The smokey smells of pulled pork, brisket and ribs spread through Manhattan as the Snapple Big Apple BBQ Block Party kicked off today in Madison Square Park. To any meat eating new Yorker, the block party is culinary bliss. Pitmasters and their crews set up in various stations around the park with their rub stations and smokers, serving their specialties to the masses. And I do mean masses. My recommendation is to buy the $100 Fast Pass online prior to the event to get into smaller lines, as you can wait for 45 minutes at certain spots. The money does go towards your first $100 of food purchases, so it’s not just a convenience fee.
The above shot is from the Martin’s Bar-B-Que smoker. These guys, from Nashville, Tennessee, were very talkative and shared some fresh pieces from this pig with the crowd. There is nothing like having freshly smoked pulled pork literally from the hand of the guy who pulled it. They travel the country on a circuit of BBQ’s, some judged, some like this just for fun.
One of the workers at Martin’s had only one leg. There was another BBQ stand where one of the workers couldn’t make the trip to NYC. He had to stay home and watch over the shop. Incidentally, the guy only had one leg, but sent his fake leg with his coworkers so he could be their in spirit, or in leg.
In previous years all of Madison Square Park has been opened for picnickers, but this year only a few sections were. As with most venues in New York, it was far too cramped, but in the end it is probably a good thing because walking home I saw that most of the grass on those used patches seemed ruined.
As a final note, I was very surprised by Snapple’s new diet flavors. This stand here passed out pallets of free bottles to the crowd. Maybe it was the food comma I was walking around in, but it was really good. I don’t even drink iced tea, but I went back for seconds. There was a Beer Garden at the event, but with a small gated section more crowded than the Village’s most popular club, you couldn’t have paid me to be there.
Some off shots:
This pretty much sums up the entire day: