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johnder

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party 2006

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In an effort to disagree with everyone as much as possible, we thought the best items this year with the rib tips from Smoki O's (the snoot was also darn good) and the brisket, particularly the deckle, from Salt Lick.  I, personally, didn't feel like Mike Mills' ribs or Ed Mitchell's stuff was quite up to their own lofty standards from past years, but they were still darn good...

The fastpass lanes were definitely moving about 1000% better Sunday than Saturday, but the waits weren't too bad either day.  If my extremely pregnant wife can stand and wait 10 minutes for Ed Mitchell's stuff, not sure what the big fuss is.  And for the clever people who ended up using cut up boxes, foil trays, plastic pallets and everything else in sight to transport 20 plates of barbecue, what's wrong with that?

Another year with another great event.  I'm hoping they keep doing it forever.

On Saturday my wife waited in Ed Mitchell's line for a hour. But that was shortly after they started serving.


Robert R

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Highlights from Day 2:

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New York's Bravest

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New York's Finest

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Dinosaur BBQ Pitmaster John Stage

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Dinosaur BBQ Pork Sandwich with BBQ Beans

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This man clearly loves his job

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Big Bob Gibson Pitmaster Chris Lilly

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Big Bob Gibson Pulled Pork Sandwich

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Memphis Championship Barbecue Pitmaster Mike Mills

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Writer / eG Society member David Leite

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Whole hog barbecue artisan Ricky Parker (Lexington, KY)

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Filmmaker Joe York

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John T. Edge, Exec Dir., Southern Foodways Alliance


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Highlights from Day 2:

The whole event was a blast! I got to the Cue at 11:40 am, and had my first plate (Bob Gibson's) at 11:55 - no BubbaPass. Bob's was the best, in my opinion, although I enjoyed Ed Mitchell's a lot, too. I was a bit bummed out, though - saw one person leave with a chunk of crackly skin in their order, and I asked the pitmaster for some - just got a terse, grumpy "NO!" Hmmmm. Granted, these guys were up for the better part of two days, but I wonder why someone else could get crackly skin, and I couldn't? After they pulled the pork from the crispy carcass, they put the half-pig carcasses back on the smokers, but I don't know how they were "recycling" them. Boo-hoo. Made me think of the porchetta they sell at street fairs in Italy - roast suckling pig, real crispy/crackly skin (like it's shellac'ed, almost). However, you get over these things with enough 'cue . . . :biggrin:

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One thing to keep in mind about the line service is that these were people who worked for the event company, not for the individual barbecue purveyors. Unfortunately, the level of competence and service was not high. At one point I wanted to buy $28 worth of food, but only had $25 on my fastpass -- it took literally 15 minutes for the cashier to figure out how to do that (it eventually took persuading the overloaded booth manager to focus for 30 seconds and do the transaction himself).

Still... the Q was outstanding, as always.


--

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Hi there

We went on Saturday, and greatly enjoyed the day. The frustrating part was experiencing the the long lines, even using the Bubba Pass. We had to give up on the Salt Lick line after waiting 45 minutes, because we had booked tix for the "cooking pork" seminar over at ICE.

Yes- too many people were ordering 10-20 plates of food which shouldn't be allowed. I was also shocked to see so many inexperienced people working at the registers, in handling the bubba passes. That- and of course the wait on Saturday for the transactions added to the frustration. Even buying merchandise took 10 minutes. No one knew how to use the machines.

What I found to be totally annoying was the "Gestapo like" tactics of the "guards" by the Bubba Pass lanes. There were 3 in our party, and they would only allow 2 people on the sidewalk. We explained that we were only buying 2 portions- but no- we weren't allowed in together. This was just stupid. We couldn't even eat together because of the crowds.

Since I have personally visited many of the pitmasters restaurants, it was great fun to go back and enjoy their food. Ed Mitchell's whole hog reminded me how much I love Q. And.... I still think that Dinosaur delivers the best BBQ here in New York on a consistent basis.

Thanks

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By Sunday early-afternoon, it looked like the Bubba Pass crowds were thinning and thing with the check-outs were proceeding smoothly. The pits that had the biggest lines were 17th Street and Salt Lick. You could pretty much walk up to the counter at Dinosaur and Blue Smoke. I didn't see anyone having much trouble with the registers.

Faves here were the ribs at 17th Street, the sausage and brisket at Southside (why, oh, why couldn't I get up to Elgin when I was in San Antonio a few months ago?), and Gibson's shoulder and especially the slaw. (The variety of sauces offered was a bonus.) Blue Smoke left me surprisingly disappointed -- I think I'm not much of a fan of St. Louis style ribs after all -- and Salt Lick's brisket and sausage were only OK, and not in the same league as Southside.

My final verdict: I may have to move to Austin, just to be close to Southside.

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As someone who's never actually been able to participate in this event (in the past: didn't get a Bubba Pass and couldn't hack the lines; this year: sidelined medically), why would anyone even go to booths run by local places? Given the hassle (even with a Bubba Pass, it seems), why wouldn't you stick to places whose food is only available in New York at the party?


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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Two days of stuffing myself with awesome BBQ--I think a Bubba Pass is an incredible value. My partner and I ate at least once each at every booth except Blue Smoke and Dinosaur (I can go there anytime, right?), twice each at Southside Market and Smoki O's, and with the occasional free BBQ dose on Saturday still had enough cash on the card to empty it on Sunday by buying two t-shirts.

And though the fast pass lines were longer and slower than last year, I solved that by eating my last purchase while in line for the next one. Makes for good conversations with your fellow standees :raz:

First stop on Saturday was Smoki O's to beg for snoot--turned out she had brought some in spite of the organizer's request to leave it at home (her words). So no begging necessary.

Second stop was next door at RUB, and I have to say I was very, very disappointed. I realize it was 12:05PM on Saturday, and I was one of the first customers, but the brisket was ice cold. And I mean ice cold to the point of congealed surface fat. Ugh. I've never been to the restaurant, but I was pretty horrified at getting that served to me. I'm glad that others apparently fared better.

I'll stick to Southside Market. Elgin (that's a hard "g" by the way, not like the watch company) must be paradise.

:smile:

Jamie


Edited by picaman (log)

See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,

Is notwithstanding up.

Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene ii

biowebsite

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What I found to be totally annoying was the "Gestapo like" tactics of the "guards" by the Bubba Pass lanes.  There were 3 in our party, and they would only allow 2 people on the sidewalk.  We explained that we were only buying 2 portions- but no- we weren't allowed in together.  This was just stupid.  We couldn't even eat together because of the crowds.

This was explained pretty clearly to me over the phone when I bought my pass, without prompting from me. They only allow two people per pass into the fast pass area, but those two people can buy as much BBQ as they want to bring out for as many people as they like. You could have eaten together anywhere in the park...they are trying to control the crowds in the fast pass area.

I think this is a sensible approach given the crowds and the logistics.

:smile:

Jamie


See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,

Is notwithstanding up.

Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene ii

biowebsite

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I'll stick to Southside Market.  Elgin (that's a hard "g" by the way, not like the watch company) must be paradise.

Just as a side note... The reason for the pronunciation of the name of the town, Elgin, with a hard "G" is because it is named after the Texas pioneer family that settled there. And the matriarch of the family was a renowned teetotaler. She simply couldn't abide the thought of having 'devil gin' in their name, so she ordered that the name of the town and the family it was named after would be forevermore pronounced with a hard "G."

And it was. And is.

There are three barbecue places in Elgin. Southside, with which you are all familiar, Meyer's (also famous for sausage), and Crosstown, which is in a completely different category.

Elgin is primarily well-known for their sausage, however. If you're talking brisket, Elgin doesn't hold a smoking cinder to Lockhart, which is the true barbeque capital of the world, and Luling, a few miles farther down the highway.

But they all are located in Central Texas which, along with the towns of LLano, and Taylor, and Gonzales, and a few others, comprise the best smoked meat tour you can imagine.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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quick question - did chris lilly not offer you yankees some of his signature chicken in white sauce? it hasn't been mentioned in any post afaik, and i would think that would have been quite the new experience for most of the people in attendance.

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Each pitmaster offered one plate, it either just had one type of meat, or two, but you got just what they offered, not a choice. I.e. Ed Mitchel offered a whole hog pulled pork sandwich, and that is what you got. Elgin offered a combo of brisket and sausage. Orders were lined up by the prep people dozens of plates at a time, there was no time or capability for servers to customize orders. So, no, Chris Lilly did not offer chicken in white sauce, just the pulled pork sandwich pictured above.

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quick question - did chris lilly not offer you yankees some of his signature chicken in white sauce? it hasn't been mentioned in any post afaik, and i would think that would have been quite the new experience for most of the people in attendance.

The white sauce was VERY available, for purchase and for sandwich decorating, but there was no chicken, so most people I saw went for the championship red sauce. (I was very democratic - I had red sauce on on half and the tangy mustard sauce on the other, but sensed that the white was for chicken - I was trying to read the label from the line). While on line, the videotron ran a segment on Big Bob's in which the dip-the-chicken-in-the-white-sauce concept was explained, so, yes, us Yankees KNEW what the white sauce was for. But no chicken, so no white saucing. White on beef would, we assumed, be as outrageous to a Southerner as mayo on a Reuben sandwich would be to a New Yorker. Heretical. Obscene. Ungodly. Against the laws of man and nature (!!) :biggrin:

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The people at BBG actually discouraged a friend from putting the white sauce on his sandwich. I, personally, find that it goes really good on lots of things - french fries, jerk chicken, cuban sandwiches, etc. It was nice to grab a bottle without a trip to Decatur.

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...

Anyway . . . the gist of the seminar was that pork today sucks compared to the way it used to be, primarily because it has less fat and the feed they use today is garbage, and the fact that pitmasters today are working with pork that tastes like tofu has led to the need for injecting, aggressive rubs, etc., to compensate for the pork's flavorlessness. Probably worth a separate topic, if anybody would like to pick up the conversation.

Here's a current thread discussing the effect of breed, feed and treatment of pigs on the ultimate flavor of the meat. cllick

It would be interesting to hear more from anyone that attended the seminar and can contribute to that thread.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Just as a side note...  The reason for the pronunciation of the name of the town, Elgin, with a hard "G" is because it is named after the Texas pioneer family that settled there.  And the matriarch of the family was a renowned teetotaler.  She simply couldn't abide the thought of having 'devil gin' in their name, so she ordered that the name of the town and the family it was named after would be forevermore pronounced with a hard "G.

Excellent story--thanks for the followup. It was a bit grating to hear it mispronounced so much all weekend.

:wink:

Jamie


See! Antony, that revels long o' nights,

Is notwithstanding up.

Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene ii

biowebsite

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For those of you that missed the event, in addition to the Pre-Game Show (click) I've also added a Day 1 and 2 pitmaster roundup podcast that some of you might find interesting. (click) We discuss the various barbecue styles, methods of preparation, and I also mis-pronounce "Elgin' in front of Bryan Brycewell several times in a row.


Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Some stats from the event organizers:

o 3,576 lbs spare ribs

o 1,902 lbs rib tips

o 2,292 brownies

o 4,407 lbs baby back ribs

o 4,110 lbs baked beans

o 12,953 cups beer

o 3,048 lbs beef brisket

o 25 organic whole hogs

o 7,027 bottles soda

o 5,752 lbs pork butt

o 64,680 slices bread

o 4,915 bottles Fiji water

o 2,649 lbs pork shoulder

o 41,520 potato rolls

o 1,486 glasses wine

o 2,100 lbs sausage

o 3,813 slices pie

o 250 bags charcoal


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Yes. Although Ed Mitchell's hogs were brought in by himself.

Those were some impressive stats - and I did my best to contribute to them by eating as much - and as widely - as I could!

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