ImageI’m not an authority on much. Friends episodes, definitely. Sushi, absolutely. Southern food…maybe? I mean what is an ‘authority,’ really? I can tell you if it tastes good and if the ambiance is up to snuff. So sure, let’s say I’m an authority on Southern. So now, allow me to present to you my top five picks for some great BBQ/Southern cooking in NYC. (Note: This is NOT where you will find your Brother Jimmy’s, Southern Hospitality, Sylvia’s recommendations. If you want those, you best click off now.)

1. Sugarfreak Astoria
NOLA-philes will flip over this hidden gem in Astoria. This is your one-stop-shop for all things Louisiana. Shrimp and grits, jambalaya, gumbo, pulled pork and even the enigmatic Yaka Mein can all be found at the kistch-meets-class join on 30th Avenue. PLUS: They are open for brunch and each main course gets a complimentary mimosa or bloody ary. Heck yes.

2. Pies ‘n’ Thighs
This shames me to say, but Williamsburg is home to some delectable dining establishments. I’ve tried long and hard to fight it, but I really don’t think I can anymore. If you want good eats, you really can’t go wrong with Williamsburg. Pies ‘n’ Thighs is a heavenly establishment serving up glorious hunks of fried chicken, pulled pork and a gluttonous amount of sides. The chicken is cooked perfectly with a spicy crunch surrounding a juicy, plump piece of bird. Oh..and the biscuits are pretty f’n heavenly, as well. Oh and the pie. Do NOT forget the pie! I enjoy the Banana Cream, but there is also a Bourbon Pecan, Key Lime, Chocolate Pudding and much more.

3. Dinosaur BBQ
Yeah…this is on the list. I’m sorry, I know this place is a chain, but I mean it when I say that these are the best chicken wings I have ever had in my life. Any Upstate New Yorker knows and loves the Dinosaur, as its two most notable establishments reside in Rochester and Syracuse. But there is, in fact, a Dinosaur BBQ open in New York’s Harlem neighborhood (and I’ve even heard rumblings that the owners are looking to open establishments in Brooklyn and Queens). The wait is ridiculously long, but you CAN make reservations, and the bar does serve up the entire menu. So it’s worth the trek.

4. Mama’s Food Shop
I first heard about this place on the Food Network, and believe me, it is worth a visit. In New York’s East Village (and..yes, also in Williamsburg), Mama is cooking up roasted pork shoulder, roast chicken and..yeah, a bacon-wrapped meatloaf.

5. Fette Sau BBQ
I hate myself. This final establishment also sits in Williamsburg and is lauded as the best BBQ in New York. Now, I’m really in no position to say what is the best, but it is pretty damn good. The greatest part? All meats are smoked in-house. That is local for you.