View Full Version : Another Brooklyn BBQ joint - The Smoke Joint

11-30-2006, 09:35 AM
Haven't been there yet, but here's a review from the NY Press...

UNDER FIRE The Smoke Joint’s brand of BBQ By Nicole Davis

Is there any American food more contested than barbecue? Considering five Southern states claim one of their cities is the “BBQ capital of the world”—including North Carolina, which actually boasts a boundary called the “Gnat Line” separating its Eastern and Western styles of smoked meats—just imagine the ribbing Craig Samuels and Ben Grossman have been getting for opening up a restaurant specializing in “real New York BBQ.”

A citified, tin-roof shack in Fort Greene (the former home of Cambodian Cuisine), Smoke Joint has a long, chalkboard manifesto written by the two owners detailing just what in tarnation they mean by this Gotham ‘cue. As far as they’re concerned, it’s “slow-smoked beef, chicken and pork and delicious sides and starters prepared fresh daily by classically trained chefs with a love for all types of barbecue: regional, American and international. You didn’t think that a country a scant couple hundred years old invented burning wood for cooking fuel did you?”

And yet, despite the cover-your-ass mission statement outside, soon after they opened their doors, a customer told co-owner Craig Samuels: “You can’t do barbecue, you’re from Brooklyn!” (This, to an American chef who’s prepared French cuisine at Picholine as well as in France—though no one got in his grill about that.)

“I’m going to put a sign by the wood that says ‘This is not a prop,’” says Samuels as he walked past the piles of maple logs near the entrance the other morning as he opened up the tiny eat-in/take-out joint at 9:30 a.m. Along with hickory and mesquite, the maple fuels the custom-built smoker they imported from Oklahoma to smoke their pork shoulders, ribs and beef briskets overnight. The big, black metal pit is positioned right behind the counter “because it’s difficult to convince our customers we have a smoker,” explains Samuels. (One guy actually accused them of using Liquid Smoke.)

The secret ingredient Samuels and his partner Ben Grossman do use is what they call (nearly in unison) “Jointrub 77,” because it’s the 77th iteration of a rub they spent a year perfecting, and it’s one they’re very cagey about—beyond admitting to a few standard spices like salt, pepper, paprika and cumin. They use it on many of the meats, like the baby (got) back ribs ($10 for a half rack), which I sampled one night with the Jointsmoke and Holla sauces on the side—the first one is brown sugary sweet followed by a peppery kick; the second’s got more fire and vinegar. (The better to wash down with one of their NY-brewed beers, like the Porkslap Ale, just $2.50 a can.)

Tender as the dry ribs were, they paled in comparison to the succulent hacked pork ($10) my friend ordered, an original twist on pulled pork, though both meats called for copious amounts of sauce since the seasoning was just too subtle. We shared dishes like the creamy mac and cheese ($4), which didn’t have the sharp cheddar bite I like (though it is their best-selling side). And I was hoping for more tang in my buttermilk and blue cheese dressed Iceberg wedge, but I felt redeemed by the perfectly vinegary mustard greens ($4).

On a second visit, I basically tried a lot of small bites, starting with the chicken wings ($7), which were not as hot as hot wings (you can ask them to turn up the heat, however) but were so finger-smackin’ good that I can only imagine what the whole chickens are like. The fresh-cut fries ($2.50) were solid and sprinkled with a minor variation of their jointrub, just like the corn ($2), which is first grilled and then rolled around in a pan full of butter—yum! I got the greens again and my husband ordered hacked pork for himself this time, which was just as good but still didn’t leave us feeling like we’d died and gone to BBQ heaven.

After visiting Samuels and Grossman the other day, however, I realized I had heretofore forsaken the beef, and a fantastic, Asian-inspired sauce called the Brown Sugar Chile Glaze. Drizzled over the short ribs ($10), which are smoky and fall-apart tender, it lends a teriyaki sweetness that will make any BBQ bully weep like baby. It’s no wonder they often sell out of these.

“It’s embarrassing,” says Grossman, who has also worked at lots of fine restaurants like City Hall, where Samuels is still the executive chef. “I’ve been in the business 15 years, so I pride myself on knowing how much to order,” he explains. “But we just can’t keep up.”

The two thought they’d be open for lunch by now; turns out it’s a challenge just keeping their NY BBQ on the dinner menu.

The Smoke Joint
87 S. Elliot Pl., Fort Greene, B’klyn

11-30-2006, 03:03 PM

That is an interesting review.

This was hilarious (underline added):

"...the maple fuels the custom-built smoker they imported from Oklahoma to smoke their pork shoulders, ribs and beef briskets overnight..."

I wonder if they paid the tariffs and import duties? :lol:

I think the author actually liked the place--good for them both!


11-30-2006, 03:30 PM
You gotta like that.

I want some of this Porkslap Ale!

11-30-2006, 04:19 PM
I gave Willie B a porkslap.

11-30-2006, 05:39 PM
I gave Willie B a porkslap.

That's funny, so did I...................Oh, you meant the beer.:biggrin:

12-02-2006, 10:27 PM
i'll prouldy take both

12-03-2006, 05:32 PM
I can't keep up with all these new NY BBQ places !!!

BQ - I think you're going to need to build list of all the places that we all need to try in the 5 boro's and NYC... (and the Cookhouse in CT)..

Funny though how these exec chef's are breaking the mold to open BBQ joints.. think that was the story with the Hog House in Huntington too...

I say the next craze is authentic sit down style, indoor Hot Dog stands.... only true competition is Nathan's...