Summer calls for barbecued food. But if you don’t feel like firing up the grill, these Hamptons haunts will be sure to satisfy all your BBQ cravings.
Though the region doesn’t have the same smoking reputation as Memphis, Kansas City or St. Louis— bucket list-worthy destinations for barbecue— it’s a hidden gem for the fare. Some restaurants in the Hamptons specialize in BBQ, with menus full of ribs smoked just right and burgers slathered in a decadent, sweet and smokey sauce. Others have one or two cult-favorite menu items, perfect for the nights when you just can’t DIY.
Stick a fork into a barbecued dish at one of these six Hamptons spots.
Arguably the Hamptons’ BBQ HQ, Townline has proven it has the chops to serve Texas-style barbecue since opening in 2006. The team at the laid-back joint is serious about finding the right meats — and so much goes into the process before the dish makes its way to your table. Townline scouts out marbled meats that assist with self-basting, meaning they’ll be juicier and offer a super tender mouthful come dinnertime. And Townline taste-test, ensuring only meats that can withstand long smokes make it to your plate — the restaurant’s pork butts and briskets are smoked for 12 hours, after all (no knife needed).
Tucked down a sloping driveway that looks more like someone’s house (in fact, in part it is), the Commander’s is best known as a no-frills, all-freshness seafood joint, with outdoor seating and a constant stream of soul-calming blues music at all times. But Commander Cody’s also offers outstanding barbecue ribs, hailed for their tenderness and ability to satisfy customers who lean carnivore. The sides pair perfectly — baked beans, cornbread, crunchy slaw and fries at this staple owned by long-time islander Jimmy Hayward, where the cooking is done by both him and his CIA-trained daughter, Amanda.
Rowdy is known for its French-style pub fare. But the BBQ crispy pork belly is an unheralded star on the menu. The pickled ramp adds a tangy-yet-garlicky twist. There’s also the Rowdy Burger, an elevated version of the classic backyard fare made with certified Black Angus beef. The team buys meat daily, ensuring it’s always fresh. But the biggest secret is actually rather straightforward: The grill cooks, who are *chef’s kiss* perfect at hitting all the right temperatures and making toppings just right. Rowdy fans take note: They’re moving to the former Main Street Tavern space in Amagansett in the fall.
An unpretentious menu matches the approachable demeanor of the staff at this East End BBQ restaurant that specializes in slow-cooked smoked meat. A sampler is perfect for groups (or individuals) who are interested in a tasting of the ribs, BBQ chicken and roasted chicken all on one platter. It comes with sides of Mexican corn and their oh-so-sweet cornbread. Come ready to try it as it is (read: delicious) — no substitutions allowed when sampling the sampler. À la carte sides hit all the right notes for a BBQ hub: coleslaw, collard greens, garlic mashed potatoes and, obviously, mac n’ cheese.
This bustling bistro offers upscale ambiance with dark wooden fixtures and plush, comfortable seating. Elegant French doors separate the lively eat-at bar and dining room from the open kitchen. BBQ classics include fall-off-the-bone ribs, slow-roasted and served with French fries and coleslaw. Heavenly biscuits can be slathered in Hamptons honey or savory butter, and the loaded EHG burger becomes extra special courtesy of the house-made bun.
Situated at the gateway to the East End and on Riverhead’s bustling Main Street, Maple Tree BBQ Smokehouse gives up-islanders a chance to taste Twin Forks BBQ without traveling too far. Exposed wood beams and dark wood furnishings give it an elevated appeal, though the fuss-free menu keeps it as down home as they come. Think smoked St. Louis-style ribs made with an in-house dry rub, smoked chicken served wing-style or carved and served on a platter. A beef brisket with burnt ends, served with sweet and spicy sauce, is like an amusement park ride for your tastebuds. Buckle up.