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As the year closes, I want to quickly reflect on some of the biggest things that happened in the NYC barbecue scene in 2018 and how these things have reshaped the barbecue landscape in New York.
Here are few of the biggest highlights from 2018, in case you missed them:
March: The first-ever North Jersey BBQ Showcase was held at the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall, showing Jersey has a burgeoning BBQ scene that's worth paying close attention to.
April: Brisket King, one of the most important annual NYC BBQ events, had its first international pitmaster take the crown, Lawrence La Pianta of Toronto's Cherry Street Bar-B-Que.
June: The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party was held for the last time in Madison Square Park. It has attracted famous pitmasters from around the country (see them above) and has historically been NYC's largest barbecue event.
August: Randall's Barbecue opened on the Lower East Side, bringing a mix of hyper-local tastes and quality barbecue to the neighborhood.
October: The first issue of NYC BBQ Weekly was published, making it easy for all Northeast BBQ fans to see what's new and what events to attend. Additionally, good Brooklyn BBQ joint The Smoke Joint closed, showing winds of change in the local barbecue scene.
While all of these stories are meaningful in some way, the most consequential story of the year is the end of the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party as we know it. With the event no longer at Madison Square Park, the event will need to change to survive, and it's unclear if it will still be New York's biggest BBQ event when (or if) it returns in 2019.
It's a little sad that we are going to see some big changes in 2019, but on the other hand, we will certainly be seeing some new restaurants and potentially new events. For example, Billy Durney of Hometown Bar-B-Que has two new restaurants scheduled to open in January, and Josh Bowen of John Brown Smokehouse will likely be opening a new Texas-style BBQ joint in early 2019.
I will not be publishing a newsletter next Friday, but will return to your inboxes on Friday, January 4. I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a very happy new year. See you in 2019!
Founder, NYC BBQ
EAT ALL ABOUT IT
Here are the top BBQ and food stories in New York area this week:
The owners of acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant Madame Vo are opening a new Vietnamese barbecue joint in the East Village called Madame Vo BBQ. It's sure to be a fun place to try some crazy good meats. The centerpiece of the menu is the “bo 7 mon,” a $59, seven-course beef feast that includes carpaccio salad, oxtail congee, meatballs, and beef tongue.
In his roundup of best dishes he ate in 2018, Ryan Sutton of Eater NY spotlighted a bunch of meaty delights. Two menu items of note are the flame-grilled chicken (and other smoked meats) at Glady’s Jerk Center and the quadruple-fried chicken at David Chang's Momofuku Ko, which is just $6 at the expensive joint.
Gothamist's Scott Lynch rounded up his favorite bites of 2018 as well. His list includes the decadent patty melt at MeMe's in Prospect Heights and the burger at Madcap Cafe in Carroll Gardens.
East Village rum bar Cienfuegos is closing on New Year's Eve after eight years in the neighborhood. Owner Ravi DeRossi will be turning the space into Honeybee’s, a vegan barbecue spot.
Here are the top BBQ (and related) food events coming soon to the New York metro area:
December 22 and 23: Finish up some of your holiday shopping (and eating) at the Nacho Muthas Holiday Popup at the Paramus Park Mall in New Jersey. Kimchi Smoke (seen above at a previous event), Empanada Mania, and others will be there serving food and good cheer. More info here.
January 26: The eighth annual Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festivaltakes place on the west side of Manhattan. It will feature two sessions, with the first (The Bacon and The Beast) happening from 12 to 4 p.m. and the second (The Whole Hog Pickin’ Session) happening from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. More than 60 beers, 40 bourbons, and several BBQ vendors will be available. Buy tickets here.
January 26: The third annual Best of Brooklyn Food & Beer Festivalwill take place in Industry City, Brooklyn. It will feature a collection of Brooklyn's best craft brews, food tastings from more than 20 top chefs, music from curated DJs, and more. Early bird tickets are available now.
January 26: The 11th Annual Cassoulet Cookoff will take place at Biba in Williamsburg, Brooklyn from 1 to 4 p.m. Cassoulet is the ultimate winter dish. Typically it is a slow-cooked casserole containing meat, pork skin, and white beans, but here it will be made in many different ways. The event will include 10+ cassoulets and a wide selection of cider, craft beer, wine, and whiskey. Buy tickets here.