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Nov 25, 2011 12:14 PM

John Brown Smokehouse review

I finally made it out to Dutch Kills to check out John Brown. (One caveat for this review is the much-lauded burnt ends were sold out so I can't comment on them, but, hey, they sold out so someone must like them.)

I was there on a weeknight and found tables, but I'd expect that peak times would have a wait given the size.

I went with the 3 Meat Platter - this starts at $17, extra couple of bucks for burnt ends or ribs. Meats were ribs, brisket and pork belly, sides were mac-and-cheese and collard greens.

Barbecue is never going to be low-priced in NYC, but this is certainly a bargain, as the massive size ranked among the largest platters I've encountered in the genre.

The ribs were unique and excellent. This wasn't a dry rub but it wasn't a doused-in-sauce deal. There was pepper and I'm not sure what else. Brisket was pretty good but by the end of the deal it seemed a little dry. Pork belly was outstanding. Other times I've had pork belly it was just the small, fatty part, which isn't a bad thing, but these were giant multi-faceted pieces that were more like pork loin.

The mac-and-cheese was addictive; the greens wouldn't garner headlines as a standlone item but, breaking from the frequent doused-in-pork variety, their solemnity was nice counterpoint to the caloric bonanza.

Points off for the beverage set-up, only option is fountain soda, one size which wasn't very sizable.

I expect to return soon for the burnt ends and to sample offerings like the "PBLT."

John Brown Smokehouse
25-08 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11101

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  1. I'd have to second John Browns Smokehouse enthusiastically. Price and flavor is awesome, I just wish they were a bit closer to my side of Astoria. But close enough. This is some kick butt BBQ that has a rustic flavor that I find absent from other NYC BBQ I've had.

    Burt ends are my favorite meat I've had in a long time. Like meat candy. The ribs are the best I've had in the city and the house made pastrami was another favorite. Beans are great, and the green pepper in the slaw is growing on me. The only thing that was just so-so was the mac n' cheese, but I'm more of a beans and slaw fan anyway.

    1. I agree. Great place. Great ends. Nice owner. Liked the greens; not as much the mac'n'cheese. Worth a trip for sure. Portions are the best part. 15 bucks feeds two, easy.

      Anyone try the sandwiches?

      John Brown Smokehouse
      25-08 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11101

      1. Smoked foie gras special today. Like a smokey espresso shot of duck fat. Fantastic.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pookipichu

          agreed. went for the first time this weekend and like the orig poster, had the 3 meat platter with mac and cheese and collard greens.

          def the best bbq i've had in nyc. far surpasses anything i've had at the many well feted williamsburg places. the pork belly was really a winner, and while i wasn't able to try the burnt ends because they were sold out (by 6 pm on a long weekend- but you can call ahead during the day and reserve an order if you know you're going for dinner), the rib tips were also great. the ribs didn't blow me away, but they were def good. and the sides were great. unlike most collard greens around here, these were perfectly cooked and seasoned and the mac/cheese was really good and not too dry.

          not sure what their cooking technique is there. clearly the meats are well smoked, but the meats also come to the front to be stored in the display case wrapped in plastic wrap and i wonder if there is a steaming step somewhere along the way. i don't think they are microwaving anything there, but from the slight wetness of the ribs i wouldn't be surprised if the meat is smoked and then perhaps reheated and rehydrated by steam. whatever they're doing keeps the meat from getting dried out and i'm sure they'd tell you if you asked, we just didn't get around to asking.

          i'd def go back, too. one 3 meat platter was more than enough for 2 people, which means you can get your fill of bbq for under 10 bucks a person- unheard of in nyc. they have changing specials (dry aged steak, foie gras), the service is super friendly, the vibe is cool. the ambience of the room is a bit bare bones, but it def reminded me of ribs places i've been around the country. but it's not uber comfy. but the food is great and the folks are nice and maybe eventually they'll get around to serving alcohol and sprucing up the room. and if they don't, then i'll still have a go to ribs place in queens.

          John Brown Smokehouse
          25-08 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11101