Name: Pig Beach Date: 7/21/19 Address: 480 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231 Order: Sampler platter with ¼ rack of ribs, ¼ lb of pork shoulder, brisket, and turkey each; 2 links of Yankee red hot sausages (link to menu) Pricing: $$
Monk: To say I’ve had a mixed history with Brooklyn barbecue would be an understatement. On one hand there was my introduction to Brooklyn barbecue at the now-closed The Smoke Joint in Fort Greene, which may be the single worst barbecue restaurant I’ve ever been to. Then, there’s the ridiculously good, 4.5 hog Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook, expertly run by Billy Durney. If those are the two ends of the spectrum, just where would Pig Beach in Gowanus fall?
Despite the fact that the weekend that Mrs. Monk, the eldest Monkette, and I were in New York was during a heatwave, we opted to go to the beer garden locale of Pig Beach because in addition to having a decent reputation for barbecue it looked like a cool spot and surely there would be some shade right? The restaurant is located just off the Gowanus Canal, but thankfully we didn’t have any issues with any smells from the canal wafting into the beer garden area. In the back corner of the property behind an outdoor bar was a smokehouse comprised of a number of Ole Hickorys, which are gas-assisted wood smokers.
What we got from those Ole Hickory pits was a bit of a mixed bag. The two best meats on this day by a good margin were the brisket, which had a nice peppery bark and was well-smoked, and the “Yankee Red Hot Sausage” which is stuffed with the unique combination of provolone and hot cherry peppers. I’m no sausage expert but I definitely had not seen provolone in a sausage before. Unorthodox or not, it worked for me.
A notch below was the smoked turkey, a meat I don’t usually order at barbecue restaurants. I probably won’t start ordering it on the regular but if other restaurant’s turkey is smokey and moist along the same lines of Pig Beach, then that’s a decent option.
The pork was bland and forgettable and the rIbs may have been holdovers from the previous day based on how chewy I found them. Both were very forgettable on this day.
For sides we picked coleslaw, mac and cheese (dusted with goldfish crumbs nonetheless), and cucumber salad. All were well executed and above average.
Pig Beach has a great setting that would have been even more pleasant had it not been in the middle of a heat wave in late July. They’ve also got no shortage of drink options from local beers to cocktails, so you can definitely stick around for awhile after you finish your meal. On the Brooklyn Barbecue Spectrum (trademark pending), they are definitely more Hometown than Smoke Joint for sure.
He continually refers to whole hog barbecue as “Carolina” style which isn’t completely accurate. Ho is smoking eastern North Carolina style whole hog barbecue, which is similar as the style of barbecue from the Pee Dee region of SC. And of course there is Lexington-style which just smokes pork shoulders. There really is no singular style of barbecue called “Carolina Barbecue” that is only whole hog as he asserts.
He refers to “outside brown” as the “burnt ends” of pork and says its an off menu item. It’s not really – its just the bark from the pork shoulders in Lexington-style barbecue which locals know to ask for extra in Lexington joints. Not to mention that there’s actually a thing as “pork burnt ends” which is just cubed smoked pork belly tossed in sauce.
I’m not a big barbecue competition circuit guy but I wonder how accurate his classification of KCBS vs Memphis Barbecue Network competitions are when he says that KCBS contestants are way too serious where Memphis just wants to party
Regardless, I do appreciate Tyson Ho preaching the gospel of NC barbecue (both eastern and Lexington-styles, serving both at his restaurant) when the trend in barbecue for the past few years is all about Texas and brisket.
Having been born in New York, Ho wanted to know: Who makes the best barbecue in the country. This set him on a quest that would take him across the country, but he realized one thing soon. To him, the best barbecue was that from the Tar Heel State. After spending time learning from legendary pitmasters, Ho took his newfound knowledge and skills back to New York and opened Arrogant Swine.
But what actually makes North Carolina the best barbecue in the country? (Note: The editors do not agree on this point.) What even constitutes true North Carolina barbecue? Want to know where to get that barbecue and fulfill all of your porcine desires? Well, you’re in the right place. ‘Cue this episode up and prepare to be hungry.
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.
Arrogant Swine in Bushwick demonstrates a Carolina whole hog technique on a whole lamb.
On today’s fresh episode of Prime Time, Ben Turley and Brent Young head to a barbecue restaurant called Arrogant Swine, to meet up with Tyson Ho, an expert in North Carolina barbecue. The guys talk whole animal barbecue, and why cooking whole lambs makes so much sense.
– Just a few more items from the #BrooklynBBQ controversy last week
I talked to @Nicholasgill, author of the infamous Brooklyn BBQ article. He usually writes about conservation & foodways in South America, “but nobody cares about that,” he told me. “They care about barbecue.” https://t.co/IIok4qvZBM
They opened B’s doors at 9 a.m. on those days (the Riverside restaurant usually doesn’t open until 11 a.m.), slinging Council’s biscuits stuffed with country ham and apple butter or Furman’s fried chicken or sausage gravy. “If you come to a barbecue joint looking for a healthy breakfast, you’re in the wrong place,” Furman says. “We do not do gluten-free here!”
At some point, they added brisket hash to the menu. Then, they started selling beignets. And almost every morning, they sold out.
When a re-posting of a 2014 article takes over the internet on a Sunday; Munchies on how one food writer noticed a micro-trend of barbecue restaurants around the world modeling their restaurants on Fette Sau in Brooklyn
– Sam Jones agrees, and is a friend of Billy Durney of Hometown Bar-B-Que
Take a breath folks. BBQ is defined by geography. To say any is superior to the other is simply a personal preference, and a bit closed-minded. In my opinion, @BillyDurney does some fine work in Brooklyn.
– A few NC sportswriters in Brooklyn for this week’s ACC Tournament actually tried Fette Sau and the verdict? Actually pretty good!
When all was said and done, the four Carolina boys that showed up on their barbecue high-horse were left with little room to eat their words — fat and surprisingly happy — after chowing down on a couple pounds of meat.