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Everything posted by jkarpf

  1. On drizzly midday Saturday, which helped cut some lines, I too liked Patrick Martin's whole-hog sandwiches. My group of six started there since Ed Mitchell had disappointed us last year when we got three plates from his booth, which had minced the meat so finely it had become as bland as canned tuna. But Martin's pork turned out to be dark, rich in smoke, and pulled into long strands. A fine start. Then my friends and I took shifts with my express card, bringing back more 'cue. Hill Country was shockingly skimpy, giving us only three thin strips of brisket. No wonder its line was the shortest at that time/day. Mike Mills'/ 17th Street's ribs wowed us all: tender meat, gentle but adequate smoke, and the perfect minimum of glaze. Those were my gf's first smoked ribs, too -- a great personal start for her. Drew Robinson's/Jim 'N Nick's spicy sausage, cut obscenely long, was our day's winner, though the pimento cheese and saltines were a weird wash. Michael Rodriguez's/Salt Lick's sausage, savory much less spicy and a bit shorter, impressed almost as much. On Sunday, two of us went back to use up my card, got two plates from Ed Mitchell, and it was very good this time, chopped instead of minced. His slicers were giving away lots of skin -- smoked a second time after removal from the meat -- to the streetside traffic, a big crowd-pleaser. slkinsey, thanks for the stats. The other non-Ch food board I'm on doesn't seem to have an active item for this at all. I hope interest continues to wane, shortening the lines. I stole from one of the booths in a fit of pique that the barbecue community didn't deserve. The booth's express side turned out to have one short line for paying and a second line for pickup. The second line was very slow, thanks to a plodding slicer and the servers sending many more plates to the regular line. Meanwhile, I couldn't unpunch my card, some rain was starting, and I was still annoyed by Hill Country's cheap serving. So on this later booth's second line I said I'd ordered two plates, not one, which was unethical. I don't expect it to restore any cosmic balance, but later on I passed around my Lipitor in case the people around me wanted a free hit. Since sharing the card worked even better than it had for me last year, next year I plan to take more people earlier and encourage them to wander looking at the different smokers and prep tables, instead of expecting them to rush back to feed the group.
  2. Great photos and commentary, but docsconz's second snapshot of Mr. Cecil pitmaster Jonathan Burrows does not make me smile. His booth's express line barely moved when I was on it, since only he was slicing the beef ribs and sausage. When one of my friends was ready to buy on Ed Mitchell's line, which was twice as long as but moved three times as quickly, I had to abandon Mr. Cecil and run my FastPass to Mitchell's line. Hill Country's beef ribs were great later, though, and served with an unadvertised bonus of great spicy sausage.
  3. My semiweekly tuna from the Teriyaki Boy near work should be lower risk, since that takeout place can't possibly be buying the more expensive, more compromised bluefin tuna. Though maybe now that'll wholesale more cheaply. Damn.
  4. New York Noodletown roasts its own pig and duck.
  5. Three years ago I discovered eGullet when I was Googling this event. I was thrilled to read the detective work and photos and criticism and tips, and I discovered the rest of eGullet from there. Two years ago I split a Bubba card with a friend and we had a fantastic time. We ate well, compared meats, listened to surprisingly good jazz, and drank our beers in the corral. No need for phone coordination. This year I couldn't find someone to share a card, so I'll be spending today in Chinatown with a vegan friend. I know too many vegetarians. If it rains I'll swing by this evening. I walked through the park last night at eleven. Only four smokers were fired and just two already contained pig, though they smelled great. Ed Mitchell looked too grumpy to approach. Glad to see him smiling this morning. Near him were trays of burning charcoal.
  6. I saw booths comping security guards and street cops pretty casually. I don't think any vendors were tracking food the way tightly run restaurants do. The “free” plates offered when the Bubba card system crashed on Saturday probably hurt no vendors. The service sure was painfully slow, but also Southern-style friendly. Those long lines would’ve been better served by the humorless, hurried service we expect at Manhattan delis or fast-food restaurants. But would visiting out-of-state workers and local “volunteers” be willing to double their workload that way, making it painful for themselves? Jason, I don’t know Mr. Cutlets but would have been honored to meet him after he snuck into my photo. I love his book. As for me, I’ve been a lurker but will be mending my ways. I discovered eGullet last year when I was looking for coverage of the 2004 BBQ party.
  7. The casual atmosphere was what I liked most about Minado, actually, since I had dinner there with a group of almost 50. It's a fun group venue, with flexible seating and a wide range of dishes ranging from uni to chicken teriyaki. Both the brave and the cowardly will find plenty. And all-you-can-eat ain't bad. But all the sushi tasted the same to me -- even widely different types of fish, never mind similar ones. It was fresh without having much flavor. None of the shellfish had the sweet brininess I expect of it. I finished the meal with a marinated-salmon dish and lots of seaweed and oshitashi. Which has now spoiled restaurant hijiki for me: just like after I found dirt-cheap papadum in Indian grocery stores, now seaweed seems too silly to pay for as a side dish.
  8. Southside/Elgin's sausage and brisket had much more flavor and fat than the Salt Lick's. I didn't find Elgin's baked beans "watery"; to me they were soupy like dahl, and the most savory. For ribs, Whole Hog's heavily smoked but still juicy ones beat 17th Street's. See the photo below of Whole Hog's mopping atop an already thick rub. The Bubba card, which we were lucky to buy this morning, was vital. Our only significant line was for getting the card itself. Next year I'll order mine in advance. Though maybe it's good for next year . . . there's no date on it . . . Ed Mitchell Sarge Davis (Whole Hog)
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