Well, I tried and failed again. For a second time, my friend and I headed to Lucali’s to taste some of their famed pizza before going to a show in Gowanus. The first time we went, the wait was too long, so we headed somewhere else that actually turned out to be quite delicious–no worries. This time around, Lucali’s appeared to be closed that day (I could’ve sworn it said they were open online!!). So, once more we found ourselves looking for another option. My friend had her car–I’ll pause so you can just take in the magnificence and luxury that is being able to ride around in a car that is not a cab in New York City–so we decided it was as good a time as any to explore the nearby, relatively isolated neighborhood of Red Hook. Yet again, not being able to get Lucali’s led us to something else tasty. To Hometown Bar-B-Que we went!
Red Hook is part of a peninsula in Brooklyn that is probably best known for 1) Having a giant IKEA and 2) Being not so close to the subway. It’s a quiet little area, probably due in part to the lack of subway lines, with some pretty nice views of the water and the Statue of Liberty. It’s also a historic area, first settled in the 1600s by the Dutch. The name comes from the Dutch “Roode Hoek,” with “roode” referring to the red clay soil of the area and “hoek” meaning point or corner.
When you’re looking for what to eat in the neighborhood, Hometown Bar-B-Que pops up as one of the best options. The restaurant feels huge and airy, especially compared to other barbecue restaurants in the city. There are two expansive rooms, and it almost feels like you’re inside a giant warehouse. The space definitely seems fit for a hoe-down, and in fact, they have live music every Friday and Saturday night.
In traditional barbecue style, you walk up to the counter, tell them what you want, and they’ll slice up the meat right then and there and put it on a tray for you. You’ll probably even get a little sampling of something before placing your order too.There’s the usual fare of meats like brisket, turkey, spare ribs, and pulled pork, along with more unusual items like lamb belly, jerk baby back ribs, and sriracha hot wings. And don’t forget about sides like smoked pit beans with brisket burnt ends, collard greens with smoked pork shoulder, whiskey sour pickles, and corn bread.
My friend and I decided to split a half pound of brisket (the best type of barbecue meat you can eat in my humble opinion!), a couple of sausage links (their sausage is of the jalapeno and cheddar variety served with honey mustard), Texas-style queso mac and cheese (as two Texans obsessed with queso, how could we not?), and hometown slaw (adding this makes it a well-balanced meal, right?). We were both used to getting slices of white bread with our barbecue meals, but if you want bread at Hometown, they’ll serve you up some of a beautiful, golden baguette.
There are two sauces on the tables, Hot & Sweet and Sticky, that you can use with your own discretion. I’m a sauce-lover, but I know plenty of people prefer their smoked meats without it. The sausage reminded me so much of the taste of kolaches, which if you’ve never had one you must try now. And I do like how they gave you a specific sauce to go with it, since that’s not so common. I was wanting a little more “queso” taste with the mac n cheese, but queso or not, I would’ve ordered the mac n cheese anyways–it is my go-to side for a Southern meal after all.
We went on a weekday evening, but I’ve heard that the place can get pretty packed on Saturdays and have a bit of a line. Makes sense if people are deciding to make a day out of exploring Red Hook and enjoying the spacious and relaxed vibe of Hometown. And insider’s tip, the Ikea ferry between Manhattan and Brooklyn is free on the weekends, so car or not, you can get yourself on over to Roode Hoek for a laid back, barbecue experience.
1/2 pound brisket, 2 jalapeno and cheddar sausage links, Texas-style queso mac and cheese, hometown slaw
454 Van Brunt St
Brooklyn, NY 11231