When Hurricane Sandy shattered Red Hook, few believed the outsized barbecue restaurant Bill Durney had projected for a cavernous industrial space on Van Brunt Street would ever open its doors. But eleven months later, with the help of indefatigable community hands and nary a cent from the government or insurance, Hometown Bar-B-Que sold its first plate of brisket and cemented its reputation as one of the city's finest smokehouses. Since that day in 2013, the born-and-raised Brooklynite's menu has evolved, but the core vision remains unwavering: Pay homage to the live fire pits and beef traditions of Texas with a New York twist. In Durney's case, that twist often manifests as a synthesis of spices and flavors derived from the multicultural community of his youth — like succulent lamb belly bánh mì, a tribute to Vietnamese grocers; and bacon pastrami tucked into a tender, steamed bao, a teasing nod to his Jewish neighbors. Besides brisket, in-the-know patrons order Korean sticky ribs, which are first smoked and then fried, off the “secret menu." A solid selection of American whiskeys, regular live music, and the now-classic beef ribs capped with the salty-sweet hard-earned bark that's a hallmark of eight to ten hours of smoking convert the steady stream of customers into loyal regulars.
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