Fette Sau – Meat, Meat… More Meat?

The experience of dining Southern barbecue style is like no other. Granted, this is only the second time I’ve done it (the first was at Hill Country), but the novelty hasn’t worn off.

Fette Sau is located in Williamsburg in reasonably small digs by comparison to Hill Country, with its multiple levels and huge dining hall. However, this coziness only adds to the charm – though that charm, i’m sure, may quickly turn to frustration if you were to catch Fette Sau on a busy night.

When we arrived it was a Sunday evening and we didn’t have to wait to long for some bench space. There wasn’t a hostess at the door to keep the peace – it was every man for himself, so be prepared to hustle.  Once we secured our slot we set out to divide and conquer. One man to the bar to order a round of drinks, another to the food line and 2 more to reserve our seats.

Fette Sau is known for it’s meat, and not any meat, meat dry rubbed and slow-cooked in a gas-and-wood-fired smoker capable of holding 500 pounds of meat at a time. When the meat is served, the chef recommends enjoying completely as is, that is, unsauced.

When you’ve made up your mind between beef and pork, or both, the ordering style is simple. Decide what you want and tell the man how much in as few words as possible. Get this wrong and you may have hell to pay, as our companion found out. The Bogan went first and ordered 1.5 pounds of meat, a selection of beef ribs, pork ribs, pastrami and pulled pork, as well a side of pickles. Our companion followed and recited a similar order (the slight difference being broccoli instead of pickles) only to be scolded and told “why didn’t you say you wanted the same?” …wrong side of bed, perhaps?

I had a fairly good feeling that 1.5 pounds of meat might be [far] too much for two, but try vocalizing that to The Bogan – it falls on deaf ears. However, having experienced the amount of meat we had in front of us, maybe now The Bogan is willing to accept his eyes truly are bigger than his stomach. The ideal amount would be 1 pound between two people and 1 side dish, everything is accompanied with bread rolls and sauce on the table.

The beef ribs on the bone (below – $16/lb) were the standout of our tray of meat. The pastrami ($4.5 – 1/4lb), whilst looked juicy and flavorful, was definitely disappointing. It was particularly dry and didn’t live up to the standard set by establishments such as Katz’s Deli. The hand pulled Berkshire shoulder, otherwise known as pulled pork ($16/lb), and the pork ribs ($16/lb) were improved with lashings of sauce, but still didn’t compare to the show stopping beef rib.

There are a number of other pork or beef cuts to choose from, including wagyu beef cheeks or Berkshire pork sausage (which looked pretty plump and juicy). We ordered pickles as a side, but the chili, which our neighbors on the right shared, looked pretty good!

The beef rib on the bone with barbecue sauce drizzled over.

The house cured pastrami with its 3-day brine was a little dry…

The aftermath…

Our 1.5 lb meat tray came to a total of $60 and was more than enough for 2. Drinks – a round of 4, 3 beers and 1 house red, was $25 including service.

When you’re trying to find the Fette Sau entrance, look for the neon sign above an old driveway. Follow the driveway down to the restored (and refurbished) auto-repair shop.

Fette Sau

354 Metropolitan Ave

Between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211

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