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The heavyweight BBQ company got its roots in Albany as a food truck of sorts in the 1980s; now, they serve up spectacular, sauce-slathered dishes like slow pit-smoked pork ribs ($16.95-$26.95) and apple-brined smoked half-chicken ($13.95). Do not, under any circumstances, skip out on the jumbo chicken wings ($3.95-$13.95), which range in spice from mild to hellishly hot; be sure to pair your meal with a side of homemade mac and cheese and baked beans. They are the best, and we're counting down until Dinosaur Bar-B-Que blesses us with our long-awaited Brooklyn location at last.
Everyone from neighborhood families to leather-clad bikers makes the pilgrimage to this perpetually packed Harlem smokehouse. With locations in Syracuse and Rochester, founder John Stage—a himself a Harley lover—transformed a former meatpacking plant into a third outlet in 2004, and he’s been lassoing in fans ever since. Nestled under railway tracks on a drafty riverside corner, with McDonald’s being the nearest other nosh, the bluesy, bare-brick hall attracts clued-in New Yorkers who wait more than an hour for jalapeño-crowned Texas brisket; fleshy, pull-off-the-bone pork ribs; and thick-battered fried green tomatoes drizzled with cayenne-buttermilk ranch dressing. The meats, nursed over hickory in four computerized smoking pits, are South-worthy on their own, but even more so when slicked in the smoky-sweet house BBQ sauce: The secret-recipe condiment magically transforms a notoriously tough Boston butt cut into one of the city’s most lusciously viscous pulled porks. In between pigging out (literally), kick up your spurs to live sets by local soul crooners, like the trumpet-blarin’ Ginetta’s Vendetta and the guitar-strummin’ Dave Fields Band.
Now with locations in Harlem and Park Slope, the chain boasts two hallmark items--mammoth chicken wings and tender pork ribs--both of which hinge on Dinosaur's addictive smoky-sweet barbecue sauce. But meats alone do not a barbecue restaurant make, and dishes like fried green tomatoes with smoked shrimp remoulade, as well as simple sides like Syracuse-style boiled salt potatoes, reveal the attention to detail put into the menu.
The choice for a family outing, the Syracuse-based Dinosaur (like Wildwood) has an unmistakable chain feel to it, and also, like Wildwood, it turns out absolutely cracking barbecue across the board, including an almost impossibly rare barbecued chicken wing. (Wings are hard to smoke because of their rubbery skin.) Food, from appetizer through dessert, arrives in huge portions, and there’s a pint-sized kids menu. Located in Harlem, it’s not as central as some of the other Manhattan joints, but it is near the 125th Street 1 train (and a lot of cool Harlem jazz joints).
Mon-Thurs 11:30 am to 11:00 pm,
Fri-Sat 11:30 am to 1 am
Sunday Noon to 10pm
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