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Best Pit Barbecue

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Pearson's Texas Barbecue
71-04 35th Avenue, Queens
718-779-7715

In New York, this category is a no-brainer, because there's only one place in the city that actually serves authentic pit barbecue. (Manhattan emissions codes and greasy pit smoke don't play together well.) After being forced to close its Long Island City location in late 1998, Pearson's Texas Barbecue has found a new home in the rear of a Jackson Heights establishment named Legends, a sports bar. That means lots of locals watching the NCAA tournament, and the Led Zep box set (all four discs!) on the jukebox up front by the bar, but the meat is still great. Brisket, pulled pork, beef and chicken, ribs and sausage are all sold by the pound ($12 to $14), or by the sandwich, stuffed into Portuguese rolls that soak in the sauce nicely ($5.95). Best are the moist brisket and tangy pulled-chicken sandwiches (skip the corn bread). Desserts are brought in from the Little Pie Company and served with a spork.

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