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 Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics)

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billyboy

  • Total Posts: 2363
  • Joined: 1/23/2005
  • Location: New York City, NY
Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Sun, 06/28/09 4:22 PM (permalink)

This year I was only able to attend one of the two days at the Block party in NYC, but I certainly got my fill of tasty barbeque! I had scoped out the menu online well before the event and always in search of something new, my first stop was at Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q from Birmingham, Alabama.
I had never tried pimento cheese before (unless you count the Kraft version in the glass jar) and was eager to experience something new. The smoker. I love the saying on there!
And the T-shirt slogan too!

Look at those beautiful sausages.
And the placard girl drawing in potential customers! I hadn't heard of "pork" hot links before, but it sounded good to me.
My sauced pork hot link with pimento cheese (and jalapenos) and saltine crackers.
And the close-up shot with the cross-section. This was really good. The sausage was spicy, had a nice snap to it and good pork flavor. The sauce was somewhat sweet and complemented it quite well. The pimento cheese was definitely homemade and incredibly good. Creamy, sharp and full of flavor. I could have eaten a bowl full of this with just some saltines and been completely content! The jalapenos certainly ratcheted up the heat factor. The people at Jim 'N Nick's told me what was in it, but I neglected to write it down. I know that there is cheddar cheese and pimentos, anyone know what else usually is in the mix?
Me and fellow Roadfooder Richard Mackiewicz. We exchanged some emails before the event and I met he and his wife, Robin by the picnic tables as I chowed on my sausage and pimento cheese. It was really great to meet them and talk about all kinds of food and New York City. They gave me some great tips on spots to check out in the city. I hope to meet up with them again soon and share some great Roadfood in the city! Thanks for meeting up with me!
The crowd this year. I know a lot is made about the insane amount of people at this event, but for me, it seemed far less crowded than in years past. I don'y know if it was a combination of the economy and the poor weather in recent weeks, but I found it to be rather enjoyable. the lines weren't nearly as long as last year, the temperature was more mild, the skies were overcast and there seemed to be more makeshift tables. People found ledges and railing to eat on and the chaos that seemed to be present in years past was absent on this day.
Barbeque traces its origins back over 100 years (at least) and barbeque as we know it today goes back almost to the turn of the 20th century. Here is a sign that barbeque is integrating with 21st century technology. I'm not sure I'd want to Twitter about barbeque (or anything else for that matter!).
My next stop was Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint from Nashville, Tennessee.
New on the Block Party this year, this place was serving up a whole hog sandwich with sweet pickles.
All of the vendors here use the same potato buns, which serve as a great vehicle for the sandwiches. Soft, yet sturdy enough to stand up to the smoked meats.
Martin's smoker.
A close-up of the whole hog sandwich. This was a really excellent sandwich. Just a light smoke flavor to it, this was really moist and tender. The sauce has a tangy sweetness to it and the slaw was a crunchy vinegar based affair that complemented the meat quite nicely. I was hoping for some brown bark and to mu joy, nestled in the middle was a huge dark crusty piece that I saved for last!
Next up is Pappy's Smokehouse from St. Louis, Missouri.
They were serving up St. Louis style ribs and beans.
I love this shot. The pans on the ends are the onions that have been cooked down to be added to the beans.
Pappy's sauce.
My ribs and beans.
A close-up of the beans. These were very good. Subtle and creamy. The onion flavor really popped and I could have eaten lots more of these beans.
The cross-section of my ribs. These were alright. They were meaty enough and had some smoke to them, but they didn't really move me for some reason. I strike up a good conversation with a man named Bernie after he asked why I was taking pictures of my food. Roadfooding seems to have that effect!
Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees has a some gyms in Manhattan and this is one of them. The window ledges outside of this one made for perfect spots for hungry eater to set up and chow down. The irony of this was not lost on me.
Fourth on the hit parade was Wilson's Barbeque from Fairfield, Connecticut. I had heard about them here on Roadfood and on Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives, so I was eager to sample the goods.
Texas style brisket and pickles sounds good to me.
I was able to get a shot of them slicing up the brisket and this whole one. I love the look of the crust on that.
One of the pitmasters at Wilson's. He was nice enough to pose for me.
Wilson's smoker, BIG MAMA.
My brisket, pickles and sauce.
A close-up of my brisket. I really wanted to like this, but this had to be the worst brisket I have ever tried to eat. The sauce and pickles were alright, but there was so much fat all throughout this meat! Now, I know that brisket is a fatty piece of meat and that fat is an essential part of the cooking process, but I have always maintained that I don't think it should be a huge part of the end result. Maybe on the fringes of the meat, but this fat was spider-webbed throughout the meat making it very tough, chewy and almost impossible to cut through. 

 I managed 3 bites before I gave up and threw the rest away. I just think that good brisket should be almost fall apart and melt in your mouth. This was not. I partly blame myself for not looking closer at the brisket before taking the one I had. I did see some people later on with what looked liker some really great chopped brisket. When I asked where it was from, they told me Wilson's. Had I known, I might have asked for that variation instead. On the plus side, I did have another good conversation, this time with Howie Nielsen, owner of Sticky Lips Pit BBQ in Rochester, NY. I scoped out their menu online and I hope to make it to Rochester to check them out (along with the Rochester Dinosaur!)
My last BBQ stop of the day was for my favorite pulled pork sandwich at Big Bob Gibson's from Decatur, Alabama.
They were serving up the pulled pork shoulder and coleslaw.
And they had their new book on sale.
Pitmaster Chris Lilly pulling and saucing the pork.
Another one of the staffers pulling the pork. Look at that amazing bark!!
Don't get in her way while she's chopping that pork!
Don McLemore and a friend of the family posing for the cameras. I had a shot of them both looking at me, but it didn't some out so well. The gentlemen on the right said he is a friend of the family and follows them around when he can, helping out. What a great tradition they have!
Their traditional and white sauces.
My pulled pork sandwich with mustard slaw.
And the same with sauce. This is definitely the yardstick by which I measure all other pulled pork sandwiches. The incredible balance of flavors and textures in here amazes me each time! Moist, tender, piggy, smoky, crusty, chewy, just perfect! This is the one place that I MUST stop every year.
After BBG's, I has reached my BBQ limit for the day! I spied this free Sno-Kone stand and got in line.
The sun had come out by this point and it started to get fairly warm. A close-up of the machine.
I had a Peach iced tea sno-kone and it was very refreshing. Not the same as a sno-kone with the sweet syrup, but satisfying nonetheless.
Lots of people found some relaxation by setting up chairs in the fountain.
Of course, I HAD to have a Concrete from the Shake Shack! I stood in the larger than usual line for about 20 minutes.

I managed to zoom in on this sweet doggie...
and get a shot of this Dachshund close by.
A close-up of the Shake Shack sign.
The custard calendar. The first chance I have, I am all over that Coffee and Donuts custard!
My Concrete Jungle custard. Vanilla custard with fresh bananas, peanut butter and hot fudge. I absolutely love the mouthfeel of this custard. Very rich, silky and it just fills up the mouth. There were lots of banana chunks in here along with gobs of peanut butter. I didn't really pick up the hot fudge flavor though. Word to the wise though, if your concrete comes in two cups as mine did, make sure you hold on to BOTh before trying to turn it upside down ala Ted Drewes. I almost dropped it on the ground! That would have been a very sad moment.
There was lots of great blues music playing throughout the day and this man, Bill Sims Jr. was really great!
One of my favorite moments of the day came when I was watching Ms. Sims play and this little kid down in front started dancing to the music. He was jamming and strumming his armpit like it was a guitar. He definitely entertained the crowd! That's all for this year's event. I can't wait for next year! Hope to see you there!


"Eating is an adventure, enjoy the ride!"- billyboy , 2009




<message edited by billyboy on Sun, 06/28/09 4:26 PM>
 
#1
    Davydd

    • Total Posts: 6222
    • Joined: 4/24/2005
    • Location: Tonka Bay, MN
    Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Sun, 06/28/09 5:00 PM (permalink)
    Billyboy,

    Great report and great photos. You're on top of your game as usual.
     
    #2
      TnTinCT

      Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Sun, 06/28/09 9:16 PM (permalink)
      Billyboy - thanks for another great look at the fabulous food opportunities in NYC! We went to the B.A.B.B.Q a few years back, and the crowds were ridiculous - they actually looked reasonable from the pics you posted.
       
      #3
        Soccer862923

        • Total Posts: 208
        • Joined: 2/17/2009
        • Location: Dayton, OH
        Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Sun, 06/28/09 9:16 PM (permalink)
        Awesome report.

        I had Pappy's back a few months ago and found it to immediately skyrocket to the top of my list as favorite BBQ. I saw the owner and mentioned that I had saw him on Man vs. Food and he let me come in the back and see the famous smoker and get my picture with it. He also gave me a half rack on the house because I had traveled so far.


         
        #4
          will_work_4_bbq

          • Total Posts: 399
          • Joined: 1/11/2006
          • Location: Birmingham, AL
          Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Sun, 06/28/09 9:45 PM (permalink)
          What a wonderful report!  I'm lucky to live near two of those fabulous bbq places.  Great pics - made me hungry!

          Just made pimento cheese tonight:

          One pound of sharp cheddar, grated
          7 oz jar of diced pimentoes - drain but save a little juice for the mix
          Take a fork and mash these two really well.  Add mayo - good mayo like Dukes, reserved pimento juice, hot sauce, onion powder, and celery seed to suit your personal  taste and texture.

          You can get fancy and add pecans and chopped peppers or cream cheese, and what have you, but the above is the classic recipe
           
          #5
            will_work_4_bbq

            • Total Posts: 399
            • Joined: 1/11/2006
            • Location: Birmingham, AL
            Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Sun, 06/28/09 9:47 PM (permalink)
            Oops!  Almost forgot - plenty of black  pepper!
             
            #6
              JRPfeff

              • Total Posts: 2368
              • Joined: 12/1/2006
              • Location: Pewaukee, WI & Fuquay-Varina, NC
              Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Sun, 06/28/09 10:57 PM (permalink)
              TnTinCT


              ... We went to the B.A.B.B.Q a few years back, and the crowds were ridiculous - they actually looked reasonable from the pics you posted.


              Ha!  When I looked at the pictures I was starting to feel claustrophobic.

              billyboy - Outstanding report.  I liked seeing that Chris Lilly is more than a frontman and really does run his pit.
               
              #7
                leethebard

                • Total Posts: 6080
                • Joined: 8/16/2007
                • Location: brick, NJ
                Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Mon, 06/29/09 3:19 AM (permalink)
                What a great,detailed report. Thanks for all the time and effort to post this wonderful picture essay. Yes, New York has it all!!!!
                 
                #8
                  Nancypalooza

                  • Total Posts: 3778
                  • Joined: 6/17/2004
                  • Location: Columbia, SC
                  Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Mon, 06/29/09 9:40 AM (permalink)
                  Excellent as always billy--you're such an enthusiastic BBQ guy!  You should get down here one of these days and do a tour of some Southern joints.  Seriously, your head would explode.  :)

                  Jim & Nick's is a chain here, and I don't hate their food--it's very similar to Sticky Fingers--but as most places like that, it's kind of expensive for what you get.  You can get better barbecue here for less.  They do seem to pay attention to the details though.

                  Great picture illustrating the fatty brisket--I can't imagine that it was real good.  Nice that they made their own pickles though.
                   
                  Thanks again for taking us along, and report back when you've had that coffee & donuts custard.  :)
                   
                  #9
                    Buffalo Tarheel

                    Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Mon, 06/29/09 12:24 PM (permalink)
                    Billyboy,
                     
                    Great report as always.  That pimiento cheese picture has me ready to try and make a batch.  Hope to see you here at the Buffalo Roadfood tour and starting off at Dinosaur BBQ in Rochester.
                     
                    #10
                      scovig

                      • Total Posts: 22
                      • Joined: 9/21/2006
                      • Location: Bristol, CT
                      Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Mon, 06/29/09 12:45 PM (permalink)
                      I attended both days of the BABBP this year and while Big Bob Gibson's was good my friends and I all agreed that on this occasion Ubon's Chamapions Choice BBQ from Yazoo City Mississippi was the superior pulled pork. The smoke flavor permeated the meat so deeply the their delicious sauce was hardly needed and the bark was delicious. Another favorite were the baby back ribs at 17th Street BBQ (home of bbq legend Mike Mills). The ribs were the best I've had on Saturday leding my friends and I to plan to go back for seconds on Sunday. Sadly they weren't as good on day 2. The portions were smaller and the ribs not as tender leading me to believe that they weren't in the smoker as long as they had been on day 1. The lines were the longest of any of the establishments on Saturday so they may have had to rush through the smoking process on Sunday to meet the demand. All in all it was a great time and I am already looking forward to next year.
                       
                      #11
                        ScreamingChicken

                        • Total Posts: 4715
                        • Joined: 11/5/2004
                        • Location: Stoughton, WI
                        Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Mon, 06/29/09 1:01 PM (permalink)
                        Billy, at Wilson's booth could you choose between flat and point or was it take-what-you're-given?  Looks like you might've gotten some point that would've been better suited for burnt ends.

                        I'll take a hot link, please!

                        Brad
                         
                        #12
                          carolina bob

                          • Total Posts: 3420
                          • Joined: 1/1/2005
                          • Location: Chicagoland
                          Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Mon, 06/29/09 3:36 PM (permalink)
                          A terrific report and photos, billyboy. That brisket at Wilson's is one lousy looking piece of meat. They really ought to be ashamed of themselves for serving something like this.
                           
                          #13
                            agnesrob

                            • Total Posts: 1790
                            • Joined: 6/4/2006
                            • Location: Park Ridge, NJ
                            Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Mon, 06/29/09 5:21 PM (permalink)
                            billyboy,  I want to say you have outdone yourself but I know with you there is always another wonderful trip report in the making! Now that JohnA has showed me the way to photograph the food I cook, you are showing me the way to photograph my food experiences. I am hoping to show everyone some soon. Thanks for posting your food trips! They are enjoyed!
                            <message edited by agnesrob on Mon, 06/29/09 5:22 PM>
                             
                            #14
                              catherine s

                              • Total Posts: 36
                              • Joined: 1/6/2009
                              • Location: uniontown, PA
                              Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Mon, 06/29/09 6:22 PM (permalink)
                              Billyboy - thank you for taking us along.  the photos make you feel
                              like you are there. 
                              the concrete jungle custard - wow.
                              the report is appreciated.
                              thanks again.
                               
                              #15
                                Richard Mackiewicz

                                • Total Posts: 25
                                • Joined: 9/19/2000
                                • Location: ,
                                Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Tue, 06/30/09 4:58 PM (permalink)

                                Bill, it was great to meet you! Me and Robin loved the pics! How the hell did you go to sooo many stands? We were done after 4! Big Bob's and 17th. St. were dope! I got to starve myself next time we hook up.  Think the crowd would like a review of Carmine's? My son is in town and next weekend we are going to Tony's DiNapoli's on 43 st. AFTER we hit up a great Dim Sum place on Chatham Sq. See ya soon!
                                 
                                #16
                                  Baah Ben

                                  • Total Posts: 3026
                                  • Joined: 11/30/2001
                                  • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
                                  Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Tue, 06/30/09 6:47 PM (permalink)
                                  Nobody can visit as many places as Billy in one day! 

                                  Billy you are truly amazing and this site's "go to guy" in NYC..That's for sure.  Thanks for another of your wonderful reports and your continued efforts for those of us, who can't be at all these wonderul events in NYC.

                                  Regarding the brisket that was not any good.  Just wondering, if the problem might that it was not cooked long enough?   Anyone? 

                                  I was at Big Bob Gibson's in Alabama.  It was probably the third best "Q' I had ever had at that time; it was 3 years ago..I had the ribs.
                                  <message edited by Baah Ben on Tue, 06/30/09 6:49 PM>
                                   
                                  #17
                                    ChiTownDiner

                                    Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Wed, 07/1/09 10:09 AM (permalink)
                                    billyboy -

                                    Great report!  Awesome pictures!  I am addicted to pimento cheese also and especially love Martin's potato Rolls.  Greast stuff...the brisket begs the question if it was not cooked long enough.
                                     
                                    #18
                                      Slim Strummer

                                      • Total Posts: 233
                                      • Joined: 3/23/2006
                                      • Location: Lexington, MA
                                      Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Wed, 07/1/09 11:26 AM (permalink)
                                      Nice report.

                                      Question:  Did Big Bob Gibson do any chicken so the white sauce could be sampled (I have been obsessed with the concept of white sauce for years)?

                                      Comment:  That brisket looked AWFUL.  I mean, it is easy to get brisket wrong, but that cut looked atrocious.  It gets to the point where I am scared to order it because it can be so dry and beaten.
                                       
                                      #19
                                        billyboy

                                        • Total Posts: 2363
                                        • Joined: 1/23/2005
                                        • Location: New York City, NY
                                        Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Wed, 07/1/09 12:51 PM (permalink)
                                        Hey everyone, thanks for all of the great comments!

                                        TnT, the crowds (at least on Sunday) were far less than the ones I encountered last year.  I heard that it had rained on Saturday and was supposed to on Sunday as well.  Less people and overcast skies made it more enjoyable than last year.  The sun did come out and it did warm up later in the day.

                                        Soccer, love that picture!  I'll have to tape that episode when it comes on again.  I'd love to get a closer look at Pappy's.

                                        Wwfb,  I just found a postcard that I topok from Jim 'N Nick's stand and it said that the pimento cheese was just three ingredients:  grated cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers and Duke's mayonnaise.  I could have just gone to town on that stuff and the saltines all day!
                                         
                                        JRP, I've met Chris Lilly a few times.  Just short conversations really, but he always came off as a real, genuine nice guy to me.
                                         
                                        Nancy, I do love my barbeque.  Chris Ayers has been wanting me to get on the barbeque trail and I hope to do so this year or maybe in the spring.  There is so much out there I have yet to try.  I'm hoping to hit the Carolinas as I'm a HUGE pulled pork fan!  I had afeeling you'd like that "donuts" reference!

                                        Brad, you could choose the brisket you wanted but at the time I was there I didn't know they had different cuts and I didn't look as closely at the ones they had available as maybe I should have.

                                        Agnes, I'm actually working on another Tastes of NYC report and trying to update the cupcake tour.  Can't wait to see your pictures!

                                        Richie, It was really only four stands since I didn't eat much of the brisket.  At least that's how I rationalizing it to myself!  There is already a review of Carmine's on the site.  Check it out and report back!! 

                                        Baah Ben, I think the Sterns, Buffetbuster and Ayersian may have me beat by a belly!  I have wondered what it would be like to go on the road and eat with the Sterns, then I read "Two For the Road".  I don't think I'd be up for that much of a challenge! 

                                        CTD, so great to see you back on the boards and chowing down with Ayersian!!!  Those potato rolls really complement smoked meat oh so well.

                                        To CTD and Baah Ben, I'm thinking it couldn't have been cooked enough otherwise the fat would have broken down more.  Some blogs I have read about the Block Party said that some places had gotten slammed with people on Saturday and maybe they cut back the time in the smoker to prevent further bottlenecking.  just my 2 cents.

                                        Slim, I think BBG only had the pulled pork (and it was freakin' sweet!-as Peter Griffin would say).  I did try the white sauce on it and it was okay, but it does seem as though it would be a more natural pairing with chicken.
                                         
                                        #20
                                          Baah Ben

                                          • Total Posts: 3026
                                          • Joined: 11/30/2001
                                          • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
                                          Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Wed, 07/1/09 1:12 PM (permalink)
                                          Billy - That well could have been what happened...On FoodTV, they refer to briskets being cooked slowly for as much as 22 hours.  When I saw all that fat in the grain of the meat (not on the outside) that's the first thing I thought.
                                           
                                          #21
                                            sk bob

                                            • Total Posts: 1801
                                            • Joined: 12/29/2005
                                            • Location: South Daytona, FL
                                            Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Wed, 07/1/09 7:57 PM (permalink)
                                            great report.
                                            $8.00 for those small sandwichs?
                                            thats NY for you.
                                             
                                            #22
                                              mlinkinhoker

                                              • Total Posts: 183
                                              • Joined: 9/13/2005
                                              • Location: Brentwood (Nashville, TN
                                              • Roadfood Insider
                                              Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Wed, 07/1/09 7:58 PM (permalink)
                                              Great report.  Martin's is just down the street from me and I love his stuff.  However, my hero was there - Ed Mitchell with The Pit.  I just love eating the crispy skin from his whole hog bbq and his vinegar sauce.  And as for Big Bob Gibson's - I LOVE their smoked chicken with the white sauce.  I keep a couple of bottles of it but the smoked chicken they do is great - actually makes me like chicken again.
                                               
                                              #23
                                                badbyron722

                                                • Total Posts: 307
                                                • Joined: 5/25/2009
                                                • Location: Spartanburg, SC
                                                Re:Report from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2009 in NYC (with pics) Fri, 07/3/09 12:42 AM (permalink)
                                                Looks good even for a southern boy
                                                 
                                                #24
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