The 5 Best Things at This Year's Big Apple Barbecue Block Party
We have many things to thank the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party for, now in its 10th year. A decade ago, it got the ball rolling for barbecue in NYC, and is partly responsible for our fair city becoming one of the true barbecue capitals of the country. And the festival has introduced us to many farflung establishments that we might not have otherwise visited. Even though the relation of the barbecue produced at, say, a country crossroads shack somewhere in the Carolinas will always be of uncertain relation to that produced in the middle of Madison Square from a gleaming truck using volunteer labor and the work of unfamiliar butchers.
Nevertheless, a good time was had by all this year, even if the Fast Pass lines sometimes ran longer than the plebian ones, and you ended up waiting 30 minutes for what turned out to be some inferior 'cue. Another heartbreaking feature was the emphasis on sauce at many places, and the consequent indifferent smokiness of the meat. And there's too much pulled pork! And not enough brisket, sausage, lamb, and chicken. And no barbecues from places like Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas City, or Ownesboro, KY. That said, here are the things I liked most this year.
5. Pulled Pork at Ed Mitchell's, Raleigh, NC - This is the irreducible product of the antique whole-pig approach originated in North Carolina: glove-soft pig flesh with a delicate flavor and only mildly smoky. The slaw on the side is its co-equal as partner in the pulled pork sandwich. This is barbecue of unswerving honesty.