Between the New York Times barbecue cover story last week and the giveaway pulled pork yesterday in Madison Square Park, it would seem as though New York is going all kinds of rubbed and sauce-slathered crazy (don’t forget to free up the second week of June for the mammoth Big Apple Barbecue). While the current media blitz over toasted bones and brash pit masters inevitably continues, Gothamist would like to divert just a little of your attention to some barbecue-appropriate side dishes and accoutrements, in particular, from the Carolinas and Georgia.
Poor Freddy’s Rib Shack on Linden Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, is not near any subway stops. It has no tables, and the men behind the counter wield very large cleavers. It’s not exactly Union Square Hospitality Group kind of stuff, but the food is worth it. Poor Freddie’s is a non-stop, always cooking/always busy whole-and-half rack rib place, with equally delicious ham steaks and beautifully bronzed rotisserie chickens. How to order: stand back and peruse Poor Freddie’s dinner combo choices, listed on the backlit, marquee boards above the cafeteria-style stations. Figure out exactly what you want and get on line -- order promptly and give your initials, which are written on the styrofoam clamshell box your food goes in. Keep moving on line, and name your sides when called on -- Poor Freddie’s has stewed collards, citrusy candied yams, lima beans steeped in broth, and about a dozen other choices. Some say to skip the cloying barbecue sauce for the ribs; others say to skip the hot sides and go straight for the cold potato salad. Robert Sietsema says to forget everything else and go for the hog maws. At $8.50 for a Chopped Barbecue dinner and two sides, you’ll at least have the option to try a few different meals. But above all, just remember: the line at Poor Freddy’s waits for no one.
The Carolina Country Store, located at 2001 Atlantic Avenue in Bed-Stuy, is a retail operation that specializes in cured southern meats. Inside the austere, planked storefront is a well-stocked display case filled with different cuts of slab bacon, country ham steaks, sausage, souse, liver pudding, and all kinds of other hard-to-find southern provisions. The Carolina Country Store even carries hoop cheese, a pressed and dried, milk-only cheese that is difficult to locate anywhere in the United States, let alone in New York. Barrels of peanut brittle frame the front door, and a whole wall of canned soul food items, packaged seafood breaders, and hush puppy mixes line the far wall. Squirrel Nuts and fresh cookies behind the register.
Operating out of a converted trailer across the street from the Carolina Country Store is the decidedly more downbeat J. Huston and Sons Georgia Produce Market. Primarily an operations base for a trucking company specializing in the wholesale watermelon business, J. Huston carries a smattering of cured meats, pickled okra, ethereal fig jam, and sorghum syrup. The tiny space is also decorated with hanging bags of roasted peanuts and shell pecans. A bag of those peanuts, with a few pieces of bacon and a bottle of Mrs. Griffin’s Original Barbecue Sauce -- straight out of Macon, GA. Since 1935 -- is enough to make some spicy bacon-peanut brittle, and totals for just over $10.
Poor Freddie’s Rib Shack
157-06 Linden Boulevard
Carolina Country Store
2001 Atlantic Avenue
pictured above: rib dinner with yams and macaroni; rotisserie chicken with collards and corn; both from Poor Freddie's