After a delay late last week, Daniel Delaney opened up shop on the High Line at about 5:30 p.m. Friday and promptly sold out of brisket. OK, not quite, but anyone who hadn't already queued up at that point at SmokeLine could be forgiven for thinking it might be a lost cause to get on the line. There were already 38 people waiting Franklin Barbecue style (they and the next 162 people to arrive also received red SmokeLine beer koozies). And why not? You can argue that Delaney has just set up shop to serve the best brisket in New York City in one of its most beautiful spots.
The SmokeLine menu features what it calls two Central Texas-style barbecue sandwiches. There's The Deckle (smoked brisket, house-made pickles, and onions on a butter-grilled roll, $8) and The Mess (fried cheese with chopped brisket, pulled rib meat, onion relish, and chili sauce on a butter-grilled roll, $10). You can order plates of brisket (1/3 pound mix of lean and fatty brisket, $12), pork ribs (1/3 pound of a rack of heritage ribs, $12), and beef rib (a giant beef shortrib, $28), which all come with potato salad, pickles, onions, and bread.
But the fun doesn't stop there. For $60 you can order "The Trough": 1 pound of brisket, eight pork ribs, and one giant beef rib served with a side of potato salad, house-made pickles, onions, and bread.
SmokeLine has been reported as a seasonal spot open through October, though when asked Friday how often he'll be there, Delaney said, "Every day for at least the next two years." He could very well have just been in the crush of opening. Either way, you can expect to see him manning the station at least occasionally. "I'll be wherever I need to be," he noted.
Anyone who considers themselves a brisket aficionado who hasn't yet made the trip out to Delaney's BrisketTown on Bedford Avenue in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge, don't walk, run over to the High Line (those who have been erroneously proclaiming Mighty Quinn's in the East Village "the standard by which all other barbecue [in New York] is judged" might learn a thing or two). This brisket is sick good. The meat is ridiculously juicy. You could easily wolf down a plate and wish you'd doubled your order.
SmokeLine is open Monday through Sunday (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.), but you'll likely want to get there early, there's liable to be a wait that's going to give new meaning to this park's name.