Neighborhood: Red Hook, Brooklyn
Address and phone: 454 Van Brunt St (347-294-4644)
NYC's BBQ game has been on the come up over the past couple years with the emergence of serious meat palaces like Mighty Quinn's, BrisketTown, and Fort Reno. While Mighty Quinn's continues to live up to its mid-year form with excellent brisket and that ridiculously primal beef rib, no one delivers the whole package as well as Hometown.
Barbecue is food that requires some elbow room, and this massive, American flag-draped Red Hook space sets the scene for the type of rollicking Texas roadhouse vibe that's so hard to bottle. Go on a Friday or Saturday night to catch live country-blue bands on stage while you prepare to do battle with a platter full of glistening meats. The moist brisket and on-the-bone short rib both take their inspiration from the Lone Star State—pitmaster Bill Durney studied under Wayne Mueller of the legendary Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, TX, and he's clearly picked up some tricks. But Durney's a Brooklyn boy at heart, and he smartly refracts the BBQ tradition through the lens of the borough's diverse food culture, filling out the menu with less expected items like lamb-belly bánh mì and smoked jerk chicken. Bring a crew to try it all, but don't miss the awesome baby-back ribs, which are firm and smoky down to the bone.—Chris Schonberger
Order this: Brisket (moist), baby-back ribs, Texas-style short rib, cornbread, whiskey sour pickles, creamy mac and cheese