To see what all this Brooklyn barbecue fuss was about, I ventured away from the ACC tournament site to find the nearest place to sample the local fare.
The Smoke Joint, a five-minute walk from Barclays Center, offered plenty of choices. While I enjoyed the meal and the portion was sizable, North Carolina (both Western and Eastern) doesn’t have to worry about being surpassed in the barbecue game.
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My server, Kweku Saunderson, informed me the St. Louis style spare ribs were a favorite as well as the beef brisket and the pulled pork shoulder plates.
The pulled pork caught my attention. Slow cooked over hickory for 12 hours, it was moist and delicious. It had a pepper flavor to give it a slight kick but nothing overwhelming.
The two sauces available, Saunderson said, were mild and hot. The mild had a sweetness to it that was appealing. The hot really wasn’t. No kick could be found.
The side of baked beans, though, turned up the heat. With chunks of pork and sausage added in, the side dish was hearty and satisfying on cold March night.
Other reviews rave about Smoke Joint’s black angus beef hot dogs, which come with cole slaw, sauerkraut and homemade relish toppings. They’ll even top it with pork, chicken or beef.
But that’s for another time.
This is about barbecue and the intense regional rivalries that are on display this week. The ACC has invaded Brooklyn for the second March in a row to hold its basketball tournament.
Basketball and barbecue are the hottest topics. Let the debates continue.