*Editor’s Note: I’m sad to report that the incredible 5Ptz has been demolished and no longer exists.
This day didn’t go exactly as planned. I had met up with my buddy Tom and had intended to bring him to MOMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens to eat at one of my favorite places in the world, M. Wells Dinette (see: here, here, here, & here). Whenever we get together, it always ends up being an exercise in gluttony. Meat for days. However, as soon as we walked up to the entrance of MOMA PS1, I knew something was wrong. There was a number of t-shirt-wearing staff outside guiding visitors into a line. Not a good sign. I asked one of the staff members if M. Wells was open and was informed that there was a special event going on called EXPO 1 and that we would not be able to eat at M. Wells on this visit. Bummer, but not to worry, I’m more than able to salvage the venture.
Even though we’re already quite hungry, we decided we still had enough energy in us to take a quick, amazing detour. Right across the street from MOMA PS1 was an enormous warehouse lot that was completely covered in professional graffiti. You can think of this place as an outdoor street art museum. There were so many different styles of incredible street art to see. Every inch of every side of the compound was completely covered in amazing works. It was definitely worth the the trek to Queens on its own.
But let’s not forget, the purpose of this journey was to eat. Now that we were good and hungry, it was time to b-line to John Brown Smokehouse, a barbecue joint a few blocks away that I had learned about and loved on previous visits to Long Island City. Upon arriving, Tom let me take the reigns on the ordering. He knows I’ll never steer us wrong. We placed our order then grabbed a beer and made our way to their spacious outdoor backyard. It was a really pleasant, tranquil space made even better by the perfect weather that day.
Although it may not have looked like we got a ton of food, the portion really hit the spot for us (especially since we had an additional eating destination on our itinerary for the day). As you can probably tell, we don’t like wasting our time on filler aka non-meats.
The first of our selections was Pulled Pork. It came as a pile of tender, shredded meat with some fatty and crispy bits. This meat was the mildest of the bunch and took really well to the sticky barbecue sauce and sliced white bread on the table.
I had read great things about the Lamb Sausage, so I knew it had to be part of the meat line-up. The sausage came sliced and was a multitude of brown tones. The texture of the filling took me by surprise, it was not as moist as I would have liked, but that’s not to say it was bad sausage by any means. It had a pretty gamey lamb taste which benefitted from a swipe of the house barbecue sauce. It was a pretty interesting sausage, but in general I prefer sausage moister and snappier.
It’s strange to spell it Pork Bellie, I know, but you can call it whatever you want as long as it’s that meaty, fatty, bacon-like pig belly meat I love. There was a great spice rub on the edges and delicious streaks of fat that melted in my mouth in every bite.
All the other meats may be good, but there is one reason you come to John Brown’s and this is it. I knew that we absolutely needed to have their Burnt Ends so I doubled up the order weight on that item.
Every bite was unreal. There was a thick, crispy, spice-loaded, caramelized crust surrounding the most tender, fatty, melty bits of beef brisket in every bite. This was the kind of dish that’ll make you re-evaluate everything you thought you knew about beef. Sorry Tom, I may have ruined all other forms of beef for you now that you’ve experienced these insane burnt ends.
If you find yourself in Long Island City or are looking for a bite after a visit to MOMA PS1, John Brown Smokehouse is a worthy choice. All of the meats are done very well, but it’s those ridiculous burnt ends that stand ahead of the pack making John Brown’s a destination worth traveling for.
45-46 Davis St Long Island City, NY 11101
John Brown Smokehouse
10-43 44th Dr. Long Island City, NY 11101