Not Loving The Big Apple BBQ Block Party or Robert Sietsema Either
The Annual Big Apple Barbeque Block Party line up has been announced and the pit masters selected and The Village Voice gets all snarky. Don't you just love it?
Robert Sietsema takes the time to rate the barbecue as presented by the various pitmasters and frankly, he doesn't have much love in his heart. According to Mr. Sietsema, the Que at the BABBP is second rate at best. Only NY's own Hill Country gets any respect which isn't too surprising as Mr. Sietsema claims."Texas barbecue is my benchmark."
It's an interesting look at the BABBP, but I feel Mr. Sietsema misses the point entirely. There's more to barbecue than "Texas." Ribs, pork shoulder, whole hog, sausage, and the lofty beef brisket, all represent barbecue and all deserve a place at any barbecue party. Kudos for Danny Meyer and Blue Smoke, who organize the event, for recognizing that. They bring in some of the legends of the barbecue world and give them the chance to strut in NYC.
Unfortunately, Mr. Sietsema is partially right, much of the que at the block party is second rate, but it's not the fault of the pitmasters. Frankly, the BABBP has grown too large for its own good. Too many people attend. There is no possible way that the pitmasters can keep up with the crowds and produce the quality barbecue for which they are rightly famous. Trust me, I've been on both sides on the lines.
So would I stay home? Well, yes and no. If you've never been, go. It's much like Times Square on New Year's Eve; every New Yorker should do it once. It's an experience unto itself. But if you're looking for some really good barbecue that day, go to RUB. It's nearby and you can experience the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, but eat like a king.
One last thing, in his snarky post, Mr. Sietsema takes a shot at the competition cooks. He states, "I remain unimpressed by barbecue competition champions, who win by slipping some blackberry jam into their marinade, or by relying on gloppy sauces." Damn - Bobby, when's the last time you came out to a competition barbecue? I used to trust your opinion on food, but this uneducated statement makes me wonder. Blackberry jam and relying on gloppy sauces went out with bell bottoms. "I'm a barbecue traditionalist, and prefer old-fashioned places using time-honored barbecue styles" as well, but get your head out of your ass and wake up and smell the smoke, there's more to barbecue than Texas style brisket.