Mighty Quinn’s, Briskettown Sell NYC’s Top BBQ: Review

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Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg

A slab of fatty beef at Williamsburg's Briskettown. The meat is often undersalted but always expertly cooked, with silky fat.

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Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg

A slab of fatty beef at Williamsburg's Briskettown. The meat is often undersalted but always expertly cooked, with silky fat. Close

A slab of fatty beef at Williamsburg's Briskettown. The meat is often undersalted but always expertly cooked, with silky fat.

Photographer: Giacomo Fortunado/Mighty Quinn's via Bloomberg

Mighty Quinn's barbecue. The East Village restaurant boasts some of the city's best smoked meats. Pulled pork exudes a musky aroma, as if it's the porcine version of dry-aged steak. Close

Mighty Quinn's barbecue. The East Village restaurant boasts some of the city's best smoked meats. Pulled pork exudes... Read More

Photographer: Giacomo Fortunado/Mighty Quinn's via Bloomberg

Spice-rubbed pork ribs on the smoker at Mighty Quinn's barbecue. The ribs have the correct degree of firmness. Close

Spice-rubbed pork ribs on the smoker at Mighty Quinn's barbecue. The ribs have the correct degree of firmness.

Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg

A slice of smoked beef placed on the scale at Briskettown. All meats are weighed and priced by the pound. Close

A slice of smoked beef placed on the scale at Briskettown. All meats are weighed and priced by the pound.

Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg

The beef rib, which costs about $21, at Briskettown. It has much flavor as the $38 short rib at Il Buco Alimentari. Close

The beef rib, which costs about $21, at Briskettown. It has much flavor as the $38 short rib at Il Buco Alimentari.

Photographer: Ryan Sutton/Bloomberg

Daniel Delaney, owner of Briskettown in South Williamsburg. "There will be no innovation, as the wheel doesn't need to be reinvented," Delaney writes on his website, referring to his barbecue. Close

Daniel Delaney, owner of Briskettown in South Williamsburg. "There will be no innovation, as the wheel doesn't need... Read More

The beef rib at Briskettown in Brooklyn weighs a pound, sometimes more. The soft meat, which sticks to your fingers like glue, has a gentle gaminess. The flavor is more livery than minerally, and that’s exactly what you want. It costs about $21.

Yes, it’s just one rib. And yes, it’s just barbecue (which used to be cheap before beef prices soared and everything went artisanal). Still, the $21 rib is about as good as the $38 version at Il Buco Alimentari.

Doesn’t seem so expensive now does it?

It’s brought to us by Daniel Delaney, who sold 2,500 pounds of brisket in 48 hours last spring during his “recipe development series.” In November, he opened in South Williamsburg with little more than a few tables, a butcher’s block, a cashier and a piano.

As at any proper barbecue joint, you choose your meat and pay before you eat. Everything is priced by the pound.

The brisket ($25 per pound) is legit. Even the leaner slices are moist, the fat silky, never blubbery. The post oak smoke is restrained; then again, so is the meat, perhaps a bit too mild tempered. Pair with braised collards or beans mixed with more pork and beef ($4) and there’s your meal.

Pork ribs ($19 per pound) occasionally veer towards overly tender. Barbecue fans often prefer this cut with a bit more heft; you want the meat to put up just a hint of a fight. Still, these are quibbles.

The only real fault is the salt. Delaney doesn’t use enough, not on the brisket at least. Ask for more and you get the common salt-shaker variety. That’s not quite good enough for this far-above-average spot.

Be sure to check the website before visiting, to find out if there’s any meat left. Once Briskettown runs out, that’s it for the day.

Mighty Quinn’s

Guests won’t encounter such Internet courtesies at Mighty Quinn’s, another cafeteria-style venue.

You get in line and ask for a beef rib. “No beef rib,” the butcher says. “How about chicken?” He shakes his head.

“How about those Yankees?” Don’t even try. This guy is here to cut meat. And the good news is I’ve never seen Quinn’s run out of brisket, which is, bar none, the best in town. Cost: $8.50 for a single serving, or $22 by the pound.

Gorgeous Marbling

The smoke, a mix of cherry, oak and apple, is more pronounced than at Briskettown. The beefiness is also amped up a few more notches. The marbling is gorgeous; the meat pulls apart like an accordion. And every order is finished with sea salt.

So where’s the beef from? Co-owner Micha Magid, previously of JPMorgan and Basswood Partners, won’t say. Barbecue chefs are big on secrets. What Magid and Quinn’s are clear about is the style: a mix of Texas and Carolina barbecue, or “Texalina.”

That means your pulled pork ($18.75 per pound) is squirted with vinegar sauce; the pig exudes a musky punch, as if it had been dry-aged.

The Carolina influence also finds its way into the ribs ($23 per rack), spiced with a hint of chili. The meat is firm and toothsome.

Smoked chicken ($8.50), with flabby skin and bland flesh, is a sell. So is the $23 beef rib, which is heavily over salted, with the exterior overcooked into a jerky-like consistency. Sides range from bright beautiful edamame to saccharine pork and beans.

So stick with meat and beer. You won’t go wrong.

The Bloomberg Questions

Price: Full dinner for two under $100 at both.

Sound Level: Loud at Quinn’s; quieter at Briskettown.

Date Place: Briskettown is; Quinn’s is more of a mess hall.

Special Feature: $4 breakfast tacos at Briskettown.

Inside Tip: Take-out is the quickest route out of Quinn’s.

Back on My Own Dime: Yes, to both.

Briskettown is at 359 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn. Information: +1-718-701-8909 or http://delaneybbq.com/. Mighty Quinn’s is at 103 Second Avenue, Manhattan. Information: +1-212- 677-3733 or http://mightyquinnsbbq.com.

Sound-Level (in decibels): 51 to 55: Quiet enough to converse. 56 to 60: Speak up. 61 to 65: Lean in if you want to hear your date. 66 to 70: You’re reading one another’s lips. 71 to 75: You’re yelling. 76 to 85: Ear-splitting din.

(Ryan Sutton writes about New York City restaurants for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own. Follow him on Tumblr at www.thepricehike.com or www.thebaddeal.com.)

Muse highlights include Jeremy Gerard on theater and Katya Kazakina on hot art.

To contact the writer of this column: Ryan Sutton in New York at rsutton1@bloomberg.net or qualityrye on http://twitter.com/qualityrye

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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