Here’s a sentence I never expected to say in my life: I found heaven in Gowanus last night. Heaven is located right on the canal, off the beaten path, at Pig Beach. Finding this is one of the more exciting things that’s happened to me.
You cant find spots like Pig Beach in Manhattan; you have to go to Brooklyn. It’s a giant booze and barbecue garden. The seasonal outdoor space is the brainchild of some restaurant heavy hitters. Rob Shawger, Shane McBride (Balthazar), Ed McFarland (Ed’s Lobster Bar), and Matt Abdoo (Del Posto) came together to open Pig Beach one year ago. They are members of the highly competitive BBQ circuit teams Ribdiculous Bar-B-Krewe and Salty Rinse. They call their collaboration an “exciting new foray into the smoked meat universe.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The venue is seasonal because it’s all outdoors. It’s a sprawling area with several dozen communal picnic tables. The outdoor bar is huge and slings local beer, wines on tap, and craft cocktails. Spanning the length of the venue is a massive outdoor smoker & grill area where you can watch pitmasters chop and dish up meat. Lots and lots of meat. Obviously, you can play corn hole under the white Christmas lights that hang from above you. Everyone is young and having fun. You’ll hardly notice that you’ve been sitting for 3 hours and have somehow crushed 6 pitchers of rose. Maybe that’s just me?
Now, for the food. Dear god do I love the food. They have all the BBQ greats on deck: pork shoulder, ribs, smoked turkey, hot sausages, and tri tip. I have never had meatier ribs, which was finished with a blow torch for cartelization. Their smoked & charred vinegar wings are meaty and delicious. They have a charred juicy burger that comes drowning in house pickles, white american cheese & secret sauce on a martins bun. They even have a veggie burger, if you want to do a thing like that.
In addition to the killer food, they have a guest pitmaster takeover series all summer long. They will play host to Mike Emerson & Skip Steele (Pappy’s Smokehouse, St Louis, MO), Chris Lilly (Big Bob Gibson, Decatur, AL), and Pat Martin (Martin’s BBQ, Nashville, TN). This way you can truly have a different experience every time you visit. Brilliant. You can buy tickets on their website. Go there, go often, drink in summer. Here’s what we had:
Hatch Vinegar Wings - smoked, charred & slathered in our signature sauce