May is National Barbecue Month, as if people need any more of a reason to enjoy some pulled pork or a juicy cheeseburger. With New York City’s great parks and even better butchers, it is the perfect place to celebrate and build your ideal BBQ meal while enjoying some of the city’s prettiest grilling areas. Check out NYC’s top spots, best meat selections, and signature spices and sauces for your day outside.
Where to barbecue: Randall’s Island Park
Even though the location is over the bridge, it is one of the best spots to go to spend some time in the sun with family and friends. The park has several barbecue areas available — most of them right along the water. The island offers plenty of room for other fun activities, too, with sports fields, running tracks, a kayak launch site and bicycle paths.
Where to get your grub: Esposito Meat Market
Located on 9th Avenue and 38th Street, Esposito’s has been around since 1932 and features all the grilling grub you can imagine. They have a long list of homemade sausage, custom blends of ground beef, hamburgers and plenty more. They also have cold cuts and cheeses for any picky eaters who might want a sandwich instead.
Where to barbecue: Van Cortlandt Park
New York City’s third-largest park has plenty to love about it. There are plenty of hiking trails, sports fields, playgrounds, bicycle paths and even fishing spots. There are two designated barbecue areas: one south of 233rd Street in the Allen Shandler Recreation Area, and one on 242nd Street next to a pool.
Where to get your grub: Vincent’s Meat Market
You can fulfill just about any meat craving at Vincent’s. Along with hamburgers and hot dogs, you can also get grilling starter packs with sausages, steak pinwheels, and veggie and meat sticks. They also have baby back ribs, spare ribs, chicken and various types of steak if you are looking for more southern-style choices to go with your favorite BBQ sauce.
Where to barbecue: Prospect Park
Serving as a much-loved center in Brooklyn is the beautiful Prospect Park. The 526-acre green oasis is home to a zoo, band shell, carousel, playgrounds, horseback riding trails, hiking trails and much more. With a dozen different barbecue sites, you have many options for your cookout.
Where to get your grub: Paisano’s Butcher Shop
Paisano’s has been a Brooklyn favorite for more than 50 years — and it’s no surprise why. Along with dozens upon dozens of meat selections, they are also stocked up on their housemade marinades, sauces and spices. The best part about the shop is that it’s only about a mile-and-a-half from Prospect Park.
Where to barbecue: Alley Pond Park
If you are feeling a little adventurous, then Alley Pond is the perfect place to spend the day outdoors. Along with having two barbecue areas multiple groups can enjoy at once, there is also an adventure course with a zip line, climbing wall, swings and more.
Where to get your grub: Muncan Food Corporation
On your way to Alley Pond, make a stop at either the Long Island City or Ridgewood store. Muncan’s has a huge variety of meats, cold cuts and even food that is already marinated and ready to go on the grill, including smoked lamb pastrami, stuffed hamburgers, shish kebabs and marinated pork ribs. The shop also houses tons of European groceries to make your barbecue unique.
Where to barbecue: Willowbrook Park
Willowbrook is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream with plenty of sites to see, including a five-acre lake. The park hosts movies under the stars and even has a handicap-accessible merry-go-round with hand-carved animals. The barbecue area is at the Eaton Place entrance.
Where to grab your grub: Hook and Rail
This whole-animal butcher shop has some outstanding reviews. They focus on providing the best pasture-raised, grass-fed local selections. They have plenty to choose from as well, such as steaks, chicken wings, sausages and much more. They also have garlic butters, potatoes, honey and other locally sourced products that are a great addition to your grilling recipes.