can taste two meats and two sides as part of the signature platter. (Unfortunately, that flagship location is closed for summer renovations.) At the smaller outposts at the DeKalb Market Hall and seasonal Jacob Riis Beach Bazaar, a sandwich or wings are your best bet. (433 Third Ave. and 445 Albee Square West, Brooklyn, Jacob Riis Park, Queens, $1.95 for a small side to $20.95 for a platter, fletchersbklyn.com)

John Brown Smokehouse, Long Island City

The burnt brisket ends are a must-have at
Photo Credit: John Brown Smokehouse via Facebook

The burnt brisket ends are a must-have at this Kansas City-style barbecue joint. And the house lamb sausage is a nice nod to Astoria, Long Island City's largely Greek neighbor to the north. Hop off the 7, E or G train at Court Square and indulge in some savory pork belly or foie gras on no-fuss plastic trays -- but call first to see what's available, as the popular items go fast. (10-43 44th Dr., Queens, $4 for an eight-ounce side to $27 for a whole slab of pork spare ribs, johnbrownseriousbbq.com)

The Smoke Joint, Fort Greene

Wash down your 14-hour smoked brisket or pulled
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

Wash down your 14-hour smoked brisket or pulled pork platter (pictured) with bourbon at this rough-edged Brooklyn standby. You may have to eat while standing if you stop by before a BAM or Barclays event, but the budget prices and pit-smoked flavors will make it worth your while. (87 S. Elliott Place, $5 for barbecued beans to $28 for a full rack of St. Louis ribs, bcrestaurantgroup.com)

Mable's Smokehouse, Williamsburg

Southern hospitality, honky tonk charm and some excellent
Photo Credit: Mable's Smokehouse

Southern hospitality, honky tonk charm and some excellent brisket is what you'll find at husband-and-wife team Jeff Lutonsky and Meghan Love's down-home Williamsburg eatery. Most of the grub at Mable's, named for Lutonsky's grandmother, is based on her Oklahoma recipes. If you're really feeling hungry, go for one of the De Lux Platters; those come loaded with several kinds of meats and three sides, like cornbread, candied yams and collard greens. (44 Berry St., Brooklyn, $5.95 for sides and pie slices to $55.95 for a platter with a full slab of ribs and one other kind of meat, mablessmokehouse.com)

Hometown Bar-B-Que, Red Hook

At Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook, no inspiration
Photo Credit: Hometown Bar-B-Que

At Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook, no inspiration is off the table. Owner Billy Durney offers classic barbecue meats smoked on oak wood and sold by the half pound -- brisket, pulled pork and beef ribs -- as well as unique dishes that represent the diversity of Brooklyn's flavors: Vietnamese hot wings with cilantro ranch dressing, Jamaican jerk baby back ribs and a lamb belly banh mi sandwich. Grab a beer at the bar before getting on line to place your order; you'll be waiting at least 45 minutes before you get to the counter and a carver at the restaurant's busiest times. (454 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn, $4 for a small slide to $33 for a whole rack of jerk baby back ribs, hometownbarbque.com)

Mighty Quinn's Barbecue, various locations

This barbecue chain originated at Smorgasburg and now
Photo Credit: Nick Solares

This barbecue chain originated at Smorgasburg and now has outposts across the city, in New Jersey and as far as the Phillippines. Its owner and pitmaster, Hugh Mangum, refers to his style as "Texalina," or a mix of Texas and Carolina styles. All meats are naturally raised. (Various locations including the East Village, Crown Heights and Yankee Stadium, $3.25 for pomme frites to $29.95 for a full rack of spare ribs, mightyquinnsbbq.com)

Pig Beach, Gowanus

This Gowanus barbecue joint is known for a
Photo Credit: Jessica Hirsch

This Gowanus barbecue joint is known for a being a chill summer hangout, but with Balthazar's Shane McBride and Del Posto veteran Matt Abadoo manning the smokers, Pig Beach has won some serious barbecue accolades for its pork. It added a 7,000-square-foot indoor space last fall, so now you can chow down on brown sugar and sticky honey-glazed baby back ribs, pork shoulder drizzled with hatch vinegar barbecue sauce and mac 'n' cheese with toasted Goldfish crackers all year round.(480 Union St., Brooklyn, $3 for chocolate chip, fudge brownies to $19 for a full rack of ribs, pigbeachnyc.com)

Fette Sau, Williamsburg

Fette Sau has been serving smoked meat and
Photo Credit: Fette Sau via Facebook

Fette Sau has been serving smoked meat and craft beers out of a raw Williamsburg warehouse space for years, and played a hand in turning the area into a culinary destination. The meat is smoked with red and white oak, maple, beech and cherry and employ the dry rub technique (no sauce). Picnic tables and outdoor seating abound. (354 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, $5 for four half-sour pickles to $29 for a pound of black angus beef brisket, fettesaubbq.com)

Arrogant Swine, Bushwick

As the name implies, this meat joint is
Photo Credit: Arrogant Swine

As the name implies, this meat joint is dedicated to a "whole hog" barbecue style that's seasoned with a vinegar pepper sauce and topped with crackling. Besides pork, Arrogant Swine also serves up spare ribs, chicken legs and wings, as well as sides like mac 'n' cheese pressed into the shape of a waffle. (173 Morgan Ave., Brooklyn, $4 for some sides to $15 for a half-pound of East Carolina whole hog with cornbread and slaw, arrogantswine.com)

Butcher Bar, Astoria

What started as an Astoria butcher shop selling
Photo Credit: Butcher Bar via Facebook

What started as an Astoria butcher shop selling pasture-raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats from local farms expanded into a next-door smokehouse in 2014. Today Butcher Bar has a second location on the Lower East Side, Both serve the "meat candy" burnt ends the restaurant takes great pride in, one as a sandwich, the other as an appetizer. (37-10 30th Ave., Queens, 146 Orchard St., Manhattan, $6 for house-brined pickles to $95 for a two-person tomahawk steak with two sides, butcherbar.com)

Blue Smoke, Kips Bay and Battery Park

Danny Meyer's barbecue joint is the place to
Photo Credit: William Brinson

Danny Meyer's barbecue joint is the place to go if you're a lover of the Kansas-style slow-smoked kind. A $20 "Pit Stop" plate at lunchtime gets you a choice of meat -- from baby back ribs to turkey pastrami -- a side of your choice, coleslaw, jalapeños, pickles and a biscuit. If you're planning a group outing, opt for the "Whole Pit" for the table, which comes with family-style servings of all meats and sides for $40 per person. (116 E. 27th St. and 255 Vesey St., $3 for a biscuit to $40 for a share of the "Whole Pit," bluesmoke.com)

Hill Country Barbecue, Downtown Brooklyn and Flatiron

In an homage to the craft of Texas
Photo Credit: Hill Country Barbecue

In an homage to the craft of Texas barbecue, Hill Country smokes its brisket, beef and pork ribs in a dry rub. Most nights you can also enjoy live music with your huge Texan "Pitmaster" meal, complete with brisket, a pork spare rib, a hot link, roasted chicken and two sides (the likes of sweet potato bourbon mash and campfire-baked beans with burnt ends). (30 W. 26th St., Manhattan, $4 for cornbread to $32 for a "Pitmaster" platter, hillcountry.com)

Daisy May's BBQ, Hells Kitchen

Fans of Daisy May's come for its Kansas
Photo Credit: Daisy May's

Fans of Daisy May's come for its Kansas City-style sweet and sticky ribs and sandwiches piled with brisket, pulled pork or pulled chicken. Pair your meats with Cajun-style dirty rice and beans, collard greens and many more Southern comfort food favorites. (623 11th Ave., Manhattan., $10 to $45, daisymaysbbq.com)

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