Smoke Squad Descends on Dino
This past weekend, Amy, Hiroshi and I headed out to try Dinosaur Bar-b-que which opened about two weeks ago up in Harlem. The group included famous author and meat consultant to the stars, Mr. Cutlets, Rob from Big Island Bar-b-que, former Beer Frame publisher and Money Magazine writer, Paul Lukas, and 10 more hungry 'cue hounds.
We ordered so much food that they had to bring it to our table with a handtruck. Well, not that much, but close. The total was something like 5 racks of ribs, 4 smoked chickens, 5 orders of brisket flats, 3 orders of brisket deckle (the fatty, 'point' of the brisket), 3 pulled pork plates, every side on the menu, 4 or 5 desserts, and, of course, beer. The food was absolutely legit barbecue. We ordered everything 'dry', meaning no sauce, and mostly, sauce wasn't needed. There was a pleasant smoke ring and substantial, but not overwhelming amount of spice and smoke flavor to most everything. It might not be Arthur Bryant's or even rival the labor-of-love food that comes fresh off of a backyard smoker, but it was damn good and far more tolerable than the boiled and braised excuses for 'cue that are slopped onto plates at many so-called barbecue joints. The salted potatoes were a nice, unusual side dish (an upstate new york favorite which is basically small, boiled potatoes doused in melted butter and topped with salt). The side of chili was also a surprise stand out.
We had score cards that were carefully prepared by Mr. Richter who then tabulated the results and emailed them the next day. The pulled pork was the big winner, followed by the ribs, then the brisket, and lastly the chicken. The chicken, for me, was a big disappointment-- it was juicy, well prepared with a somewhat neutral rub and NO smoke flavor. Oh, well. The ribs, I'll concede were overdone at that fall-off-the-bone point, but they were really tasty and moist. It's hard to keep them from falling off the bone when cooking such large amounts, we all agreed, but valuable points were still taken off for their texture.
Will we be back? You can count on it. This may be the best barbecue in NYC right now. Plus, it's around the corner from Fairway. You can't beat that.