Forgive my language, but there’s some serious shit happening these days in Gowanus and it only seems to be gaining momentum. First there was the bike shop. Then the killer pie store. Then the revisionist clam shack. Then came Brooklyn haute cuisine, and the amazing pastries. Now there’s a member’s only social club for the arts, and a 17,000 square foot shuffleboard parlor. A fancy-schmancy grocery store with a 20,000 square foot greenhouse, too. The latest opening is super-cue chain Dinosaur Bar-B-Cue, and despite there already being some great smoke options in the area, our family went last week to check it out for dinner.One unexpectedly positive side effect is that the formerly bleak stretch of Union Street between Third and Fourth Avenues is now consistently redolent of hickory and spice. The restaurant itself is cavernous, huge, and bustling– perfect if you have a big group to contend with, or just a noisy kid. And the food? Well, come on. It’s great. These guys haven’t been packing crowds in every night for years at the Harlem location by accident. Let it be said, I still think the burnt-ends from Fletchers rule and the brisket from Fort Reno a close second– but the Dinosaur ribs are pretty much the best around. Thick, meaty babybacks that fall off the bone, moist, sweet n’ spicy. Might be worth the trip for the ribs alone.But I don’t want to give short shrift to a must-order specialty they call Dino Poutine. Like college-era disco fries squared, I want you to imagine hot hand-cut french fries covered in brown gravy, pimiento cheese and a mountain of tender pulled pork, garnished with a heap of scallions. There it is, and it is good. If it’s a heart attack in the making, is there a better way to go?
We are what I would call a condiment household. Ketchup. Dijon. Soy Sauce. Sriracha. Spicy Brown. Mayo. For these essential spreads, generic brands will suffice. But not for barbecue sauce, friends! The barbecue sauce in our fridge goes by a proper name: Old Mule. If that seems like a strange thing to be so particular about, I’d just like to stress you need to try this stuff. Thick, tangy, sweet and spicy. It’s got zip and some heat, but not the overwhelming sort. It’s spoon-licking good sauce.We especially love it because it takes a half-assed dinner like broiled chicken or burgers and makes it seem like you really made something happen. You should taste what a layer of the donkey sauce does on the top of some pedestrian baked meatloaf. You can dip fries in this stuff, put it in baked beans, slather on a pork sandwich. I have considered brushing my teeth with it. The only catch is, no one sells it in the stores up here because it’s made by a tiny family business. You need to order it online direct from the Blueridge mountains of North Carolina. I appreciate that you’re rolling your eyes, saying, “dude, I’m not mail-ordering barbecue sauce from North Carolina. Stop it.” Now imagine I am shaking you by the shoulders. Do we ever mess around about food on this site?! Take a leap of faith. And now in closing, we’d like to present you with this handsome picture of an old mule. Order the sauce!