Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Smoke Joint


In my recent review of Fette Sau I commented that they produced a style of barbecue that might one day be known as "NYC" style. I was unaware at the time that the term had been coined by Fort Green, Brooklyn barbecue restaurant The Smoke Joint, who do indeed eschew regional allegiances in favor of a unique style that favors local inspiration. The Smoke Joint actually predates Fette Sau and while the menu is less ambitious I found that they turn out a more consistent product.


The Smoke Joint is well named. Despite its Brooklyn moorings the wood paneled interior and simple chalk board menu, coupled with a the smoky aroma from the kitchen could easily be situated on a dusty country back road.

The food is where the The Smoke Joint reveals its local roots. The short ribs might look like classic 'cue but it is served with a spicy soy based sauce which is thinner than regular barbecue sauce. Similarly the hot dog is something that you don't see on barbecue menus that often.

The blue cheese wedge, a staple at NYC steakhouses, makes its way on to the menu again emphasizing The Smoke Joints local roots. While it did not quite match up to to what you will find at a chophouse it only costs $4. The coleslaw was also quite tasty

The beef shorts ribs cost $16 for two and proved to be a bargain. While I did not much care for the soy based sauce that comes with them I thought they were succulent enough to stand on their own, no sauce required.

The beef rib had a wonderfully tender and flavorful interior, ribbons of smoky meat easily succumbed to the slightest fork pressure. The exterior crust, while not anywhere near as thick as the bark that covers the 'cue at Fette Sau, was still substantial and while it might have lacked a bit of bite it had a pleasing caramelized texture.

Black Angus hot dog

I am sure devotees of Nathans might take issue with the 'Joints claim that their black Angus beef hot dog is the "best in Brooklyn," but I did find it delicious. In addition to the hearty beef flavor it had a skin that literally snapped when bitten in to, releasing a juicy flavor explosion. If I had one criticism it is that the dog is just too skinny, getting lost somewhat in the bun.

You can remedy hot dogs lack of girth by adding hacked beef, a delicious combination.

Hacked Beef

I enjoyed the food at The Smoke Joint, while the menu is more limited than its Brooklyn neighbor Fette Sau the beef items on offer are, pound for pound, more consistent and the sides are better. Just as at Fette Sau, The Smoke Joint won't make me give up my Manhattan favorites and I wouldn't travel a great distance to eat there but if I lived close by I could see myself eating there with some frequency.

The Smoke Joint
87 S Elliott Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 797-101

3 comments:

John said...

It's not a great distance; by subway, it's only a stop past Canal St. - about 15 mins from Union Sq.

Nick said...

Granted but Hill Country, Blue Smoke RUB and the new Wildwood are all closer to Union Sq. As I said, I liked the 'Joint and would eat there frequently if I lived closer but I actually live right by Union Sq...

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