brooklyn is pretty sparse in the barbecue department. other than smoke joint in fort greene, which doesn’t get great reviews, and the beloved but closed pies ‘n thighs (and which does not seem any closer to reopening), the only real contender for excellent bbq is fette sau. open in 2007 by the owners of spuyten duyvil, fette sau has a fantastic warehouse-like space (originally an auto body shop) with a super casual, low key urban vibe. its large outdoor area is furnished with picnic tables and butcher murals cover the concrete walls making this a great spot to hang out for hours.
fortunately, the style is matched by some pretty sweet barbecue. fette sau’s bbq is all about the smoke (with more than four kinds of wood chips) and a specially-developed dry rub and an aversion to cooking with sauce. often this approach leads to addictive delicious cuts of meat. on the night we were there, we had the excellent st. louis style duroc pork spare ribs, which were soft, succulent and tangy. for sauces, i loved their sweet bbq flavor, though they also have a vinegar (not so great) and a passila chile pepper one.
on that same visit, we also tried the black angus boneless beef ribs which were unfortunately dry and pretty tasteless. but given how good the ribs were, i definitely need to return to try some of the other meats on offer. fette sau prides itself on using organic meats from smaller farmers and as a result their choices vary daily. we didn’t get to sample many that others have raved about including a revered pork belly, pigs’ tails, leg of lamb, flank steak, various kinds of sausages and even a pastrami with a 3-day brine (using a peppercorn and coriander rub). and if you don’t make it during dinner hours (till 11 p.m.), fette sau offers bar snacks like pulled pork sliders and sausage sandwiches until closing time at 2 a.m.
and while i loved my spare ribs, the sides — as nearly all reviews have noted — are pretty mediocre. except for guss’ pickles, which were tart and firm, the soft white rolls, the very meaty baked beans, a chilly broccoli salad and a not so beloved german potato salad were not so delightful. fortunately, the meat is sold by the pound, is not too pricey and is accompanied by an excellent drink selection with whiskeys, draft beer like captain lawrence liquid gold and high and mighty fette sau, and even some unusual wines.
although fette sau easily achieves the best in show ranking in brooklyn, it is probably not the best barbecue joint in new york though it made time out’s recent bbq rundown . since i am no expert (having only been to blue smoke and hill country) , i think that i have a nice bbq summer challenge ahead of me. i will definitely make my way to dinosaur bar-b-que, daisy may’s bbq usa, bone lick park, and rub bbq so i can provide a better assessment. fette sau, 354 metropolitan avenue near havemeyer street, brooklyn, new york, 718.963.3404.