After nearly 15 months of my friend Rev preaching the gospel of Rub BBQ I finally made it last week! With guy friends in the city from out-of-town I didn’t need to think twice about where we would eat and reunite. Opened in 2005, Rub BBQ (aka Righteous Urban Barbecue) has been slaying it for thousands of the city’s loyal ‘cue cultists.
The place is a little bit smaller than I expected but the down-home vibe and friendly staff made me feel like I was back in my hometown of Kansas City rubbing elbows and licking my fingers.
While waiting for my friends I inquired as to the availability of burnt ends to pair with my Lagunitas IPA. In case you don’t know… burnt ends are the creme de la creme of the barbecue world. Synonymous with Kansas City barbecue, I grew up eating these. They are the crazy delicious and flavorful smoky ends of the fatty part of the brisket and they are AMAZING. If you’ve never had them, I suggest you drop everything and get to Rub ASAP. But note that these little nuggets of deliciousness go fast so go early!
The BBQ Gods looked down on me and soon I came face to face with 1/4 lb of the last burnt ends of the day. Coupled with my beer I was in a state of pure bliss. For just a few minutes the entire restaurant was tuned out as I savored every single bit of these nuggets of BBQ gold. But my peaceful moment soon faded away as my buddies from DC blew threw the door ready to get their meat on.
And boy did we ever! Between six of us we ordered 1/2 lbs of brisket, pulled pork, smoked pastrami (my friend Rev’s very spot-on recommendation), a full rack of 12 hour ribs, large side of beans, vinegar based cole slaw, greens and potato salad. With eyes larger than their stomachs, my boys were skeptical if this would be enough.
Our order arrived and we went at it; a mad rush ensued in the passing of food. This is damn good BBQ and we ate every single last bite. The overwhelming favorite was the smoked pastrami which really surprised me. It eclipsed the brisket (which is usually one of my favs) but resembled it albeit a more pinker version. Think you know pastrami? You don’t know pastrami until you taste this. When Rev suggested it I immediately thought of the deli counter pastrami, but this is NOTHING like any pastrami I have seen or tasted. Go ahead and get your usual BBQ favorites but make sure you order some pastrami.
Our meal was not complete without a few deep-fried oreos on the insistence of our server. After participating in a veritable meat fest, they became the icing on top of the cake, they were pillowy beignets surrounded by soft warm oreos. I’ll eat almost anything if its deep-fried and oreos rank at the top of my deep-fried pyramid.
The six of us enjoyed beers and barbecue for only $35 a person (with tax and tip)! I’m ashamed that it took me so long to get to Rub but from now on when someone asks me my favorite barbecue in NYC (which happens a lot), I will not hesitate in pledging my allegiance to Rub. Is it too soon to go back?
208 West 23rd Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)