Note: This venue is now closed.
I'm still eating my way through the menu at Alchemy, Texas the new barbecue joint in the back of a Jackson Heights dive bar, but I can't help letting this slip. When it comes to brisket, I've found that Queens barbecue falls behind its Manhattan and Brooklyn colleagues. Though if my sample ($22 a pound) from Alchemy is an indication of future success, the scales are starting to level out.
Alchemy's place at the back of Legends bar used to be the home of the famous Pearson's Texas Barbecue (full primers here and here). Now it's run by Josh Bowen, the man behind John Brown Smokehouse in Long Island City. I've found the brisket at John Brown to be nicely tender but too light on the seasoning and smoke—the pastrami is another story—but Alchemy's version, with its much larger smoker and bolder rub—has no such problems.
The photo above tells you most of what you need to know, but the bark and smokiness of the meat deserve special attention. Both are prominent but balanced, not too crusty, not too sooty, and all in service of tender meat and creamy fat. Ask for fatty brisket and you'll indeed receive it.
This new spot is still young, and has been known to sell out early, so call ahead before you visit just in case. Expect a full report, with notes on consistency and the rest of the menu, in the coming weeks.
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