GOWANUS, BROOKLYN, NYC | As previously stated by me—and noticed by many of you—I took a brief hiatus from blog publishing for about 7 months. Yet even though I didn't write about any dining experiences during that time, it in no way means that I stopped eating, of course.
Even editorially, as I engaged in what I called the Gotham BBQ: NYC Barbecue Tour, which saw me visit some of the city's eminent 'cue joints, averaging about one every ten days over the summer.
One of the stops was to friend-recommended Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue, located out in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn. The friend (Nicole, a frequent PHUDE NYC co-diner) who suggested it also volunteered to accompany me (with her then fiancé now husband) to make sure I could try as many of the menu items as possible.
And we accomplished that mission, ordering up ribs, brisket, burnt ends, char siu (Cantonese-style barbecued pork), hot links, cornbread, "fridge" pickles, mac 'n' cheese, and coleslaw.
Out of all the BBQ places I did visit, I decided to lead with Fletcher's because they, in my opinion, seem to succeed with the most dishes overall, compared to many of the other 'cue joints.
There is nothing that speaks more to my ideal flavor profile principle of the 5 "S"s—salty, savory, sweet, spicy, smokey—than barbecue, of course, and all of the meat servings plied and supplied them with aplomb. Many BBQ joints make the mistake over covering the meat's natural tastes with sauces and thick rubs—Fletcher's let the meats be the star.
Brisket is juicy, flavorful, and fall-apart tender. St. Louis-style ribs hold smoke and more rendered fat than their baby back counterparts. Burnt ends master the great charred edges—with the right amount of smoke without the bitterness—yet still give way to flavor packed meat and just enough extra fat to dissolve under the tongue's own heat. Hot links respect and showcase not just the heat of extra spices, but the layered balance of them as well. Beef tri-tip elevates its already earthier, meaty flavor with smoke and more minimal seasoning. And the Asian-inspired char siu showcased firmer thin slices of seasoned, smoked pork, abetted comfortably with sweet, umami-tinged dipping sauce.
Yes, even the banana pudding was stellar, nostalgically evocative of one of my favorite desserts of my youth, yet expertly executed for the more nuance, mature palate.
Executive chef, and pitmaster Matt Fisher has plied a lifetime's love, study, research, and vocation of all things barbecue into a very winning representation of why we love barbecue so innately and intensely. The variety of sides are featured as fine items as well, not just afterthoughts. And even a special wood-fired pizza becomes more than "serviceable" with his touch and flair.
My only wish would be for Fletcher's to be closer—or maybe an Upper East Side outpost; regardless, it is still worth the trip. And, full disclosure, I was brought here because Matt was a good friend of the friend who brought me here. And my friend knows me (and my appetite) well enough to know how much I would enjoy the food here.
And much like the getting together with my dear great friends, dining at Fletcher's is like catching up with the great friend of pit barbecue, and enjoying how very well they are doing.
FLETCHER'S BROOKLYN BARBECUE | 433 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215 | (347) 763-2680 | fletchersbklyn.com