Barbecue Bliss in the Bronx
New York magazine|August 16 - 29, 2021
Hudson Smokehouse is worth a trip from any borough.
Adam Platt

WE COULD EAT here for days,” my friend the barbecue loon said with tremors of joy in his voice as we stood in line not long ago at the Hudson Smokehouse in the South Bronx and contemplated the bounty up on the great blackboard menu. There were slabs of brisket and smoked turkey breast sold by the half-pound, full and half-racks of pork ribs, and supersize helpings of freshly sizzled pork cracklings seasoned with chile pepper for $6 apiece. There was a house smash burger, and there were eight kinds of sandwiches—one the daunting “Hat Trick” made with three kinds of pork, including the aforementioned cracklings. I think I counted seven varieties of chicken wing, which are smoked and then finished in the fryer (Buffalo, jerk, and barbecue, to name a few), along with a blizzard of sides, including roasted Brussels sprouts, two coleslaws (vinegar and creamy), and a deadly sounding creation called “cheesy potatoes.”

“This is a full-service operation,” said one of the beef connoisseurs we met while standing in line, a gentleman from Nanuet, in Rockland County, just across the Hudson River. He said he makes regular pilgrimages on Saturdays, which is the day when the pitmaster, Kenneth McPartlan, smokes weekly specials like pastrami, which our friend considered to be the second-best pastrami in all the city (“It is not quite as good as Katz’s”), and a giant Texas-style bone-in beef rib that is served up on butcher paper and a metal tray, just the way it’s done in the Hill Country around Austin. Others in the line espoused their own favorites: Two elegant ladies dressed in their weekend best were here for the chicken; two cops on their lunch break recommended the brisket. “It’s a heavy sandwich for lunch, but it’s a good sandwich,” one of them said before his radio crackled and they drove off with their carryout in a cruiser.

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