'Barbecue' on Serious Eats

Smoke Signals from Jackson Heights at Alchemy, Texas

The first thing to notice in your average New York barbecue joint is the design. Earth tones. Distressed wood. Painstaking efforts to make the place feel more casual than its position in the ruthless New York restaurant world would suggest.

That's not the case at Alchemy, Texas, a barbecue joint in the back of an old man sports bar in Jackson Heights. The wood's been there for a while. So have the balding men drinking at the bar. I get the impression that the plastic red-checker tablecloths were bought to fancy up the place.

And the 'cue? On a good day, it's up there with some of New York's great smoked meat. On other days it disappoints. As the two-month-old spot settles into a groove with its customers and works through the quirks of its smoker, that success seems likely to improve. In the meantime, go early in the evening. And spring for the beef.

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First Look: Tres Carnes, Mexican-Flavored Barbecue with Texas Smoked Meat in the Flatiron

Tres Carnes opened last week serving up a fusion of Mexican flavors and Texas-style smoked meats using the (dare I say it?) Chipotle service model. If the concept sounds familiar, the barbecue has a stronger pedigree than you may suspect—the restaurant has enlisted Mike Rodriguez as pit master, who spent almost a decade running the pits at the legendary Salt Lick in Texas. More

Mighty Quinn's: Has NYC Barbecue Come of Age?

Until Mighty Quinn's opened its doors, here are the words I would use to describe the better barbecue joints in town: sincere, well-meaning, tasty, digitally derived from copious sampling across the country, deferential, and stylistically derivative. Most people would come out any one of a half-dozen cue joints in town and say, "Hey, that was good barbecue, for New York." It'd be the culinary equivalent of damning with faint praise.

But the the arrival of pitmaster Hugh Mangum's East Village restaurant creates a new standard for barbecue in New York City. Smoked meat that is good—not just for New York—but for barbecue fans everywhere.

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