Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Jersey >
May 25, 2012 01:02 PM

Dinosaur Barbeque in Newark is open! Has anyone tried it? I've been very hopeful that this one is a keeper.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Good to know! I've been to their location in Harlem and loved everything I tried. I can't imagine these people will do anything different in Newark than they're doing at their other locations...can't wait to try it!

    1. We went last night at 9:15; the restaurant was pretty full. We started with the fried green tomatoes, which were as good as the Harlem location. Mr. diva had a combo plate with ribs and brisket--both meats were maybe a notch below Harlem in terms of tenderness, but still very good. Perhaps the pitmasters need a bit more experience. He also had the gumbo and wedge salad as sides--both very good. I had the sausage sandwich with potato salad--the potato salad is very similar to Harlem's. The house made pickled cukes and onions seemed to be so too. One thing I noted is that many of the 'que sandwiches come on Portuguese rolls from a local bakery. Overall, this is a very welcome addition to the scene.

      6 Replies
      1. re: diva360

        With respect to tenderness, I suspect it's not so much how the meat is smoked, or the talent of the guys watching it, but rather the turnover (how they keep meats warm, how they reheat, etc). Turnover is pretty important, in my experience, with BBQ. Curious to see if they'll have enough volume to hit a nice balance.

        1. re: tommy

          Of course this mini-chain started in Syracuse with outlets in Troy and Albany, both of which opened before the Harlem location; I first sampled Dinosaur's fare at the tulip festival in Albany a couple of years ago. Having lived in TX, I find it closest to the BBQ one can find in Lockhart, Luling, and Tyler, among other places, though not quite as good. Even so, it is mighty fine, and it reminds me of my once-adopted home. I must disagree a bit with tommy, whose opinion I respect greatly on these boards. As the owner of a barrel-style off-set pit-smoker myself, I can say that meat tenderness has a great deal to do with the relative temperature of the off-set smoking process, including its length of time. The person manning (or womanning, in my case) the pit should be concerned with maintaining a constant temperature for a long period of time as well as fending off excess creosote build up and less about turnover. Of course, if the meat is pulled off of the heat source too early in the service of turnover, quality will suffer--that happens in BBQ meccas like TX. I once had the worst BBQ imaginable at a joint in TX at a party during a college graduation weekend because they had clearly pulled the meat off far before it was ready just because they were slammed; it was the grayest, grossest brisket I'd ever seen or tasted, and the ribs were inedible. Pork ribs should take at the very least three hours, while brisket should take at least sixteen with a temperature of about 225. One can speed up the time for brisket by braising, although the chosen liquid will change the brisket's flavor.

          1. re: diva360

            I agree with you that temperature and time impact tenderness and the overall product. I would think they've gotten that pretty much down to a science, with a big ol' temperature controlled pit, and the staff can figure it out with just a bit of oversight. But I could be wrong. I've been invited for a tour of the place, so perhaps I'll go and get some additional info then.

            Smaller briskets take markedly less time than larger ones. Hill Country BBQ places favor briskets that are 8-9 lbs, and they can be done in 10-12 hours. Very difficult to come by around here, and frankly I'm not sure how they get them down there. Wouldn't you have to slaughter the steer at a much younger age? The 15 pounder I had smoked last weekend took a full 24 hours.

            Have you been to Hill Country in Manhattan? To my mind, that's the closest you'll get to Lockhart/Hill Country BBQ 'round these parts. Dino didn't really say "hill country" to me. They don't do beef ribs from what I recall!

            1. re: tommy

              You're right--I haven't really seen beef ribs on a menu around here. And I've never been to Hill Country in Manhattan, though I'd like to go. Mr. diva and I went to Blue Smoke, and we were not super impressed with the meat, though I did like the sides. (You might say, "who cares about sides?" But I'm a petite 100 pound hound, and I just can't eat copious amounts of pure protein, so sides matter to me.) I'd love to have a tour of Dinosaur or one of the other Manhattan places that are growing in popularity--it's nice to see that a formerly localized food culture is getting some real traction!

              Mr. diva has been able to get big briskets here in NJ--especially at the Costco in Union. They generally contain both the fat cut and the flat cut (I am kind of weird in that I like the flat cut). These take about a full day to smoke, and while the meat isn't the best quality to start with, once we smoke it well on low heat for a day or so, it is comparable to true TX BBQ. In any case, best wishes in your search for the best smoked meat! It is an admirable quest.

              1. re: diva360

                Finding big briskets isn't the challenge. It's finding the smaller ones that presents difficulty.

                1. re: tommy

                  I see my mistake--I'll talk to mr. diva and see what he has to say, since he is usually the person that buys meat in our household--he cracks several beers and says, "hey, honey, you should make some potato salad and ranch-style beans while I tend to this meat!." Then, usually, I finish up the sides and end up finally conquering whatever 'que we are cooking, and he makes me a nice stiff martini while we both chow down. I'm wondering if the Pork Store in Union might offer smaller briskets. I really like the sausage they make, and I'm thinking they might be able to order in some small hunks o' beef for your barbequing pleasure. In any case, cheers!

      2. And good to know from the Dinosaur source, not Manhattan, but (drum roll please) Syracuse NY.