John Brown Smokehouse

Bar, Eatery

27-20 40th Ave
Long Island City
Queens, New York, 11101
United States

(347) 617-1120 | map

View: Place Reviews
Recent ratings and reviews.
Photo of Harrison8
Reviewed by Harrison8 from Missouri

3.94/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.25
It's 'Kansas City' style, so I'll compare with my hometown, Kansas City places. Counter ordering style is typical with staff reminiscent of some of the busier hometown BBQ places. Menu is a bit lengthy, but essentially offers a wide array of styles in one of two sandwich sizes and a platter. Mixed platter menu is limited, but allows the options of combining meats. Side selection is solid. Burnt ends were sold out - typical for KC style. Gives me the impression they're done the authentic way. In the food itself, pulled pork was solid. Dry on the first bite, but there was a little juiciness further into the sandwich. Sauces are solid, with the ghost pepper sauce coming off a little bit like someone mixed a heavy black pepper BBQ sauce with Mad Dog 357. Good level of heat.

Beer selection spans mostly Boulevard offerings. Unfortunately, the beer order place is separate from the counter making businesses expenses not possible on the beer. Worth a stop for BBQ in NYC, but not on my short list for best KC style BBQ.
Sep 12, 2019
Rated: 3.91 by metter98 from New York

Aug 10, 2019
Rated: 4.04 by dbrauneis from North Carolina

Jul 22, 2019
Rated: 4.26 by eluvah from New York

Feb 27, 2019
Rated: 4.5 by SkiBum22 from New York

Aug 15, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by sunofneurot from New York

Jul 20, 2014
Photo of JoeBloe
Reviewed by JoeBloe from New York

4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75
I've been there a few times while working in the area - the previous review by slander pretty much covers all the bases - there is also an outdoor seating area which is pretty nice when the weather is right - the owner likes his beer and likes talking about the beer - I think his 8 taps are usually better selections than the 20+ at the 'nearby' Alewife -he has poured us samples without our asking ("if you like that, try this") and has placed bottles and cans on the table for us to try and share - very cool - oh, and great BBQ!
Oct 06, 2013
Photo of slander
Reviewed by slander from New York

4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.75

In Astoria, or maybe LIC, yeah, probably LIC, but definitely not in Jackson Heights, where stupid Witzel sent me. To some uncool bar with bad beer, and BBQ that wasn’t happening for many hours yet. This must NOT be the place. Pick up the phone, stupid Witzel, pick up the phone…

False start. BBQ place on the strip in LIC, and in, and find stupid Witzel to the rear at the little ‘L’ shaped bar; wide slat wood topped with a vertical slat wood base, and a rustic wood box with 8 taps on the corner with an etched logo piece fronting. Seating for a mere 4 on hightop stools with the front open for service implied. Coolers below a counter backing with slight glassware stemmed. Rear window above holds cans & macro bottles. Tiered piece in the corner with pints, weisses, & shortiers, too. Blackboard wall to the rear lists tap selections; beer, ABV, glass size, and pricing for glass, pitcher, & boot. And a bottle list printed on a blackboard piece on the side wall.

The front wall over 44th of doors panel windowed up. The rest of the place is done up brick with some painted pieces brown. The décor is of many small framed pics of vintage stuff; people and more. Corner gramophone I never noticed before, a cool vintage Saison Dupont poster behind the meat counter would look stellar in my crib, a rear corner flatscreen and another one on the far wall. Wall mounted lampage & mismatched drop lamps throughout the room from a drop pressed tinesque tile ceiling, and what Witzel is saying is a stoneware floor, not crappy lino.

I’m thinking there are a baker’s dozen tables in all; the ones forward the bar sharing bench seating and the rest of them running vertically along the wall up to the front, plus a few around the bend off the bar. And through to the backyard space; 14 or so tables, some checkerboard cloth covered, a few not. Either that John Brown mural on the back wall is new, or I’m short attention span theater.

8 taps; something very local (Rockaway ESB), something regional (Victory Prima), somethings someone else’s region (Kuhnhenn Double Rice IPA, Founders Old Curmudgeon & All Day IPA, Firestone Wookey Jack), and some import play (Weihenstephaner Vitus, Hitachino White Ale). Sampled a bit of this and that but drank the Prima Pils and Wookey Jack. And then Bruery Sour in the Rye came up on tap, oh yes.

Revisited finding a similar but different mix of taps up. Local (Rockaway John Brown Cream Ale, Barrier Barnacle Brown Ale), regional afar (Kuhnhenn Blueberry Pancake Ale, Founders Devil Dancer & All Day IPA, Stone Levitation, Perennial Fantastic Voyage Coconut Milk Stout), and import (Schlenkerla Helles Lager). Some big beers up, but I was most happy with a 4.3% Schlenkerla Helles Lager, lovely. Third time out, sampled some more things (De Proef/Cigar City Tropical Tripel, Founders Rubaeus), and then drank a can of Sea Hag IPA (Sooomeone did a NEBCo run), and the Schlenkerla Helles again.

And roughly a dozen and a half bottles/cans worth talking about + 9 macros and meh. I could drink off the bottle list (Saison Dupont, Founders Red Rye) if I had to, but the taps keep my attention.

So, the food station is in the front corner, the goods listed all blackboardlike on the side wall. Oder up, pay to play, give name, sit down. The meats of the day listed are pulled pork, rib tips, brisket, turkey, burnt ends, pastrami, (by the pound), ribs & chicken (incremental), and wings (by the how many). The Lamb sausage was already 86’d (sold out by 3pm, not too shabby). BBQ by the sandwich, and platters of 1, 2, or 3 meats. Salads, starters, and a variety of sides (beans, corn bread, mac & cheese, slaw, fresh cut fries, & collard greens). I went with the 2 meat platter; pastrami (solid, with a nice spicy brine), and smoked turkey (it was goood), served with white bread wedges and yes, I will have a side of beans (they were all brisket brisketed up, nice). Tried Witz & Dylan’s burnt ends (they were WIN), and pork belly (melted and left cracklins of awesome). On revisit, I took in the 2 meat platter again; pork belly (yum!), and the burnt ends (briny, cruncy awesome ends, totally effin’ excellent). Sided with the beans again although I contemplated the mac & cheese once I saw Witz loaded up, and opted to forego the white bread. And the revisit revisit brisket (solid stuff) & pastrami; as the burnt ends were 86’d early today.

Tunes are happening; not too bad, not too much, not too loud. Wee girl ‘tending, and owner Josh mulling about, too. He’s good shit. Definitely not shy, no, not even remotely so. He doled out some samples (Hitachino White, Rockaway ESB, and then cracked a bottle of JK Scrumpy’s cider for the share). And he likes his Dupont, so he can’t be all that bad. Good drink, and I really need to take in more que here as it’s real damn good, and the proximity to work does not suck.
Sep 26, 2013
John Brown Smokehouse in Queens, NY
Place rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 8 ratings