I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Big Apple BBQ Block Party

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Complaining about eating barbeque at 11am or “early” is simply un-American

So Y'all from Texas?

Face it; living in the Northeast, we do not have a barbeque culture that is even comparable to states in the South. Sure in New York, we have come a long way in having respectable barbeque places but once you have tried the barbeque from some of the pit masters at the Big Apple Barbeque Block Party, you will realize what you have been missing all these years. 

Every year for the past 10 years, New York has been blessed with hosting the Big Apple Barbeque transforming Madison Square Park into a Carnivore’s wet dream. Pit Masters from around the country hike up here and make tasty barbeque. The main question is not what you are going to eat, the question is who’s barbeque are you going to eat first? For me, it was the Salt Lick all the way from Texas featuring Sausage and brisket. The Big Apple BBQ is a place where teamwork works to your advantage, one waits while another one goes and gets barbeque from another line. So while my friend waited for the Salt Lick, I hit up Rodney Scott’s whole hog from South Carolina. Tangent: I am slightly interested in seeing how much white bread they go through during the event; if anyone wants to fund this research let me know. NEED PICS OF 'CUE NOW!

Rodney Scott- each hold a tasty pig

Rodney Scott whole hog with cracklings

 Anyways, the hog is shredded and served with bits of crackling. The pork was vinegary and slightly peppery, great way to start off the event. Also, always thought South Carolina 'cue was mustard based sauce but they do a pepper vinegar based sauced in the low part of South Carolina. It is good, and I ain't arguing. Finally getting out Salt Lick plate, we almost debating getting back in line for it, the sausage was flavorful and slightly spicy. The brisket though, they do not mess around with their beef in Texas, juicy, tender would easily pick this over some pieces of steaks I had in my life. 
Salt Lick Brisket and sausage

Afterwards we made our way to 17th Street grill from Mike Mills for some competition style ribs and snacked on Blue Smoke’s salt and pepper ribs. Though strategy would suggest skipping all the New York Vendors, Blue Smoke is still worth checking out, the ribs were light on the smoke but had good flavor and beef ribs are a nice change up.
Blue Smoke Salt and Pepper Beef Ribs

17th Street Grill Rib and beans
 Mike Mill’s of 17th Street Grill is a must as well, his St Louis style ribs (refers to the cut). His was probably in the nicest container and came with a side of beans that I had a few bites of and were tempting to finish off. The ribs had just the right amount of sauce that I am still figuring out what was in it. It was not vinegary or very distinct, but did not get in the way of fully tasting the pork. 
Blackjack chopped shoulder

Next up, was Ed Mitchell, doing whole hog, North Carolina style and if not mistaken, Western North Carolina. While waiting in line for this one, I was able to sample Myron Mixon brisket and chopped shoulder from Blackjack in South Carolina. The brisket from Mixon’s was distinctly different from the Salt Lick’s brisket in which it was texturally similar to braised beef (which is not a bad thing at all) and was pulled. The chopped shoulder from Blackjack was weird in which, the shoulder was cooked nicely, but it the sauce it was tossed in was too vinegary and acidic. But, if you added to slaw to the sandwich, it balanced out the high acid factor, I am unsure if this was their intention. Either way, it ended up being good chopped pork. 
Ed Mitchell's sortin table

smoked turkey
Ed Mitchell’s whole hog is required eating for another that eats pork. This makes me thankful that I am not Kosher or a vegetarian. Though the line was long, it was one of the most efficient ran lines and someone passing out cracklings while you waited helped a lot. The pork like all great barbeque was lightly tossed with some vinegar and such and that’s it. It is not much to look at, but the tasty, oh the taste was great. One thing to not miss out, is the smoked turkey which is a sleeper pick here. The turkey is what I wished I ate for Thanksgiving. I mean, given I missed the last two Thanksgiving, I actually was wishing this a bit more. The smoked turkey I like to think is his way of showing off a bit, “yeah, I can do awesome pig but I can do awesome turkey too just because”. 

Whole hog sandwich, don't look like much, but oh so good
Pat Martin’s pork was another one that blew me away. Hailing from Tennessee he too was doing whole hog and was going it right. The pork had a more distinct sauce compared to the whole hog ‘cue from the Carolinas. The pickles on the side were great and better than anything you could get from Brooklyn. Though I did not take a picture, I also tried the pulled pork shoulder from Ubon’s. It was not shredded and chunky and had a bit of a crusty outside to it. Also during the short period of rain and going for cover, decided to get some brisket from Hill Country and their brisket can stand up to the rest, showing that the New York Barbeque scene is something that is still evolving but getting there. The brisket at Hill Country was leaner and get a drippings bath. 

Martin's whole hog bbq
My disappointments of the day, was not getting a chance to get Big Bob Gibson’s and a pie from the fried pie stand. Big Bob I get, but the line for the Fried Pie was crazy, and I did not see a fastpass line for it! A Fastpass is a must at this event, no question about it, even before noon, the place gets crazy and full of people, everyone running for any open space on a bench. I generally avoid food events especially somethig as massive as this but it is well ran and the food is worth the wait. 

Such a pretty sight....a whole container of cracklings

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