Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival in NYC: Part Deux!

By: Anne M. Raso

We had such a BBQ Blast at 2010's Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival held at La Venue/The Tunnel, that we had to go back. Every attendee gets a festival logo beer glass that they can get unlimited refills of (you guessed it) beer and bourbon but I was there for the eats! There were over 70 vendors of both booze and 'cue, and we tried to visit all we could all while trying to stay upright! And for those more into girls than grits, Larry Flynt sent over his Daisy Dukes girls, who were giving a portion of the proceeds from their $15 calendar to several charities, and of course they were providing the mainly young male crowd plenty of photo, ops, autographs and even hugs! There was also a bacon eating contest with a $100 prize, but we just did not have that big of an ability to pig out, even though we usually excel in general in this arena! We did the first session only, which was called The Bacon Bash Session, but it was about a whole heck of a lot more than bacon.
Daisy Dukes Calendar Girls
The ever-clever Kloby's brought out a new item called the Jarbecue, which was coleslaw piled on top of pulled pork and served in a mason jar. But we love their simple pulled pork sandwich because it is done with minimal barbecue sauce, letting the tender pork speak for itself. It's golden brown, yellow-on-the-inside rolls are the softest this side of the Mississippi, making the pulled pork sandwich a double delight. (The amount of pork they put on a bun is huge--at least six ounces.) For more info on Kloby's, go to They are called the pride of Laurel, MD, for a reason! They're known for serving the best smoked meats in the region!
We also fell in love with several vendors' items we did not see at the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival last year including Todd's Dirt Seasonings. The friendly guys behind the tables were nice enough to give me samples--I especially love the Dry Rub and Crabby Dirt seasonings.
There were brownies and cookies from the Baconery for those who like their sweets with a little bacon in them (the crowd went nuts on this ultimate combination of salty and sweet in a confection), and Horman's Best Pickles, who came with 20 barrels of pickles and attendees got to try new-fangled flavors on a stick. I was happy with my Sour Dill and it's fresh crunch but admit that I got mighty thirsty afterwards! Also, hats off to Torchbearer Sauces for managing to scald my tongue with more than one sample--for more info, go to When you're hot, you're hot!
My favorite meat item at the show was actually from a New York vendor--Tri Top Grill from right in the heart of the City in Rockefeller Center. Who guessed such a good classic Texas style BBQ steak sandwich that's extremely well-seasoned could be found in Manhattan? The name of the sandwich we tried was Little Buck, which was just four ounces of thinly sliced tri-tip steak served au jus on a nice soft homemade hoagie style square roll. I can safely say I will be venturing into the Rockefeller Center Concourse for another one of their in the near future (their actual address is 30 Rockefeller Center and they do delivery in the neighborhood). For more info, go to
Sweet Potato Bacon Bread from Blacksauce Kitchen
I discovered the ultimate Southern buttermilk biscuit with a to-die-for homemade molasses butter thanks to the wonderful Blacksauce Kitchen, who was visiting up from Baltimore. These guys also have grilled meats and also serve the biscuits with smoked sausage gravy. You can catch them on Saturdays at the famous 32nd Street Farmer's market in Baltimore, where plenty of the locals come for a weekly fix. If I lived in down that way, you can bet I would be there every Saturday. Owner Damian Mosley also makes a to-die-for Sweet Potato Bacon Bread, Both Damian and his partner Vesnier Lugo and really nice, customer-oriented guys and told us that they are willing to set up their "curbside kitchen" (like the one they had at the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival for private events, so if you want to check them out, go to and tell them sent ya. You might just get a few extra biscuits out of that comment!
Would we recommend the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival for New Yorkers? Yes, but be prepared for large crowds--and a few folks who have had a few bourbons too many. The crowd is generally under 30 and 80 per cent guys in flannel shirts and its probably a great place for young ladies on the prowl. For more info on the fest, go to

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