Saturday, September 6, 2014

Fette Sau BBQ - Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Our very recent trip to the US was filled with great food (some of which you may have seen on Instagram and Facebook), beautiful places and people we love.

There were long beaches, big waves, lakes, farmland and the great urban marvel that is New York. We grilled aged steaks in our backyard, had sweet and buttery corn on the cob, NY bagels and pie. We picked berries that never made it to dessert and ate our favorite Thai food twice. We drank pink, ice cold wine and some really good beer. We had our share of delicious burgers and lots of sushi.

And we went to Fette Sau.

Fette Sau, as the name suggests if you know German (and if you do you are probably thinking that fat pig/sow is a sort of unappetizing name), is about the meat, but not only. It is about craft beer and great American whisky too. Although whisky is not the only thing that is distilled in here: walk in and you will experience all that is Williamsburg in a few square feet.

It is not just the beards, caps and horn-rimmed glasses, nor the multi-colored Bugaboos in every corner. Everything about this reconverted auto-body and repair shop is extremely casual, yet casually oh-so-cool. The owners offer the most American of fare, but they do it with painstaking perfection, cherry picking the best local products available.

The meat, organic and/or sourced in nearby, small family run farms from heritage breed animals and smoked in-house (their web site mentions cherry wood, red and white oak, beach, maple) with their own dry rub, is served by the pound on large butcher paper lined trays and eaten at communal picnic tables adorned by plastic squeeze bottles of BBQ sauce (they insist on serving sauce on the side so you can taste the true flavor of the meat) from paper plates, accompanied by potato salad, pickles, beans and buns. The BBQ sauce, however, is homemade, the potato salad is Dante's, the pickles are Guss', and the buns are Martin's. Even the wood is some of the best to be found locally, from The Woodman. 

The cuts range from hand pulled pork, to pork and Wagyu beef cheeks, lamb, belly, shoulder, pastrami, brisket, ribs and more. The menu changes often, according to supplies, and only six meats are available at a time. 

The same goes for their beer, which is artisanal and on tap, and  - surprise, surprise! - served in mason jars and growlers. For those not interested in alcoholic beverages, they pride themselves of serving locally produced sodas (root beer, ginger ale, vanilla). My kids had ginger ale and my five-year old couldn't finish it because the (real) ginger in it was too spicy. I finished it for him, and although I am usually not a soda fan, I loved it.


This is a place you want to come to in off hours, for a late lunch or an early dinner, unless you feel like standing for way too long in two different lines to order your meat first and then your drinks. They have a no reservation policy, but you can call to find out what meats are being served on any chosen day.

If you are from New York you probably already know about this joint, that was rated best BBQ place in the city by Zagat several years in a row, but if you are from out of town it is the where carnivores should go for a quintessential Brooklyn experience. After your meal it is nice to walk it off exploring Williamsburg.

The meat is good (oh, I still dream of that brisket), full of flavor, juicy and fall-off-the-bone tender and it satisfies my ex-pat cravings for a good BBQ, but I thought the sides were meh. 
All in all I find it pretty pricey for a place that offers no service (although we tipped a not so-friendly person working the bar), where you cannot make reservations, the lines are long and you eat on paper plates at tables with strangers. Let's just say I wouldn't go there regularly if I lived in NY, but it is worth it to try some tasty BBQ and the feel of a rapidly changing neighborhood.  


The meat pictured above cost $168,00 and we spent $55,00 + tip for 6 beers.

The aftermath

Fette Sau
354 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Monday-Thursday 5pm-11pm
Friday-Sunday 12pm-11pm

Oh my, that brisket...
Lamb chop up close


  1. As you know, Italians can be pretty snobby when it comes to American food. And I guess if you take it on its face, they have a point. But still, there is some incredibly good eating to be had this side of the Atlantic, if you know where to look. And clearly, you do!

    1. I couldn't agree more... about there being some great food in the States... not about knowing where to look ;o)

  2. Wow! That is some serious BBQ! I just wish you had wrangled the recipe from them! :)

    1. I didn't dare... they weren't exactly the friendliest bunch of people :o)

  3. Unfortunately, when I was in NY, I didn't get to Williamsburg so I've enjoyed your tour. I love the tiled wall image with all the 'weapons' xx

  4. I've never been to Fette Sau, we should try it out. We don't go often for BBQ.
    Ciao da un'italiana che vive a Brooklyn.

    1. Ciao Francesca, although I am very late in answering you, I enjoyed reading your comment. Let me know what you think if you try it out. It definitely is a different kind of grigliata than we eat here in Italy!

  5. delicious accompanying dishes and impeccable service are what we’re for. We believe in fresh, Food Truck Catering


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