The Smoke Joint
87 South Elliott Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Having worked up an appetite cruising the Brooklyn Flea & warming up with food from HNH BBQ & Asia Dog, we reluctantly headed out of the Flea & over to meet our lunch guest at The Smoke Joint. (As stated earlier, had we known about the Flea, we would have made plans to meet & eat there, but as we are a cellphone free couple there was no way to change plans.)
When we lived in the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill area, I would have killed for a place like The Smoke Joint. At the time we were in the hood, food choices were a bit limited & many of the offering were – ummm – not really edible. A nice Q place with a bar must have been quite welcome to the area. The Smoke Joint has that casual “hang out have some Q drink some beer have a bourbon” feel. The front opens to provide al fresco dining but still have the comfort of a roof. There is quite a nice selection of craft beers & several nice bourbons.
As it was noon – bourbon was not on my mind – but beer & Q was. (Yes – I was actually still hungry after eating at the Flea.) Cherie’s friend took another 15 minutes to finally show up, so we started with a round of beer & slowly took in the menu.
This is a straight up Q joint. Pork, beef & chicken with a couple of fried seafood offerings. Three kinds of ribs – pork spares, baby backs & beef short ribs – plus pulled pork, hot links, chopped beef, smoked chicken & pulled chicken. They also offer a Black Angus Beef Dog topped with your choice of Q’ed pork, beef or chicken & Brooklyn Wings – their take on chicken wings.
Sides run to the usual suspects – mac & cheese, beans, greens, slaw, corn on the cob & fries. Beyond the beer selection, they offer Boylan’s & Dr. Brown’s sodas, homemade limonade (fresh squeezed lemon & lime), Kinda Sweet Tea & a Tiger Woods (half limonade, half iced tea).
We decided to go the sandwich route for lunch. Cherie got the Chopped Beef & mac & cheese. I went with Pulled Pork & barbecued beans. When our lunch guest arrived, she went for mac & cheese & the smoky greens.
The chopped beef is a combination of shredded beef short ribs & brisket. What is strange to me is they do not actually offer brisket on the menu. My guess is the short ribs are leftovers shredded down in classic Q joint style. (What does not sell – take & make hash/chili/shredded sammies with…) The beef is mixed with the house sauce. A nice sandwich, but I preferred the brisket sandwich from HNH BBQ up the street at the Flea. As to the mac & cheese – well it was nice enough but when you’ve tasted Cherie’s Smoked Mac & Cheese (or the Four Cheese at Macbar), the bar is placed pretty high.
The pulled pork was a bit better. A nice ropey texture with some crunchy bark, it was lightly sauced – enough to keep it moist but not saucy – with a light smokiness. The pork carried over nicely into the barbecued beans with a sweet slightly thick sauce studded with three kinds of pork goodness. Certainly some of the better beans I’ve had.
I had a taste of the smoky greens & have to say – not really knowing greens – they were fairly wonderful. Nice smokiness while still crisp & “green”. Even more interesting – they are meatless! I’ve had many requests for greens at the Hut & this convinces me we can do them & keep our vegetarian side policy.
All in all a nice lunch. This is not necessarily a mecca for BBQ – just a solid neighborhood joint for good Q & cold beer. I guarantee if I were still in the area you’d find me here at least one night a week – if not actually working in the kitchen. Worth dropping by if in the hood & HNH BBQ is not at the Flea.