NEW YORK — The beef rib at Briskettown in Brooklyn weighs a pound, sometimes more. The soft meat, which sticks to your fingers like glue, has a gentle gaminess. The flavor is more livery than minerally, and that's exactly what you want. It costs about $21.
Yes, it's just one rib. And, yes, it's just barbecue (which used to be cheap before beef prices soared and everything went artisanal). Still, the $21 rib is about as good as the $38 version at popular Il Buco Alimentari in Lower Manhattan.
It's brought to us by Daniel Delaney, who sold 2,500 pounds of brisket in 48 hours last spring during his "recipe development series." In November, he opened in South Williamsburg with little more than a few tables, a butcher's block, a cashier and a piano.
As at any proper barbecue joint, you choose your meat and pay before you eat. Everything is priced by the pound.
The brisket ($25 per pound) is legit. Even the leaner slices are moist; the fat silky, never blubbery. The post oak smoke is restrained; then again, so is the meat, perhaps a bit too mild-tempered. Pair with braised collards or beans mixed with more pork and beef ($4), and there's your meal.
Pork ribs ($19 per pound) occasionally veer toward overly tender. Barbecue fans often prefer this cut with a bit more heft; you want the meat to put up just a hint of a fight. Still, these are quibbles.
The only real fault is the salt. Delaney doesn't use enough, not on the brisket at least. Ask for more, and you get the common salt-shaker variety. That's not quite good enough for this far-above-average spot.
Be sure to check the website before visiting, to find out if there's any meat left. Once Briskettown runs out, that's it for the day.
(Briskettown is at 359 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn. 718-701-8909, delaneybbq.com)
Guests won't encounter such Internet courtesies at Mighty Quinn's, another cafeteria-style venue.
The good news is I've never seen Quinn's run out of brisket, which is, bar none, the best in town. Cost: $8.50 for a single serving or $22 by the pound.
The smoke, a mix of cherry, oak and apple, is more pronounced than at Briskettown. The beefiness also is amped up a few more notches. The marbling is gorgeous; the meat pulls apart like an accordion. And every order is finished with sea salt.
So where's the beef from? Co-owner Micha Magid won't say. What Magid and Quinn's are clear about is the style: a mix of Texas and Carolina barbecue, or "Texalina."
That means your pulled pork ($18.75 per pound) is squirted with vinegar sauce; the pig exudes a musky punch, as if it had been dry-aged.
The Carolina influence also finds its way into the ribs ($23 per rack), spiced with a hint of chili. The meat is firm and toothsome.
Smoked chicken ($8.50), with flabby skin and bland flesh, is a sell. So is the $23 beef rib, which is heavily oversalted, with the exterior overcooked into a jerkylike consistency. Sides range from bright, beautiful edamame to saccharine pork and beans.
So stick with meat and beer. You won't go wrong.
(Mighty Quinn's is at 103 Second Ave., Manhattan. 212-677-3733, mightyquinnsbbq.com)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun