BBQ on the Brain: 10th Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

It’s not too late to cancel your plans this weekend so you can attend the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in Madison Square Park. Not only does this festival give you the opportunity to try some of the best roasted, braised, and fired meat in around, but it features pit masters from all across the country. If that wasn’t enough, they also have live music, film, and free cooking demos. Here’s what we are looking forward too.

Meat: Expect to wait in line, but don’t be dismayed it’s worth it. Serving up the meat Saturday and Sunday include favorites like: Las Vegas’ Mike Mills with baby back ribs, Chris Lilly from Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q with pulled-pork shoulder, Rodney Scott from Scott’s Bar-B-Q with a whole hog, Drew Robinson from Jim ‘N Nick’s with smoked sausage, and 14 other barbecue experts.

Music: On Saturday, get your country-folk on with Jon Langford, soul music from Chicago with JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, and end the day with swamp pop from Southern Culture on the Skids. Sunday brings you soul by the Revelations featuring Tres Williams, and rock music by Roadside Graves and Alejandro Escovedo and the Sensitive Boys.

Free demonstrations: There are a lot of events going on, but the demos to really watch out for start with southern chefs Tyler Brown from Capitol Grille and Sean Brock from Husk and McCrady’s showing how to cook over embers. Also up, they have Chris Hastings, chef and owner of the Hot & Hot Fish Club in Alabama, making BBQ grilled shrimp and chef Norman King whipping up brown sugar pork chops.

Film screenings: Both days will feature free screenings of Joe York’s two new shorts Helen’s Bar-B-Q, and homage to pit master Helen Turner, and Madison Square Pork, a mini-documentary of the festival. If you can’t wait, or want something extra special, Blue Smoke is hosting the Potlikker Film Festival that not only shows both films, but also York’s short on the Van Winkle bourbon company called, Asleep in the Wood—all complete with Smell-A-Vision.Good thing food is on hand as they will also be passing around southern nibbles by Blue Smoke’s Kenny Callaghan, Seersucker‘s Robert Newton, and Herbsaint’s Ryan Prewitt and pouring whiskey from Julian Van Winkle’s private stash.

 

New York City Will Be One Long Food Festival This Summer

It’s no secret: food events are all the rage. This couldn’t be truer than in New York, where dining alfresco has taken on a whole new meaning with the rise of food trucks, markets, and whole days dedicated to eating from little stands, festival or not.

Already this summer the New York Times has dedicated two articles to these events. In last week’s Sunday paper, they talked about the artisanal side of eating, small businesses, and the hunt to try foods first at these gatherings. The other one hit on the trend of music festivals turned in to food extravaganzas, the most recent example being the failed GoogaMooga a couple weeks ago (though props to them for refunding the VIP tickets). The complaint surrounding that event, and with a many food-centric gatherings, is waiting in line.

This problem isn’t so bad at weekly gatherings like Saturday’s Brooklyn Flea Market in Fort Greene or the all-food bazaar Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. At the Flea, they have nibbles like vegan Faux Gras by The Regal Vegan, Sam Mason’s Empire Mayonnaise, and tiny cupcakes from Kumquat Cupcakery. The year-old Smorgasburg has more vendors than we want to list here, but some of my favorites include First Prize Pies, Rick’s Picks, and Kings County Jerky. You can also get your grub on at Hester Street Fair, which features lobster rolls from Luke’s Lobster, artisan ice pops from La Newyorkina, coffee from Café Grumpy, and a whole slew of other bites.  

If you just want to hit up a bunch of seasonal food trucks, try the Red Hook ballpark in Brooklyn, an area famous for its taco and papusa stands. In Manhattan, the Highline has spattering of snacks you can buy as you walk along its lovely, urban-meets-organic path. Also, for you beach goers, nothing is finer for a beach body than stuffing your face with Rockaway Taco and DiCosmo’s Italian Ice at the famous Rockaway Beach in Queens.

As for up coming food, music, and fun festivals that you will probably have to wait in line for, June 9 and 10 brings the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in Madison Square Park. For a decade they have been hosting this meat and music fest. This year they have Jon Langford, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, and Southern Culture on the Skids to strike a cord as people chow on barbecue from the hottest spots around the country including Scott’s Bar-B-Que, Ed Mitchell’s whole hog roast, and Pappy’s Smokehouse.

Another event coming up is popular party host Dances of Vice’s Rockabilly Night Market at the DeKalb Market in Downtown Brooklyn on June 22, which will have music by Eddie Clendening and the Blue Ribbon Boys, plus tons of food from the vendors there. Governors Island also hosts food-happy events like their Cook Out NYC on July 7 and 8, which features a burger cook off, a kimchi eating contest, and lots of local craft beer.

So, go forth you hungry people and enjoy this popular way to eat outdoors, listening to music, and walking around our fair city. Is there something on your list this summer that we forgot? Please share and may the lines ever be in your favor.