June is my favorite month of the year, and it’s not because it’s the beginning of Summer — it’s when the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party is held.
Highlights of the 2010 Big Apple Barbecue Block Party. Click photo above for complete slide show
This year, unlike years previous where we had comprehensive coverage, Rachel and I were only able to attend the second day of the Block Party because we were flying home from the West Indies the previous day. But in true barbecue trooper style, we made the most of that one Sunday, even though the weather started to become uncooperative.
Also See: Previous Coverage (2007-2010)
This year saw the addition of several new pit crews in addition to the returning crews, so much of our attention in the six hours we were at the event was dedicated to looking at the new stuff.
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Every year, the Big Apple BBQ keeps getting bigger and bigger. Approximately 125,000 people were expected at the event. 17 pit crews served championship-style world-class BBQ to the crowds while six bands played country and rock music all day long for two days.
Jim & Nick’s BBQ returned this year with their delicious sausage and pimento cheese plates.
Just like music, BBQ has its groupies and hardcore fans. I see this guy every year get his T-Shirt signed by every pit-master at the event.
NYC-based Blue Smoke, which is owned by Big Apple BBQ Block Party organizer Union Square Hospitality Group, did Salt and Pepper beef ribs this year, which were different and quite excellent.
I don’t have to tell you how hot it got when taking THIS close-up.
They were served alongside a pickled okra salad, which I loved. Even Rachel liked it and she hates okra.
Blue Smoke Salt & Pepper beef ribs closeup.
Blue Smoke also made some killer desserts. This is a slice of blueberry cobbler, a la mode.
Even though the event was bigger this year, things still managed to scale pretty well. There were a lot more seating areas on the street this year than in previous years.
Garry Roark from Ubon’s in Yazoo City is always the welcoming type and a great guy to photograph. I like him especially because whenever he sees me, he shoves chunks of BBQ pork shoulder in my mouth. How cool is that?
Ubon’s BBQ Pork Shoulder sandwich.
St Louis-based Pappy’s is a new BBQ crew to the event, and they were cooking up some fine ribs. My buddy and fellow Jersey boy Doug Keiles of Ribs Within was there to help them out, and they had him working pretty hard.
Now are those fine rib specimens or what?
Ok boys, get a room.
I can see why they are getting all excited though.
Big Lou Elrose was also doing the local represent at Wildwood BBQ.
Wildwood’s entry were boneless pork steak sandwiches, aka big thick boneless BBQ pork chops with caramelized onions on top. These were great, and I love the fact that they did something very different this year.
Here’s a member of 17th Street/Memphis Championship BBQ crew bringing some for Mike Mills and his team. I love the camraderie at this event, as all the proceeds are going to the Madison Square Park Conservancy.
No, you’re not looking at a pyroclastic eruption — this is Moonlite BBQ’s pit opened, exposing their Mutton. Thats a sheep, for you city folks.
Owensboro, Kentucky-based Moonlite is new to the event and so is their ‘Q. Mutton (Sheep) is smoked and then chopped up with BBQ sauce. This is very much authentic Kentucky-style ‘Q, very specific to that region and not something you really get to see that often in these parts, if ever.
In addition to the BBQ mutton, Moonlite was also cooking up a huge batch ‘o Burgoo. What’s Burgoo? Well, I’d describe it as something of a cross between a chili and a stew, with lots of BBQ meat in it, closer to a thick and hearty soup, or a Brunswick Stew I guess. Not sweet, definitely savory. Another very Kentucky dish.
Here’s Moonlite’s BBQ plate, served with pickles and Burgoo. I loved the unique flavor of Mutton BBQ, it reminded me almost of Greek/Middle Eastern lamb kebabs.
NYC-based Hill Country BBQ was back this year, serving up their authentic Texas Brisket. Hill Country is also going to be opening a BBQ Chicken restaurant sometime this summer, so keep checking this space.
Hill Country BBQ Brisket. It’s practically pornographic, I know.
Ed Mitchell and his crew from The Pit in Raleigh, NC were back with their wonderful Carolina Whole Hog. I never ever miss an opportunity to eat Ed’s pig, EVER.
Ed Mitchell, the man himself.
Is Ed bigger than life? I guess so.
BBQ Whole Hog Sandwiches. These were flying out the door faster than I could photograph them.
If you can get an audience with The Master, you may be offered some ‘cracklin. For a Barbecue fanatic, this is like getting communion. Do take some.
Baker’s Ribs from Texas was back again this year. These guys love to play with fire.
And they make fine tasting ribs too.
Getting hungry yet?
Did I mention the fire part?
Baker’s pitmasters always seem cool as a cucumber, despite the heat coming out of their pits.
Jack’s Old South BBQ from Unadilla, GA was another new pit crew for 2010. I expected that a Georgia-based team would do some form of pork, but surprisingly, they did brisket, which is what you would expect a Texas or KC-based restaurant to do.
The proof was in the brisket, and a mighty fine brisket it was.
Big Bob Gibson’s Chris Lilly is a man who can only be described as menacing. You don’t want to get your hands any where near him when he starts a’ choppin.
Memphis Championship BBQ’s Mike Mills is always willing to show off his award-winning ribs.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…. Riiiiiiiiibs. Yeah I know I’m running out of stuff to say, by 3PM I was hitting a meat coma.
HEY PERLOW! COME OVER HERE BOY LET’S GIT US SUM MEAT! If it was anyone else but Patrick Martin that had said that to me, especially with those big ‘Ol rubber gloves of his, I’d have moved my big fat legs and ran like an antelope. I’ve seen Deliverance, you know.
Like Ed Mitchell, Nashville, Tennessee-based Martin’s does Whole Hog ‘Q. However, while Ed’s is chopped with the ‘cracklins and then tossed in a Carolina vinegar sauce, Martin’s pulls whole peices of meat off the pig and dresses it in a tomato-based BBQ sauce with a colorful slaw. These are mighty fine pork sandwiches, some of the best I’ve ever had.
The rain was starting to fall on the Block Party, but that doesn’t mean the food stopped coming. These are Bison Bacon Cheeseburgers that were being prepared for one of the demo sessions. I got to try a piece of one, and boy were they good.
This tired, scary biker is part of NYC-based Dinosaur BBQ’s crew. He looks pretty shagged out after a long day.
See? Everyone’s mood perks up when they get to play with their ‘Q.
These are some beautiful looking pork shoulders. Nice crust.
Dino’s specialty this year was pulled pork sandwiches. Can’t get enough pork, can we?
Dinosaur BBQ owner/Pitmaster John Stage works the line. Someone has to get those sandwiches out the door, right?