One smell of Fletcher’s (433 Third Avenue, Brooklyn; 347-763-2680) incomparable burnt ends — smoked for an entire day over fresh red oak and sugar maple — is enough to make a person’s mouth water. One bite is enough to convince any BBQ enthusiast of the supremacy of this particular preparation of beef.
The cut comes from the edge of the brisket, positioned perilously close to the fire. The wise folks of Kansas City helped spread the burnt-end gospel in the mid-Seventies, exalting what was once considered throwaway meat. Fletcher’s pitmaster Matt Fisher cut his teeth in this very same region. His burnt ends are caked in a thick layer of deckle, a gelatinous rim sealing criminal amounts of fatty flavor into each smoke-ringed cube of meat. It contrasts beautifully against a caramelized, crunchy-rubbed crust. And at just $7 per quarter-pound, it’s far and away the best bargain per calorie in the entire city.
Although Fletcher’s also excels at a variety of house-made sauces, Fisher recommends trying his burnt ends as is. “It’s such a pure thing that I don’t want to sauce it or fuck with it any more,” he warns. “It’s just like beef candy.” More like beef butter. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Fork in the Road is counting down to our Best of New York City issue in October. We’re combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10.
Here’s our countdown up to now:
More:100 Favorite Dishes