Okay, be honest... you're totally sick of reading about BBQ after my trip to Austin, aren't you?! Well too bad! Even though I swore about 20 times that I would never eat BBQ again after my trip to Texas, the Big Apple BBQ rolled into NYC on June 11-12 and there's no way I could ever miss this event, it's just too good! All the best Pit Masters from around the country drive their pits to NYC's Madison Square Park for a day of all-you-can-eat ribs, brisket, pulled pork and other amazing BBQ delights. It's a fabulous event, and one of my favorite food festivals of the whole year.The funny thing is that they sell "Fast Passes" for over $100 a pop that let you cut the line. Just like Disney World! And trust me, Big Apple BBQ is Disney World for grown-ups. I didn't buy a Fast Pass this year because they sold out several months before the event, but my amazing food blogger friend, Megan (better known as the writer behind This Girl Can Eat) texted me the day of the BBQ to say she and her boyfriend had extra passes and did I want them. Did I want them?! I think I cried tears of joy over this news.With passes in hand, Patrick and I headed down to the event in the rain happy about the weather because we hoped it meant it would even be less crowded than usual. Turns out we didn't need to worry about the crowd because those passes gave us "backstage access" to all the food vendors. Several of our friends met us at the event since we told them we could get multiple orders of each dish when we cut the line. It was party time!
As soon as we got down there, we knew we wanted pulled pork and ribs. My favorite pulled pork last year was from Big Bob Gibson's out of Decatur, AL. We hopped in line and as soon as we did, something awful happened. THEY RAN OUT! Noooo!! I was really upset, but quickly got over it when I saw ribs one station over. We got ourselves some Baker's St. Louis-style ribs from Dallas, TX.After many ribs in Austin that came without BBQ sauce, this was a pleasant change for me since I LOVE BBQ sauce. The ribs were moist, succulent and delicious. They came with a side of cole slaw, one of my favorite BBQ side dishes, and we were off to a great start.
As we disappeared back behind the ropes to go for some more food, we were met with quite a surprise. Martin's BBQ Joint out of Nashville, TN had a WHOLE HOG out back and they were filling it with seasoning as we walked by. We had to stop and watch. (WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTO)
As an animal-lover AND a food-lover, I am always torn by these kinds of situations. Part of me felt like "aw, poor piggy" and the other part of me (namely, my stomach) was saying, "yum, delicious piggy!" Quite a conflict of interest. Of course we had to try this piggy, served on a bun, and boy was it good! I again covered it in BBQ sauce, pickles and cole slaw and went to town.Next up, Baby-Back Ribs from 17th Street Bar & Grill out of Murphysboro, IL & Las Vegas, NV.These ribs were fatter and meatier than the ones we had earlier, but also very tasty. At this point I was covered in BBQ sauce, licking my fingers and starting to get a little full. It was as if I learned nothing from my multiple Austin food comas and decided to just keep going. Probably not the best decision, but oh well. All for the love of BBQ!
We moved on to New York's own Dinosaur BBQ for Pulled Pork Shoulder. I had been trying to avoid getting any NY BBQ since I live here and can get it anytime, but since I haven't made it up to Dinosaur in Harlem yet, I figured I should give it a try.This time, the main course came with a side of baked beans instead of cole slaw and these beans were TO DIE FOR. They were loaded with bacon, and honestly, what isn't made better by the addition of bacon?! These beans were out of control good. The pork shoulder was definitely awesome, but these beans! I wanted to drink them with a straw they were so good. My mouth is watering just remembering them.
I was almost ready to stop there, but then I thought to myself, "Just. One. More. Rib." and went for one last dish. I can't say this was a wise decision, but the Big Apple BBQ only comes around once a year so I got the Baby Back Ribs from Pappy's Smokehouse out of St. Louis, MO.These ribs were really good, fall-of-the-bone tender and the sauce was tasty. As the beans were not as good as Dinosaur's, I decided not to fill up on them so I could finish the ribs. By the time I took my last bite, I was in very serious need of a nap and once again, I cursed the BBQ gods for making me eat so much dang BBQ.
I think I've gotten my fill of BBQ for the rest of the year, but I know that all I have to do is walk by Blue Smoke or Hill Country and I'll be ready for another gluttonous feast of pork and beef.
What's your favorite BBQ in the country? Have you ever been to Big Apple BBQ? What do you think?
-The Fabulous Foodie