The story of Billy Durney’s path to opening Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook and how he fed a community in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy even before the doors of his restaurant officially opened. Both Speedy and I loved Hometown few years back, but I didn’t know this fantastic story until this video.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, all the hard work and heart Billy Durney put toward building his dream restaurant came to an unexpected halt. But that didn’t stop this bodyguard-turned-pitmaster from pulling through for his Brooklyn community. He lifted his hometown’s spirits with damn good barbecue, and in turn, they inspired his greatest pursuit yet.
Whole hog pulled pork plate from Buxton Hall Barbecue
Q: What was the best barbecue (new or old) that you ate in 2016?
Whole hog barbecue from Buxton Hall Barbecue, Asheville – It’s simply a revelation that you can find true eastern NC/Pee Dee whole hog in the mountains of NC. I can’t wait to get back to Buxton Hall.
Lamb belly from Hometown Bar-B-Que, New York – I didn’t quite know what to expect with lamb belly. It was pulled similar to their pork but had completely different flavor profile. I don’t know where else I might be able to try it again that’s a little closer to home but I want to in 2017.
Brisket and sausage sandwich from Black’s Barbecue, Austin (above) – From review: “And it was amazing, because the fat from the brisket was soaked up by the bun, giving it a rich moist taste. The spice from the jalapenos also gave the sandwich some great flavor. The brisket was the same great brisket you are accustomed to getting from Black’s, as was the sausage. “
Name: Hometown Bar-B-Que Date: 12/2/16 Address: 454 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231 Order: ½ pound pulled pork. ½ pound brisket, ½ pound lamb belly, beef rib, medium queso mac and cheese, medium collards (link to menu) Price: ~$90 (for 3)
Speedy: NO SLEEP TIL BROOKLYN. That’s right, Monk and I took a trip to the big city to play hipster for the weekend, so what’s the first thing on our agenda? Barbecue, of course!
Monk: And not just any barbecue, but artisanal wood smoked barbecue in Red Hook! Friend of the blog Johnny Fugitt actually ranked Hometown Bar-B-Que #2 in his book, The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America. I wanted to check it out last fall when we spent 8 nights in New York but it just didn’t pan out. Mostly because we realized that Red Hook is just not so convenient to get to whether by Uber (much less on fixies, another approved transportation method), whether you are in Manhattan or even in a different part of Brooklyn (as we hipsters found out staying in Williamsburg that weekend).
Speedy: So we rolled up to Hometown, a standalone building near the Upper Bay. The atmosphere is supercool for a couple hipsters like us. It definitely reminded me of a Texas joint, with a cafeteria-style line, a separate bar, and a second dining room complete with a band setup (so hipster!). Monk and I immediately went to work and ordered a little bit of most things on the menu. The meat was cut and weighed right in front of us and we were good to go.
Monk: Well, good to go in the sense that they charged us a buttload of money just to get a decent amount of barbecue. But I guess that’s kind of touristy of us to complain about high prices in New York, so nevermind, back to hipster mode…
Speedy: The first thing to discuss is definitely the beef rib. It was definitely quite the piece of meat. It was seasoned well, providing some bark on the outside, and was cooked to perfection – tender but not overly so. Overall, this was a great start!
Monk: This was my first real beef rib and I agree that it was pretty great, though of course I don’t have the frame of reference that Rudy or even Speedy have. As for the pulled pork, it was fine minus the small pool of grease it was sitting in. This got more and more unappetizing as our lunch went on. I would rank it last of the meats we tried but it was still above average.
Speedy: The brisket definitely exceeded expectations. Monk and I got a cut off a fresh brisket, complete with extra outside.
Monk: Real recognize real…
Speedy: …It was oh-so-peppery and delicious. Not overly seasoned at all – just a really good brisket. The only drawback is that it was a little on the fatty side (we weren’t asked fatty or lean), but I’m nitpicking. This is one thing I’ll be ordering again if I ever find myself in Red Hook again.
Monk: Why would you find yourself in Red Hook again? Pre-gaming for a Bon Iver show or something?
The most interesting meat we ordered was the lamb belly, which was served pulled similar to the pork. In fact, if you weren’t paying attention it was hard to tell the difference between the two just by looking – just a slight variation in brown. It was very, very good albeit again I had nothing to compare it to. The texture varied slightly from the pulled pork and it was more succulent maybe? This being my first time, I’m not doing a good job describing it but I would order it again even if it did have the same pool of grease issue as the pork.
Speedy: I thought the lamb belly was excellent. I was expecting it to look/taste more like pork belly (the only belly with which I’m familiar), but it ended up being quite different. There was definitely a lot of flavor, some vinegar tang, and a little sweetness. I think it tied the brisket for me for my favorite meat of the day (something I try to pick out at the end of every day).
Eater gets Hometown to assemble a platter of all of their meats. Hate that I didn’t get a chance to check it out during my week in NYC last October but its first on my list next time I return.
We can’t get enough of the expertly smoked meats and delicious sides at Red Hook, Brooklyn’s Hometown Bar-B-Que, so we asked them to build us a plate of all their favorites. Watch for a taste of the menu, and get inspired for your next visit.