Long Island’s Best Steakhouses

Everyone has an opinion on what makes a good barbecue – the balance between smoke, heat, sauce and spices. Whether you’re looking for St. Louis-style ribs or brisket sandwiches stacked on Texan toast, Long Island’s best barbecue spots are ready to serve. Here are the top picks from Newsday’s restaurant reviews:

Semper fame (374 Tulip Ave., Floral Park): Despite its Italian name (which aptly means “always hungry”), John and Chris Cavallo’s friendly little restaurant is dedicated to the American art of barbecue, which marks points at all levels. The brothers take an old-fashioned approach to their smoked meats, but their expansive sandwich menu is more suited to the tastes of millennial Instagrammers. The sandwiches, stacked between two slices of double-thick “Texan toast,” range from from simple breast or grilled chicken to combos designed for maximum taste, such as Clogs, a gooey pile of breast, bacon, fried chicken cutlets, barbecue sauce and melted mozzarella. More info: 516-488-7900, semprefame.com

Smokehouse (7 Twelfth St., Garden City): Manny Voumvourakis’ BBQ restaurant in Garden City regularly offers one of the best briskets on the island, as well as excellent ribs and ribs, and pulled pork juicy. But Smok-haus’ best-kept secret might just be its weekend-only pastrami — brined on-site, delicately flavored, and better than you’ll find at many specialty delis. (Get there before they sell out.) Other favorites include smoked chicken thighs, velvety brisket or carnitas tacos, a cheesesteak brisket sandwich, and a pork belly sandwich on an apple roll. as decadent as it sounds, served with coleslaw and pickle chips. Grilled meats are also served a la carte, as are porchetta and smoked prawns. The ever-popular sweet, medium and hot wings are smoked before being fried and are a key part of the lively after-work bar scene here. In warm weather, an outdoor terrace awaits you. More info: 516-400-7100, smok-haus.com

swingbellys (909 W. Beech St., Long Beach): After weathering the wrath of Super Hurricane Sandy, personnel changes and the rebirth of Long Beach’s West End, Swingbellys are rocking harder than ever. Dan Monteforte’s dynamic restaurant starts with the basics – pulled pork, brisket, chicken, ribs – and turns them into dozens of inventive dishes such as “mac & Pete” (scorched ends mixed with macaroni and cheese), the smokehouse cheesesteak sandwich or the smoked tacos. Stop in on a Tuesday night for the terrific fried chicken. More info: 516-431-3464, swingbellyslongbeach.com

TownLine Grill (3593 Montauk Hwy., Sagaponack): Think the Hamptons can’t produce good barbecue? So you’ve never been to this humble outpost straddling the tony enclaves of Sagaponack and Wainscott. Well-sourced meats, careful smoking and rich homemade sauces are the secrets to the success of TownLine’s pulled pork and brisket (available in platters and sandwiches), not to mention the popular St. Louis-style ribs. Robust cocktail and beer selections are best enjoyed when dining indoors, while takeout fans will love the 4- or 8-meal combo kits featuring meat, sides and all the trimmings. Can’t decide whether to stay or go? Consider spending an evening on the outdoor patio, a riot of reclaimed barn wood tables and local bands on some nights. The experience is not to be missed, nor are the bison fries – baptized in honey with hot sauce and blue cheese – or the cornbread. The latter is hot, sweet, sprinkled with grains and without a doubt one of the best on the Island. More info: 631-537-2271, townlinebbq.com

Laura’s BBQ (76 Shore Rd. in Glen Cove): Lloyd Adams’ absolute mastery of Texas-style grilled beef brisket is the happy outcome of his many years watching a smoker. It begins with his wife Laura’s top-secret rubdown, followed by 14 slow hours orbiting a thick combustion chamber of hickory, cherry, and mesquite smoke. At the end of the journey, a simple, tender perfection that makes the sauce almost sacrilegious. Equally good is a pound of his lean but succulent pork ribs, or a juicy half-pound of chicken that can single-handedly erase memories of the cremated birds’ past. The couple ran business in a faux log trailer for several years before opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant that has indoor space, as well as a large heated open patio adjacent to Glen Cove Creek. More info: 516-715-1500, laurasbbq.com

Mighty Quinn (829 Franklin Ave, Garden City): Cracked wood and heavy black smokers are in plain view of patrons at Mighty Quinn’s, one of New York’s best barbecue spots that has opened a franchise further east. Smoked meats include brisket, burnt ends (from the brisket), pulled pork, ribs, signature “brontosaurus rib” (short rib on the bone), wings, half chickens, and sausage brisket, which tastes somewhere between kielbasa and a super burger. Meats are available in individual servings, by the pound, and family meals and even, assembled as customers walk through in a Chipotle-style point-and-choose line. The sides are a combination of traditional (mac and cheese made with cavatappi and four cheeses, sweet potato casserole with maple and pecans, corn fritters) and contemporary (kale salad, Brussels sprouts with vinaigrette beans, broccoli salad with bacon and almonds). There’s also cornbread, fries (plain, sweet or “dirty” potatoes, topped with burnt ends, chili-lime sauce and onions). For dessert, there are cookies and pies “imported” from Centerport’s exuberant Hometown Bake Shop. More info: 516-544-2844, mightyquinnsbbq.com

Stuey’s Smokehouse Grill (50 Birch Hill Rd., Locust Valley): This primarily take-out spot is a barbecue lover’s labor for owners Carrie and Terry Morabito, successful Manhattan restaurateurs who are also local residents. The menu is short and sweet, and when the meat runs out customers are out of luck, so come early or call first. Feast on ribs, brisket, pulled pork and smoked sausages and, this being Long Island, smoked salmon. Outstanding sides include not-too-sweet cornbread and an invigorating coleslaw. Stuey’s also has a lovely garden for fine weather delicacies. More info: 516-277-2202, stueysbbq.com

old fields (15 New St., Huntington; 130 Old Town Rd., Setauket): It’s a bit Texas and a bit Brooklyn at Old Fields Barbecue, which has two dedicated barbecue locations. Meats include beef brisket, St. Louis pork chops, smoked chicken, pulled pork, and house sausages. Diners can choose from five sauces as well as a la carte sides including mac and cheese, collard greens, watermelon salad and mashed sweet potatoes, plus Hawaiian rolls and cornbread to mop up the juice. Old Fields’ cocktail menu also sticks to the classics, like a Moscow Mules, a banana-infused Old Fashioned and a tea-based Dragoon Punch laced with rum and brandy and is based on a recipe from the 1960s. 1850. More info: ofbarbecue.com

Smokin’ Wolf BBQ and more (199 Pantigo Rd., East Hampton): This laid-back, terracotta-hued spot is the deceptively laid-back setting for chef-pitmaster Arthur Wolf’s outrageously awesome barbecue. Its duck alone can evoke euphoria: Cold-smoked and rubbed with five-spice powder, the Crescent Farm bird is roasted in the rotisserie for hours until its skin is blackened and crispy, its fork-tender meat (coast it with homemade blackcurrant sauce for full effect). Smoked beef brisket, slow-cooked baby back ribs, and barbecue chicken wings are all in the same major league, as are sides such as mac and cheese or huge chunks of cornbread. The dining room is casual yet cozy, with iced tea and beers such as Montauk Wave Chase IPA on hand. Wolf’s menu has been compressed during COVID-19, but specialty sandwiches and Frisbee-sized quesadillas, like the one filled with pulled pork and mango, still draw a steady lunch and dinner crowd. More info: 631-604-6470, smokinwolfbbq.com

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