This year, 15 different pitmasters from all over the United States will be in attendance. Many of these folks have been at the event before, including mainstays such as Billy Durney of Hometown Bar-B-Que in Brooklyn, Chris Lilly from Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Alabama, and Scott Roberts of Salt Lick BBQ in Texas.
Jonathan and Justin Fox, from Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q in Atlanta, are joining the event for the first time. Rodney Scott of Scott’s Bar-B-Que in South Carolina, who has participated in the past but didn't attend last year, will be around this year for the festivities.
Let's admit it, your mouth is already watering and now you want to know how this year's event is going to work. Here are some things you probably want to know:
When and where is it?
The BABBP will be held on Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11. Each day, vendors are available and selling food between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. (But you should go early because the top vendors will sell out early.)
As usual, the event is held at Madison Square Park in Manhattan, with the surrounding streets next to the park blocked off with barricades for vendors and event organizers. Madison Avenue, from East 23rd Street through East 27th Street will be blocked off. Also, East 26th Street, from 5th Avenue through Park Avenue, will also be blocked off for the BABBP.
How much is it?
It doesn't cost anything to actually attend the event, but it's gonna cost some dough if you want to buy food and drinks. You can just show up, wait in line for a vendor or two, eat your food, and then leave. To get a more immersive experience, there are different tiers for access and buying food.
The most popular option for passes in the FastPass, which costs $150. This works for both Saturday and Sunday and it includes $100 towards food, beverage, and merchandise from all the vendors. You also get access to "express lanes" for both you and one guest and a swag bag. This means the FastPass is ideal for two people who want to eat a lot of BBQ on Saturday and Sunday. Since the pass includes $100 in food and drinks, you are effectively paying $50 for faster line access, which definitely comes in handy when the lines get long (and the lines will get long.)
The event also offers up $275 VIP pass options, with a Saturday VIP Pass and a Sunday VIP Pass. These passes give you a few things: 1) a FastPass with $100 in food/drink/merch credit, 2) a companion pass for a guest, 3) a swag bag, and 4) access to a special blocked-off section of Madison Square Park for just VIP Pass holders that has an open bar, shade, and select BBQ bites. One pass only gives access to the VIP area for one day. This means buying a VIP pass is ideal for two people who want to spend one full day at the event and have access to shade, seating, an open bar, and plenty of BBQ.
You can buy tickets for all levels here: https://bigapplebbq.frontgatetickets.com/
What if it rains?
The Big Apple Barbecue is rain or shine, so buy your tickets knowing that you might be eating delicious BBQ while also holding an umbrella.
What pitmasters will be there this year?
Here's the full list of the 15 masters that will be smoking insane amounts of meat at this year's event:
- Jean-Paul Bourgeois — Blue Smoke, New York, NY
- Joe Duncan — Baker’s Ribs, Dallas, TX
- Billy Durney — Hometown Bar-B-Que, Brooklyn, NY
- Jonathan Fox & Justin Fox — Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, Atlanta, GA
- Ash Fulk — Hill Country, New York, NY
- Sam Jones — Skylight Inn / Sam Jones BBQ, Ayden, NC
- Chris Lilly — Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, Decatur, AL
- Pat Martin — Martin’s Bar-B-Que, Nashville, TN
- Mike Mills & Amy Mills — 17th St. BBQ, Murphysboro, IL
- Gary Roark & Leslie Roark Scott — Ubon’s Barbeque, Yazoo City, MS
- Scott Roberts — Salt Lick BBQ, Driftwood, TX
- Drew Robinson — Jim ’N Nicks Bar-B-Q, Birmingham, AL
- Rodney Scott — Scott’s Bar-B-Que, Hemingway, SC
- John Stage — Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, New York, NY
- John Wheeler — Memphis Barbecue Co., Horn Lake, MS
The official Big Apple Barbecue Block Party website has a great FAQ page for any other questions you might have.