All tickets go on sale today for the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, which, now in its 13th year, will once again smoke out Madison Square Park on the weekend of June 13 and 14. Pit masters from across the city and the nation will be cooking a variety of different barbecue styles. Although it should be noted that there is still a glaring omission in the lineup: there is no representative of Kansas City-style barbecue, arguably the most influential form.
But almost everything else you could hope for will be there, and the pit master lists reads like a future hall of fame: Mike Mills of 17th Street Bar & Grill, Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue and Sam Jones of Skylight Inn will all be returning. There is, however, one notable absence: long-time participant Ed Mitchell will not be cooking this year. Mitchell is famous for his North Carolina whole hog and always had the longest lines at past events.
Local heroes John Stage of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Charles Grund, Jr. of Hill Country, Billy Durney of Hometown and Jean-Paul Bourgeois of Blue Smoke will be flying the NYC flag, but Delaney of BrisketTown has opted to not attend this year.
The event is free, with food sold by the plate (usually a piece of meat or a sandwich, plus a side or two). Last year plates were $9, but the prices this year have yet to be announced. As of last year, credit cards are accepted, following the many complaints about the cash-only policy of years past. One major change is the elimination the "fastpass," which gave holders a special line and a set amount of food for around $125. There is still, however, a VIP pass for a whopping $275, which eliminates the line entirely and offers all sorts of amenities.
If the price seems egregious it is important to note that the Big Apple Barbecue is a charity benefiting the Madison Square Park Conservatory. The event was originally established by Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group, but is now managed by an Austin, TX based event company and celebrity chef Tim Love, who will be cooking at this years event.
Here is the complete list:
Jean-Paul Bourgeois: Blue Smoke (New York, NY)
Billy Durney: Hometown Bar-B-Que (Red Hook, NY)
Mike Emerson: Pappy’s Smokehouse (St. Louis, MO)
Charles Grund, Jr.: Hill Country Barbecue Market (New York, NY)
Jimmy Hagood: BlackJack Barbecue (Charleston, SC)
Samuel Jones: Skylight Inn (Ayden, NC)
Chris Lilly: Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q (Decatur, AL)
Tim Love: The Woodshed Smokehouse (Dallas/Fort Worth, TX)
Patrick Martin: Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint (Nashville, TN)
Mike Mills: 17th Street Bar & Grill (Murphysboro, IL)
Wayne Mueller: Louie Mueller Barbecue (Taylor, TX)
Brad Orrison: The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint (Ocean Springs, MS)
Drew Robinson: Jim N’ Nick’s Bar-B-Q (Birmingham, AL)
Scott Roberts: The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que (Driftwood, TX)
Garry Roark: Ubon’s Barbeque of Yazoo (Yazoo City, MS)
John Stage: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (New York, NY)
John Wheeler: Memphis Barbecue Co. (Horn Lake, MS)