Ask for extra napkins: These bars serve finger-lickin‘ ’cue with a side of craft beer.
QUEENS, N.Y. | The Strand Smokehouse
THE DETAILS: At this sprawling vintage-industrial beer hall/garden/music hot spot, the suds come in pitchers and bourbon pours straight from the barrel. The ’cue ranges from classic (ribs, pulled pork) to creative (duck pastrami, smoked salmon). IN YOUR MUG: Sip Hank “The Strand” Lagrrr!, the juniper-infused house lager brewed by neighbors SingleCut Beersmiths. THE SLOPPY STUFF: Food’s served buffet-style: Choose among a rotating lineup of pulled pork, collards, ribeye, glazed carrots, lamb leg and more, plus a dozen permutations of potatoes.
PHILADELPHIA | Percy Street Barbecue
THE DETAILS: Tin trays piled with wood-smoked, Texas-style ’cue share tables with 110 cans from breweries like Sixpoint, Finch’s and Evil Twin—the nation’s largest menu of aluminum-clad craft. No wonder CraftCans.com named Percy Street the No. 1 spot in America for canned beer. IN YOUR MUG: The Brewer’s Art’s rich, peppery Ozzy (a Belgian strong in a can!) muscles through the house Hot Mess sauce. THE SLOPPY STUFF: Start with the smoked turkey tails (half price at happy hour!), then dig into the brisket—sliced and served with onion jam, chopped on a sandwich, or tossed with cilantro-lime vinaigrette in the Brisket Cobb salad.
DETROIT | Slows Bar B Q
THE DETAILS: Fifty-plus taps and a cask spew brews that thoughtfully complement this Detroit institution’s smoked meat (think Southern Tier’s creamy-roasty milk stout and a smoked pepper amber by Original Gravity). The place got a facelift earlier this year, but the locally famous mac and cheese remains the same. IN YOUR MUG: A Derelicte Pineapple IPA from Michigan’s Oddside gives the meat some sweet. THE SLOPPY STUFF: The You Choose plate combines your choice of pulled pork, chicken or brisket with a half-slab of ribs and sides—enough meat for sampling all four homemade sauces.
LONG BEACH, CALIF. | Beachwood BBQ Brewing
THE DETAILS: The original Seal Beach location’s still a meat mecca with a killer global tap list, but the Long Beach brewhouse is the only place to taste Beachwood’s dry-rubbed, smoked-for-13-hours pulled pork with its own ales fresh from the source. IN YOUR MUG: The stouts and IPAs shine; don’t miss the 99-IBU Thrillseeker IPA and the molasses/coffee/cardamom System of a Stout, both newly bottled. THE SLOPPY STUFF: Make a meal of that pulled pork: Order it on a pretzel bun crowned with coleslaw and red wine vinegar barbecue sauce. Save room for sides like bleu cheese grits and vanilla-pecan yams.