Few New York City transplants fare poorly in Miami—we love anything that got its start north first. Though some do take faster than others. Homestead BBQ is one of those that took off almost immediately. It’s a concept that Billy Durney began in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and Alex Smith is overseeing in Allapattah, a nascent neighborhood not too different in its surplus of storage depots, warehouses and auto repair garages.
Opening in an industrial area where you’re the only restaurant means the luxury of space space—Hometown is sprawling with its open-air dining room that spills out into loading docks plus a full bar that spans the length of the venue and serves up wine, craft beers and delicious cocktails (unheard of in a BBQ joint). Nearly every seat has a clear view of the busy open kitchen and the three massive smokers that sit just outside. It’s from there, in Miami’s pervasive summer heat, that all the Texas-style pit-smoking happens. There are the rich and fatty beef ribs, which are sold by the pound ($30) and arrive with a deep red hue from the smoker. And the marbled brisket (sold by the half-pound), buttery soft and bursting with flavor even if the only things it’s seasoned with are salt and pepper. In fact, that’s the only seasoning Hometown uses on their USDA prime cuts. For more complicated preparations, try the chicken, which is exceptional despite this being a restaurant known for its meats. The smoked wings with mole dust and charred poblano crema as well as the wood-fired Oaxacan chicken with salsa verde are both Mexican inspired and pack a heavy dose of spice.
Locally, they’ve also expanded the wood-fired offerings with a wider vegetarian selection, including the fire-roasted mushrooms broccoli on the plancha with charred poblano crema. Both taste equally meaty even if they’re not. If you’re one of those people who go to barbecue restaurants for the sides (there’s no shame in that) Hometown is the place to do it. They’re all great, even the baked beans we usually avoid are smoked and flavorful. Although, it’s impossible (at least we’d like to think it is) to leave here without a serving of the cornbread with a honey-butter drizzle and an order of the creamy queso mac and cheese.