Hometown Barbecue (HTB) was started by Billy Durney in Brooklyn, NY in 2013. He is self-taught and started learning to cook on his back porch in Brooklyn using a Weber Smokey Mountain. He perfected his craft by cooking offsite for a local bar he frequented and charity cooking events.
[See History of BBQ below]
In September 2019, HTB opened in the eight-acre Miami Produce Center in Allapattah, an older industrial warehouse area in Miami on the verge of major gentrification.
As you enter HTB, it is quite a large space. What I really like about it is that the restaurant design preserved much of the warehouse/industrial feel of the complex even down to the original Brother Produce Inc. banners prominent in the establishment’s interior. A full bar with a good selection of local craft draft beers is also available in addition to a decently-curated wine selection.
Ordering food at HTB is based on a fast-casual model, where patrons order at the front counter and are given a number to place on their table for service. Water in beverage coolers and cups are available to diners self-service. This seems to be a standard in a number of BBQ restaurants I have been to.
The Menu at HTB is basic though intriguing.
Knowing the reputation of HTB and looking at their menu, my dining companion and I were like hypoglycemic kids in a candy store. We settled on a few items, probably enough food for four diners.
First was their jalapeno cheddar sausages. It’s all pork and goes through two grinds for better consistency. The meat is then smoked for about 2 hours, and the sausages are finished on a charcoal grill. It was very good, and if you look closely, you can see the cheese running out of the sausage slices.
The brisket was even better, with just the right amount of meat and fat that literally melts in your mouth. The smokiness of the bark complements this almost perfect barbecued brisket. All the while you think to your self as you take a few bites, what just happened? Highly recommended.
The pulled pork was just as good. Each bite of this juicy, proteinaceous smoked pile of deliciousness seemingly better than the last.
The black-eyed pea salad was also notable; cooked black-eyed peas mixed with pico de gallo. Complementary sweet pickle chips and onion slices were provided for garnish.
We also ordered Oaxacan chicken taco. This was a very large taco, almost a burrito and big enough to be shared. The smoked chicken taco comes with pineapple salsa and in house made crumbled pork rinds, a sriracha based bbq sauce and an in-house-made tortilla. This was also very good.
We finished with slab jerk bacon. At HTB, pork belly is marinated in a jerk brine for two days. It’s then rubbed with jerk
seasoning and smoked for about 12 hours. The jerk marinade here is made from habaneros, lime juice/zest, rum, brown sugar, allspice and ginger. It’s then finished with a pineapple/habanero sauce. We were not going to order this, but seeing it on another dining table couldn’t resist. It was really, really good but being the last thing ordered, we almost didn’t have room for it. Another most highly recommended dish.
The dinner menu is essentially the same with about 4 or 5 entrees added.
The food at HTB was superb. This is real Texas-style barbecue only made possible because of this. Texas post oak.
Somehow, for reasons not completely understood (at least by me), Texas post oak seems to produce a sweeter, less smoky meat than other wood types like mesquite. At a minimum, this allows for more of the meat flavor to be there. Whatever other factors play into this really doesn’t matter to most diners, it’s the finished product. At HTM it’s world-class.
Good barbecue doesn’t come inexpensively. Besides the special wood used here, HTB only uses prime meats. This makes a big difference in the flavor and quality of the finished product. All of the food eaten that day cost my dining companion and I about $60.00.
HTB is excellent. If you can, eat here. Although not yet too much of a problem in Miami as they have only been open a few months, I can see why they routinely have two hour waits for a table at their Brooklyn venture on weekends.
So impressed by this food, I’ll go out on a limb and say this is the best Texas-style barbecue in South Florida.
It’s a wrap for another post on Forks.
1200 NW 22nd St.
Miami, FL 33412
Hometown Barbecue Website
Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 1130AM-10PM, Friday-Saturday, 1130AM-11PM, Closed daily from 4-5PM for service change; All major credit cards accepted; Self-parking only.
Some BBQ History
I have written about BBQ before and used these introductory paragraphs that follow. As an introduction to barbecued food, I don’t think it will get any better than this, especially having the permission of the author to paraphrase his original text.
Nobody knows how grilled meats entered the food chain. Like coffee, anthropologists can only guess. The following is adapted from a posting of the history of barbecue from AmazingRibs.com, a site dedicated to all things grilled (by permission of the author).
Ancient man probably happened upon a cooked carcass after a forest fire and liked what they tasted. In good time, it was understood that meats tasted better held over or to the side of their cooking source. Eventually, it was common practice for ancient societies to “spit roast”, or use meats suspended by wood racks above a heat source. This progressed to the Iron Age, where “gridirons” or the progenitors of grill “grates” were used in ancient Greece. It was eventually realized that smoked meats were an excellent method of preservation, like salting or drying. There have been other influences from Asia (Tandoor ovens) and Japan (Kamado urns), both ceramic cooking ovens heated by an open flame.
In the middle ages spit roasting was widely used in Europe, but the explorations of the “New World” by Spain really brought barbecue to the United States. The introduction of pigs into the “New World” in addition to Native Indian migration brought barbecue, originally called barbacoa through a misunderstanding of Native Indian language by the Spaniards, into North America.
Further colonization by the Spanish and Indians brought barbecue into the Gulf States and the lower Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Migration up the Mississippi River brought this technology northward. Smokehouses and pit barbecues started to proliferate in the middle to late 19th century
The home barbecue really took off with the mass marketing of charcoal by the Kingsford Company in the early part of the 20th century. In the middle of the 20th century, portable barbecues like Hibachis and Weber kettle grills started to be mass-marketed bringing portable charcoal barbecues to the home cook. Gas barbecues followed, and the rest is history!