Saturday, June 7, 2008

Happenings: Big Apple BBQ Festival

Today City Guy and I met up with some friends at the event NY carnivores look forward to all year--the Big Apple BBQ Festival in Madison Square Park. It attracts pitmasters from around the country, including some hard core pork and beef from places like:
....out of Texas, for which people were already waiting in wrap-around theme park style lines a half hour before the festival opened. Getting a taste from some of the most popular pitmasters, like this one, meant sometimes waiting for an hour in 100+ weather. Boy was it HOT! and HUMID! today.
But for $8, you could get brisket and sausage with coleslaw from Texas:
Or pulled pork shoulder from Alabama: Beef ribs from Los Angeles or more pulled pork from Mississipi or the Carolinas:Crawfish and okra hush puppies from Mississippi: And so much more! There were 16 pitmasters in all. Don't worry, City Guy and I didn't eat all this ourselves. We had lots of help. Our friends took turns standing in lines, while others of us chowed down on a picnic mat under the trees in the park. Unfortunately, the park was not only HOT! and HUMID! but teeming with people. It was a mob scene. Last year, they had 120,000 people, and I'm sure this year rivaled that number. Can you imagine? Every square foot of the park was populated with BBQ lovers These photos do not do the crowd justice:Anyhow, we loved the food - my top three choices of the day were:
1> the sausage from Salt Lick BBQ, Texas
2> the beef rib from Mr. Cecil's California Ribs, California
3> (a tie) the smoked crawfish and okra hush puppies from City Grocery, Mississippi and the pulled pork and awesome vinegary cole slaw from Big Bob Gibson BBQ in Alabama

Having a picnic with friends was also great. And how cool that in NYC, all these awesome pitmasters come to me! In how many other cities do you get to eat world class cheese one night and then world class BBQ the next day? Still, the crowds are a bit much--I always feel like an ant when I'm around thousands of New Yorkers, all my individuality squashed. And did I mention how HOT! and HUMID! it was today? In any other city, people would have run for cover on a day like today...New Yorkers are hard core, as they say.

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