Barbecue Whiz Kid Daniel Delaney of Brooklyn’s BrisketTown

Barbecued IPads are not on the menu at Daniel Delaney’s BrisketTown.

I’ve made something of a career of hating on, or at least avoiding, dining in Brooklyn. Home town pride aside, there are many places worth eating at in the Borough of Kings. In no particular order some of them are: Do or Dine, Difaras, Joe’s of Avenue U, and BrisketTown. The last is Daniel Delaney’s Williamsburg barbecue emporium specializing in the smoky arts of Texas, notably some amazingly good brisket. Daniel and I go back a long way, I was a guest on his VendrTV and have helped out at his rooftop barbecues. He took a break from smoking some of the city’s best brisket to answer Seven Questions.

How did a good old boy from New Milford, N.J., get into barbecue?
I had been making videos about food for some number of years, which caused me to travel the country quite a bit. My crew and I made it a point to eat the local cuisine in whatever city we’d land in. When in the South, we ate barbecue. It was only when eating brisket at Louie Mueller’s in Taylor, Texas, that I really fell in love with it. That was the first great barbecue I had. All the rest had clearly been just OK. And it was that taste that set me off on trying to make my own.

What was the capacity of the first smoker you ever had?
The first smoker I bought could barely cook a pork shoulder. You could smoke it for an hour and then get so frustrated that you’d have to go finish it in the oven. It was a total piece of shit.

I think remember that smoker, what kind of rig are you working on now?
I’m using an 18-foot offset smoker, which is exclusively white-oak fired. It can produce around 500 pounds of cooked meat per day.

A quarter ton, wow, that’s a lot of brisket. What do you think of the state of the barbecue scene in New York City these days?
I think it’s getting stronger and stronger, however I would like to see more folks focusing on one region as opposed to fusion. I think that so much of a landscape informs the traditions of barbecue that you can’t really generalize. Pits, wood, proteins; they’re all different region to region.

What’s your favorite way to eat bone marrow?
Oozing it’s way down the side of a massive porterhouse, cooked medium rare, with a side of fries.

Where did you learn to use chopsticks?
Growing up I had the chopstick training wheels with the folded chopstick wrapper and a rubber band. But the breakthrough came during college in Philadelphia. I, as a freshman, was eating vegetarian Chinese with some seniors, and saw their effortless chopstick abilities. They held the chopstick close to the base, such that it was held more of a wand than a #2 pencil. I still had the Dixon Ticonderoga grip, but quickly adjusted. Now I use them all the time in the kitchen, probably one of my favorite cooking utensils.

What’s your favorite thing to eat in Brooklyn these days, beside your own brisket of course?
My favorite thing is probably pasta when it’s on the menu at Diner in Williamsburg. Or the cheeseburger, which I think is the best in the city.

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