The BBQ scene in New York City has really been looking up the last few years. People are flocking to Texas to learn how to make the best smoked brisket and meats possible and then bringing their findings back to New York to share with all of us. It’s truly so considerate and kind, and as a Texan, I do have to say some of my most memorable BBQ meals have been in New York. No, I’m not a trader, but the replication of these experiences are very impressive. It makes sense: to stay open in a place like New York, you really have to be the best. People won’t keep you in business here if you suck or are just average. I do have to admit I have had lots of average briskets in Texas, and they are still pumping their smokers at those spots. That being said, Franklin’s in Austin still reigns as king. While you can’t get an exact replica of the southern down and dirty experience here, Bill Durney’s Hometown BBQ is pretty close.
As soon as I step foot inside this giant Red Hook spot, the wooden interior, American flag on the wall, and even the way the line/ordering station looked reminded me of back home. I haven’t had a feeling like that in a while here. The menu, listed on the chalkboard, reveals every item for the day with cuts of meat already sold out by 2:30 p.m. on a Sunday. A pound of brisket couldn’t suffice for three girls, so we upped it up to two pounds, obviously. You order meats by the 1/2 or full pound. The bark on this brisket is key. It’s just as good as ordering your own personal side of burnt ends. Juicy, fatty in all the right places, and tender enough is the definition of this brisket here. Go for the Sticky BBQ Sauce. The hot & Sweet sauce tastes a bit too much like Cholula Hot Sauce sauce which goes better with breakfast tacos to me. They also serve Brisket or Pulled Pork Tacos.
Seriously, all you really need to do here is work up your meat sweats and just get the brisket. It’s too good to want to share room in your stomach with anything else. Props to offering Lamb Belly. I’ve never seen that at a BBQ restaurant which made it exciting and more fun. It’s pulled, tender ,and not your typical selection. The Cole Slaw side is just right without dripping in mayo or too much vinegar. It’s your standard slaw side that you want to much on between bites of meat so that you feel you have some form of veg in your stomach. I also loved the Smoked Pit Beans with Burnt Ends. It almost tasted like chili. The cornbread is necessary and adds that great carby and cake like component.
The Chicken is basically black on the outside. Once you pull back the crunchy skin, the inside is pure white and tender. It’s not very juicy, but the salsa verde and pickled onion on top gives you that moisture and extra boost of flavor. I felt proud eating at Hometown BBQ. I loved seeing a replica of something that resembled home both physically and tastefully. When I looked around, I even thought all the New Yorkers looked like native Texans. BBQ is becoming a part of the New York culture, and it’s places like this one that are allowing it to be so authentic without sacrificing any culture or flavor components. It’s casual, carefree, and a happy pace to be. Grab some friends and get your meat on. It’s an activity, y’all.