Wednesday, May 12, 2010

BABBP (If you don't know, you don't know)

It's mine and you can't have it

As a park, Madison Square has never been much of an attraction for me. Once a Shake Shack outpost opened in my neighborhood, I had even less of a reason to make the trip. But all of that changes for a weekend every year.

The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party is coming. I may not make it every year (thanks, bar exam), but it is certainly on my mind. That and the chocolate show, which comes around during the fall. New York has decent barbecue, and it makes an appearance at the BABBP. However, pitmasters from more well-known barbecue states come up north and bring their smokers with them. Clicking on the interactive map on the website ( gets my mouth watering. And the event is a month away.

The picture above is my fast pass for the event. It costs $125 and has a credit for $100 worth of food and drink, along with a companion pass so that a freeloading guest can join me in line (and pay for half, making for more of a partner than a guest in the experience). Why pay an extra $25 for the pass? The lines can be unbearably long. And with real barbecue taking 12 hours and longer to cook, food runs out. Not like the pitmaster can just throw some more pork shoulder into the smoker when he sees a long line.Weather is also a factor. In the past, it has been hot and humid, and the tents are set up on the periphery of the park where there is no shade. Between the weather, the lines, and the taunting smell of fine barbecue, tempers are truly tested.

Will I have to try all three St. Louis-style rib selections on offer? Perhaps. Will I sample both whole hog plates? Definitely. All three pulled pork choices? No doubt. I may be a little more selective with beef brisket and pass on the mutton. If I don't see some sweet tea, I may resort to a temper tantrum.

The end result? I will be stuffed. I will be happy. I will longingly await the BABBP's return next year.

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