Photos by Kysha Harris
As much as we would like to, we all can’t get away for Labor Day weekend. Plans fell through, perhaps not even made, but that should not prevent you from having really delicious barbecue. Fortunate for you, I made a food pilgrimage out to Brooklyn last weekend to uncover some ridiculously good smoked meats for your Labor Day feast.
My food partner Jason took the initial trip and provided some mouth-watering photos. That inspired a Sunday impromptu jump in the car and drive out to Red Hook to get schooled by Hometown Bar-B-Que (@HometownBarBQue, 454 Van Brunt St., 347-294-4644, www.hometownbarbque.com). I wasn’t prepared for what was about to happen.
Warning: If you can’t stand the smoke smell, stay outside. I, on the other hand, let it wash over me (even with freshly washed hair). The rustic interior looks like it should be found alongside a gas station in some wide open area in Texas. Less the long line of customers waiting giving straight New York City foodie confidence, I would have left to put on my 10-gallon hat and cowboy boots.
The extended wait on the line only gave us time to take in the wood-heavy space, saloon-style bar and concrete floors. We obsessed over the handwriten butcher paper menu and vasilated between a sandwich, meat by the pound or ribs. The sides didn’t make it any easier.
After the friendly staff informed me that the signature Korean sticky ribs were sold out, I landed on a half rack of Jamaican jerk baby back ribs ($17) with Texas-style queso mac and cheese and Hometown slaw on the side. Jason tried something new with spare ribs ($24 per pound) with collard greens (with smoked pork shoulder), backyard potato salad and whiskey sour pickles as his sides. He also had to take some brisket home ($28 a pound). It all looked and smelled awesome!
Before I even tell you how it was, I am telling you I am going back. The jerk ribs were moist, tender and flavorful, not overly spicy. The spare ribs were peppery with a nice smoke and took their housemade barbecue sauce well. The sides? Yowza! The potato salad was like “mashed potatoes” salad, they had proper greens with proper pot liquor, queso mac and cheese is my new favorite (I gotta try that at home), the mayoless coleslaw was sliced thin and very bright and the pickles provided a nice foil to the heavy food.
And that is the short of it. I’m going back for the lamb belly bahn mi, the sticky ribs (hopefully they won’t be sold out) and banana cream pudding for dessert. I’ll have a draft beer and a whiskey, too, while I wait.
So you say you don’t have a grill and no place to go for a barbeque? Head on out to Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook and get ready to celebrate. I know I will see you there.
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Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.