Monday, June 11, 2012

The Whole Hog at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party NYC

By: Finance Foodie 

Like any good (real) Texan, my mouth salivates at the mere mention of the word "BBQ". So obviously, my attendance at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party this past weekend at Madison Square Park was a must do for my summer in NYC. After all, there's nothing like having great barbecue, listening to music and hanging out with awesome friends to chill out from a long week of work.

Since there were over a dozen award-winning `cue purveyors from the good US of A's top pitmasters, I couldn't try it all (nor did I want to - good BBQ, like a fine scotch, is only meant to be enjoyed in moderation). However, with the aid of a few friends who were willing to share the humongous $8 plates, I was able to try a pretty solid four offerings. Below are my thoughts.

The first and best of the afternoon was hands down the baby back ribs from Rack & Soul based (surprisingly) in New York. The ribs were tender, juicy and a delicious mess to consume. My only regret was not bringing wet naps post-devouring.
The next item I tried was the pulled pork shoulder sandwich from Ubon's BBQ based out of Yazoo City Missouri. To be honest, this was one sad pulled pork sandwich. The meat was dry and had, I suspect, been sitting out too long (which is not uncommon at these types of massive city wide food events). The bun was, like the meat, also quite un-moist. This sandwich definitely did have potential  - but unfortunately fell flat at this event.
Blue Smoke's Salt and Pepper Beef ribs were pretty good, but I felt, came up short compared to Rack & Soul's offering. The pepper was a bit overbearing, and I thought the ribs could have used more sauce (the little of what was on the ribs was actually very tasty). This plate I suspect had also been sitting out for too long.
I saved the best - Salt Lick's Beef Brisket and Sausage - for last (okay, in actuality, it was because the line was about 30 minutes long - even with a Fast Pass). After spending four years in Austin for school, there was no way I could leave this event without sampling our hometown hero / favorite among our entire university campus' BBQ. And of course, Salt Lick did not disappoint. Although not as good as eating the dish at the restaurant, the brisket was smokey and tender (but not overly fatty). The sauce also had a nice sweetness and was a great complement to the woodsy meat. If this was only served with a hot piece of Texas Toast, instead of a standard piece of Wonder Bread, this would have won best in show for me.
Overall, the portions were very generous and even though many of the lines were super long, people generally were pretty friendly and not pushy (guess it was all the Southern Hospitality infiltrating the stomachs of the New Yorkers!). So until next year - happy BBQing to all!

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