Welcome to the Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! Once a week we check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. If you know of a dish you’d like to see featured here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Spot: Butcher Bar, 37-08 30th Avenue, Astoria.
The Deal: Astoria’s first local, organic, and natural butcher shop opened in 2011 but serves more than just raw meat; it also serves Kansas City-style BBQ.
“Our humble little shop, Butcher Bar is a butcher shop first, and a BBQ restaurant second,” says Matthew Katakis, the restaurant’s founder and Queens native. As a Queens native, Katakis was familiar with the Astoria restaurant scene and pounced on an open space across on 30th Avenue to expand the area’s offerings.
“We wanted to give options to our community and only offer hormone-free, antibiotic-free and pasture-raised-and-grazed animals that were given a humane lifestyle and a respectful death and conversion to our dinner tables,” says Katakis.
The Dish: Burnt Ends have been on the menu of this Astoria BBQ restaurant since its opening. If you want them, arrive early: They are always the first dish to sell out each day. “These ‘meat candy’ are made from the fatty deckle, off the top of the brisket which needs extra smoking time to melt the fat and make it edible,” says Katakis. “Other places end up just cutting it off and throwing it away, but this in fact is a real delicacy.”
The Butcher Bar smokers are running consistently filled with a rotating menu of meats – ribs, pork belly, and sausage among other cuts – but the burnt ends are always on the menu and given special attention. “We smoke them for over 16 hours and add a second rub to them after about 12.5 hours in our smoker,” explains Katakis.
The restaurant’s motto is “Eat less meat, but eat good meat,” but if you want that meat to be Butcher Bar’s burnt ends, you better get to the restaurant before they sell out.