This past weekend was the seventh annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in Madison Square Park. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to try BBQ offerings from some of the places on my NYC “to try” checklist along with some of the best BBQ from other places throughout the US. There were even two vendors there from my home state of Alabama, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q and Jim ‘n Nick’s Bar-B-Q.
If you’ve never been, you have the option of either just showing up and paying for what you elect to try or you can purchase a Fast Pass for the event. While it does cost $100, the Fast Pass functions as a debit card of sorts for all of your food purchases (also can be used for all merchandise aside from books) and is good for you and a guest. It allows you access to a quicker area behind each table to help avoid those long winding lines which made me think of amusement parks. It also proved helpful since many of the vendors started to run out of food towards the end of the day and by then, we’d tried almost all of the pork and beef products we could handle.
The Kansas City ribs and accompanying pickled okra from Blue Smoke was amazing. Some of the best ribs I have had in a long time. The sauce was just a little bit sweet and the meat was tender and had been cooked to the point of perfection. Their staff explained some of the other offerings from the restaurant so I’m headed there this week to further “sample”. I’ll say though, I definitely prefer my okra fried rather than pickled. I was disappointed we did not manage to make it over to try out Dinosaur’s offerings, so I’ll have to make a trip up to Harlem just to visit.
The longest line we faced was for Salt Lick BBQ, a vendor hailing from Driftwood, Texas. Their dish was beef brisket, sausage, and coleslaw. Ironically they were serving what would turn out to be one of my most favorite items alongside one of my least favorite. The sausage was very well done. It wasn’t spicy or sweet – just a simple smoky flavor, no sauce required to accompany. The brisket though seemed like it was not done to the extent normal of brisket and I found it fatty and just too chewy. If I’m ever in Driftwood, I’ll opt sausage over brisket any day. If you missed this year’s event, I recommend checking it out next year.