More Pork Than Any Stomach Can Handle

This weekend was New York City’s annual Big Apple Barbecue, which is now in its eighth year. The festival, which runs for two days, brings together live music, cooking seminars, and of course, the greatest barbecue meat from across the United States. This year’s festival was the biggest yet, and included restaurants from eighteen different locations. Check out the mouth-watering glory below!

The festival takes place at Madison Square Park, between 5th Ave. and Madison Ave. on 23rd through 26th St. Every year, somewhere around 100,000 hungry New Yorkers and tourists take a bite at the event.

The guys from Dinosaur BBQ, which is only a few blocks away from our Alma Mater, prepare Pulled Pork Sandwiches by grilling up these gigantic Pork Shoulders. The outsides are burnt to a crisp, but the juicy insides make the sandwiches impossible to resist, especially when served up with a good hearty portion of beans.

True Southern tradition was found at The Pit, coming all the way from North Carolina. A whole pig is taken, the bones removed, and then the grillers throw what’s left on massive grilling stations. Once it’s done, these boys above go to town to tear anything and everything they can get from the carcass, and then douse it in BBQ sauce before serving it up on a sandwich.

Nothing gets a good kick into your system like a spicy grilled sausage. The pitmasters at Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q from Alabama grill more sausages than are possible to count, and serve them up with pimento cheese, as well as some saltines to help that mouth recover from the fiery spice your mouth will be feeling.

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The backbone (pun intended) of any BBQ is a good heart portion of Baby Back Ribs. The Midwest went head to head along Madison Ave, as each tried to master the art of juicy and messy pork. 17th St. Bar & Grill (left), coming from Murphysbor, Illinois, offered up classic Baby Back Ribs, dousing them in BBQ sauce with what only could be described as mops. The Checkered Pig (right), hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, offered their own style of cooking, using a raised grill to cook the meat slower, and then smothering the ribs in a St. Louis style sauce, giving the ribs a sweet and spicy edge.

Dishes at the Big Apple BBQ were set at $8 for a decently-sized portion, a not-completely  modest price. However, worries about pricing were forgotten as soon as one took a bite into the juicy and wondrous meats the BBQ had to offer. One of the best came from the New York Classic restaurant Blue Smoke, which offered a pair of juicy Texas Salt and Pepper Ribs (left). Instead of covering the ribs in BBQ sauce, Blue Smoke prefers to let you really sink into the quality meat on hand, dry rubbing them with only a bit of spice, and never letting their meat go dry. The pickled veggies, nicely dashed with a sweet and sour tang, complimented the ribs.

Ubon’s Barbecue of Yazoo, hailing from where else but Yazoo City, Missouri, took their hand at preparing a hearty pulled-pork shoulder sandwich (right) with a tangy coleslaw on the side. While the pork was pretty standard, if not a little dry, the barbecue sauce served up upon the ribs gave an excellent and sweet cover. The standout though was the coleslaw, mixed in with relish and a little black pepper, giving a truly knockout combo of flavors.

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One of the fine grillers from Rack & Soul (just five blocks south on 109th!) poses with one of his fine set of Baby Back Ribs. If you’ve gotten through all these photos and aren’t hungry by now, then something is very very wrong. Happy grilling y’all.

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Peter Labuza CC’11

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