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Carolina BBQ

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This Carolina boy just moved to the city and needs his barbecue - that means slow-smoked pork in a vinegar based sauce. I've heard some good things about various BBQ joints around the city, but I want to know which ones know how to smoke pork.

Any thoughts?

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  1. For my money, the best BBQ in NYC is RUB, but it's not Carolina style, it's Kansas City style. Brother Jimmy's SAYS they have Carolina style....So does Virgil's. Reports on both have been very mixed. I've been to Brother Jimmy's recently, and it isn't awful, but I don't think it's going to be as good as what you want.

    Virgil's is Times Square touristy.
    Brother Jimmy's is Frat Boy/Football fan noisy

    2 Replies
    1. re: plf515

      Virgil's is so *not* NC style. Not close. I hate to say it, but the closest I've seen to real Southern 'cue (although not quite NC) was a little dive in downtown New Haven. Having carted a few quarts of the real thing up to the City, I can can tell you that it travels very well and freezes if necessary.

      Sorry, but you'll have to get back to Wilson to get the real deal.

      1. re: rockycat

        Will soon be spending a great deal of time in New Haven. Can you remember the name of the restaurant?

    2. Pies and Thighs in Williamsburg serves N.C.-style pork that gets good reviews. I've not been there yet, but it's probably a good bet.

      1. Hi Carolina - you will definately dig this spot out in South Slope (that's the south part of Park Slope) in Brooklyn. I went to birthday there a while back, and have definately returned since. the nc style pulled pork is fantastic.

        Bar BQ
        689 6th Ave
        Brooklyn, NY 11215
        (718) 499-4872

        1. Virgil's is great food but if you are looking for what you get back home in Carolina do not go there! There is a place called porky's or something in New York. Much more authentic.

          1. I am here to say that Pies 'n' Thighs is GREAT. Don't know how it will measure up to the stuff you get at home, but they do serve pulled pork with a Carolina style vinegar-based sauce. The coleslaw on top is a little weird, instead of shredded cabbage, it seems like it's been pulsed in a food processor, great taste, just a strange texture. Great hush puppies, served with homemade tartar sauce. My friend had the collard greens and there was definitely some serious ham hock action in the greens. For dessert get a WHOLE PIE if you dare, the key lime was out of this world.

            It is kind of hard to find, it's a tiny hole in the wall, literally across the street from and almost under the Williamsburg Bridge, near the Domino Sugar factory. And there isn't much space to sit down and eat, none really, but you can sit down in the adjoining bar (Rockstar Bar), order a beer, and they'll bring you your food. The bar is kind of a rough joint, lots of tattoos and leather, but nice folks. In the summer, they have picnic tables in the loading dock, out next to the smoker.

            1. Yeah, good luck with that... I've been a NC transplant since 1997 and I'm STILL looking... IMHO, the only way to get good NC bbq, is to do what I do... go down for a visit and bring some back for the freezer.

              I did not like Virgil's or Brother Jimmy's... If I had a dollar for every chef up here who claims to make "real NC BBQ" I'd open my own joint!

              ps. I saw somewhere on this thread where you're from Wilson?? I am an ECU graduate, and I'm sure you're aware of the BEST eastern NC 'cue is from B's BBQ. ; )

              3 Replies
              1. re: TarheelYankee

                I can testify to Pies n Thighs as being a quality place for someone looking for that Eastern NC BBQ. I grew up in North Carolina too so I've got that "Carolina Style" knowledge in my blood. I will say that if youre in Williamsburg ever, go to Pies n Thighs because it completely satisfied my craving 100% for a slaw-topped pulled pork sandwich. They didnt have hush puppies though unfortunately, but its is pretty cheap and they deliver around the neighborhood.

                Just writing about this made me decide to eat there for dinner.

                1. re: jsmckinney

                  Pies n Thighs huh? I'll add that to my "to do" list, thanks for the suggestion! What part of NC did you grow up in? I'm headed back down to NC for a long memorial day weekend and will bring back a smoked butt from a local guy who sells BBQ on the weekends. I can't wait!

                2. re: TarheelYankee

                  I'm an ECU grad too! I think Daisy May's has great bbq and swet tea, but it's nothing compared to Bee's in Greenville...

                3. Blue Smoke is good.

                  1. I have yet to have a good exerience at Rub. It's not cheap, they don't give you plates and utensils, and the Que I've gotten there was lukewarm and felt like it was lying around. The burnt ends were tasty but again, not warm.
                    Odelay, I'm a NYer but I've been going down to the OBX for years and years, and always get plenty of Carolina pit BBQ when I'm down.

                    I can't believe noone here has mentioned Daisy Mae's. It's at 46th and 11th and it's the best goddamn barbeque in the whole city. Their pulled pork bbq sandwich is topped with cole slaw and ridiculously good. All of their ribs are delicious and the sides are outstanding as well. You'll thank me!

                    1. It may not satisfy you, but RUB explains why the bbq doesn't come out 'hot' on their menus, I believe. Here's a quote from a recent profile on Grub Street with one of their waiters--

                      What do you do when people who don’t understand barbecue complain that their food is cold?

                      We smoke meats 180 to 220 degrees; we don’t have a hot 400-degree oven. You explain to them, “This is a slow, smoked cooking product. If the ovens were any hotter, it would dry out in four hours instead of being cooked in twelve.”

                      The lack of utensils and plates isn't that uncommon in bbq joints, either....I'm surprised that you had food that you thought was laying around because they often run out of items early in the day....

                      I'm just glad that NYC has plenty of que options to satisfy (most, if not) all these days....

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: BackyardChef

                        When did RUB stop putting out knives and forks?

                        1. re: ahr

                          They haven't stopped using utensils at RUB, but there is a tradition of bbq served on butcher paper that is meant to be eaten with your hands.

                          RUB does have utensils for beans and such.

                          1. re: BackyardChef

                            raji212: "they don't give you plates and utensils"

                            BackyardChef: "The lack of utensils and plates isn't that uncommon in bbq joints, either"

                            I'm posting once more, just to avoid any potential misunderstanding based on raji’s assertion and the appearance that you initially confirmed it.

                            For the record: whenever I've visited RUB, my table was fully set with silverware (stainlessware?) when I sat down. I've even used a fork to eat the pulled pork.

                            1. re: ahr

                              Thanks for being so thorough....

                              1. re: BackyardChef

                                I'm sorry for the confusion. I meant to say raji212: "they don't give you REAL plates and utensils" meaning you get plasticware and plastic baskets

                                1. re: raji212

                                  Are we talking about the same place? Depending on what you order, the meats are served on butcher paper on metal trays and/or in cardboard "boats," with sides in boats or styrofoam cups. The utensils are metal, not plastic.

                                  1. re: ahr

                                    Is it really that important-- particularly plastic vs metal? Their food is great and served simply. I don't think I've used utensils much there (except for some sides and, except for the onion strings, I don't eat alot of sides....). The 'cue is the thing-- part of the reason they don't make a production about the presentation....

                                    Like I posted earlier, despite the fact that RUB does in fact have utensils, there is a long tradition of serving bbq without. The utensils you need are 'at the end of your arms'...

                                    1. re: ahr

                                      I really could care less about the plates and utensils... although it's part of the experience, it's all about the 'cue. I wouldn't be complaining about that while simultaneously extolling Daisy Mae's. But I've been there a few times and I won't go back because I think it's way overrated. I don't expect my 'que to be hot, but I don't expect it to be cool to the touch, either. Buy a chafing dish.

                                      I'd even rather go to Virgil's than RUB.

                                      But seriously, any BBQ aficionado living in NYC who hasn't yet been to Daisy Mae's cannot call themselves a bbq aficionado... that's how much better it is than everywhere else I've been. Their Memphis dry rub ribs are the best ribs in the city...!

                                      1. re: raji212

                                        FYI....a chafing dish is NOT the best way to hold bbq....That is a sure ticket to much drier food.

                                        Sorry that you've had such bad experiences at RUB. More good 'que for me I guess...LOL.

                                        I've had some good food from Daisy May's, but I don't agree with your statement above-- "any BBQ aficionado living in NYC who hasn't yet been to Daisy Mae's cannot call themselves a bbq aficionado"

                                        No offense to Adam, but I've eaten 'que all over the country and didn't feel that Daisy May's was a revelation in any way. I respect what he has built, so that is not meant as a put down.

                      2. Dinosaur has some real good pulled pork. The sauce is not vinegar-based though & Blue Smoke's pork is mighty tender too & has some vinegar-based sauce on the side.

                        1. I'm a fellow NC transplant (go pirates!) and I LOVE Daisy May's BBQ. I actually prefer the sides and ribs to the bbq. The cremed corn with cheddar and mashed potatoes are amazing. The sweet tea is fairly authentic too.

                          Also, dinosaur bbq is great too! I've had the pulled pork there and its great.

                          Nothing compares to Hog Heaven or Bee's BBQ though...

                          1. Ottomanelli Bros. on 82nd and York just purchased its own smoker and hired a real live pitmaster. You should catch the aroma in the morning! They are smoking their own St. Louis ribs, pulled pork and brisket. It's unlike any bbq available in this city. You can get meat to go or have them make up a sandwich for you.

                            1. The Big Apple BBQ is this weekend in Madison Square Park. You'll be able to get true bbq there!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: njeggy1

                                I'll be there with my pit assisting one of the restaurants. Looks like it will be a beautiful weekend of great food!