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Best Barbecue

  • Rub BBQ

    208 W. 23rd St.; 212-524-4300

    Barbecue is its own world, moving to unalterable rhythms and primordial fumes. That makes it hard to produce in New York City, where everyone wants to be fed five minutes ago, and the words “it’s not ready yet” might as well be in Ugaritic. Only one barbecue in New York really hews to those artisanal rhythms, and it shows. Unlike most of the city’s other big barbecues, which make their food in batches and store it for later reheating, rub’s small size allows it to pay attention to each rack of ribs and each brisket end individually—and, in most cases, to send it from the hot pit directly to your waiting maw. And unlike the city’s newer, smaller places, it cooks with real barbecue equipment, not cut-rate Easy-Bake versions. The ribs, both spare and baby back, are competition-quality; the beef may be even better. Burnt ends, twice-smoked cubes of intensely succulent, tender beef brisket, are available every day, and unutterably rich short ribs on Mondays and Tuesdays. Don’t miss out on the house-smoked bacon, either, made from Berkshire pork bellies and cured with a recipe blessed by Tennessee pork guru Allan Benton. Only in the chicken category is rub second best; Dinosaur’s birds are tastier and crispier, both whole or as wings.

From the 2007 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine