Big Apple BBQ Block Party, June 12, 2005

The (third annual) Big Apple BBQ Block Party was much more manageable compared to last year.

We got to a nearly empty lawn in Madison Square Park at about 12:30 on Sunday. I got a beer in 2 minutes at the north beer garden. After drinking my Brooklyn Pilsner near where I bought it (couldn't go anywhere else to drink it...which is kind of ridiculous), I got on the longest line around, blindly. It turned out to be the one I wanted to get on (about 2 minutes into waiting), which was Big Bob Gibson's Real Pit BBQ.

I was witness to the actual pulling (or more appropriately, pushing) of the pork that would eventually find its way to my stomach. The pork came out of the smoker steaming a little and remarkably tender. The bone eased out with a simple pull and the meat literally fell apart as the pitmaster pushed down on it. I've never seen anything like it. Pulling and tearing led to some chopping and more pulling. And that was that.

The three sandwiches I purchased for $21 were of inconsistent size/amount of pork. I had to ask (with confused looks from the volunteer staff) to have them evened out. The sauces were excellent. I tried a little of both the habenero and the regular tomato sauce. Both very good. The roll was perfect for the meat and sauce. Danna enjoyed hers as much as I did mine and we both felt lucky to have landed on the right line.

The worst part about the BBQ bash is the volunteers. I've never met a more inept group of people in my life. Danny Meyer, if he actually saw who he had hired to put this event on, would be appalled. No one, not one person, could answer any question I overheard. For the question: Are there tickets we need to purchase or is it cash at the front of the line? I heard two different answers...1) I don't know. 2) Yes, you purchase tickets at the booth somewhere over there and then you can wait on line (When asked if this was different than the express line, the individual got an affirmative). For the request, can I get a Fiji Water? They didn't know how much they were selling it for. A call on the walkie talkie resulted in someone replying..."I don't know, you'll have to ask so and so"... Mind you...this was on Sunday, day two. Wow.

Anyway, the service was exactly what you get at the Shake Shack - disappointing for such an easy gig. Very un-Danny Meyer-ish. Fortunately, the day was perfect, if not too hot, and the feeling in the park was awesome. I'm very glad this event takes place each year and was pleased with the redesign and better use of the Park and surrounding streets. Well done. So to speak.

Special thanks and welcome to Bob Gibson and crew for bringing up north some delicious pork.


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