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Jimmy Carbone has long been one of the top food event organizers in the New York City. He’s responsible for well-attended BBQ events like Brisket King (held each spring) and Pig Island (held each fall), as well as many other events throughout the city. You may also know him from his weekly radio show Beer Sessions Radio on the Heritage Radio Network.
While Jimmy has been in recovery from some serious health issues, he nonetheless agreed to sit down with me earlier this week at the original Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue in the East Village so we could chat about future BBQ events in NYC. (You can donate to Jimmy’s GoFundMe here if you want to help.)
Jimmy confirmed to NYC BBQ that he is still working on new food events despite his ailments. He said that both Brisket King and Pig Island are officially happening next year, and he’s also planning to host additional events next year at Biba in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Here are a few more insightful Q&A’s from our conversation:
Sean Ludwig: How has your recovery been?
Jimmy Carbone: I’m doing great. I’m making monthly measurable improvements. Spine injuries are crazy and unpredictable. I’ve been told it will take a year and half to two years to make a full recovery. I know I’m not gonna be the same guy that I was, but I’ve accepted that.
SL: What’s next year looking like for you on the events front?
JC: The past two years, I wasn’t doing well and I had to scale back a lot. I’ve always had good support at the events and they are the reason we can keep going. I am definitely doing Brisket King in April. We’ll push it hard after the New Year. I’m also confident Pig Island is going to happen again. They are both labors of love and I’m thankful have support from all the chefs.
SL: The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party is a big question mark now that it needs to find a new venue and potentially restructure the event. What do you think about it where it’s at?
JC: It’s always been hard to do big events in New York. The Big Apple Barbecue worked because it evolved organically from Danny Meyer opening Blue Smoke in that neighborhood, and starting out as a fundraiser. It’s not something that typically happens. I love homegrown New York festivals, so I hope the Big Apple Barbecue continues in some way.
SL: If you could create a new version of the Big Apple Barbecue that was free of any baggage, what would it look like?
JC: First off, they’d have to scale it back. New York is the city of all-inclusive ticketed events and I think a lot of people like to go to that style of event. Everyone would get some drinks and everyone would get some food. I think people would want it and people would pay for it. Maybe you have ancillary events as well at places like Hometown or Fletcher’s.
SL: Events like Brisket King and Pig Island are very specific kinds of events in size and scope. What’s your philosophy on building those events?
JC: I never go for the very top chefs. There are a thousand good chefs working in New York, and probably way more than that. These guys and girls all want to do things. Every time they are part of a new restaurant or a new concept, they need to go to the right event to showcase. That’s what we try to do. For example, Randall’s Barbecue came to Brisket King last year to show off their stuff. Hometown, Delaney Barbecue (RIP), and Mighty Quinn’s all won and gained a lot of exposure at Brisket King.
Thanks for the great chat and insights Jimmy. We are all rooting for your full recovery, and we can’t wait for Brisket King in April.
Founder, NYC BBQ
EAT ALL ABOUT IT
Here are the top BBQ and food stories in New York area this week:
Red White and Que Smokehouse (seen above), one of the best BBQ joints in all of New Jersey, was featured recently on the Kevin’s BBQ Joints podcast. It’s a great chance to hear the BBQ origin story of owners Dan and Katie Misuraca, and their ups and downs of owning a joint.
Unfortunately, one of Manhattan’s barbecue joints, Jax BBQ, was featured in Eater New York editor Robert Sietsema’s list of 10 Worst Dishes of 2018. They were pinged for their “Texas Links” sausage, which thankfully appear to no longer be on the menu.
Randall's Barbecue on the Lower East Side just changed its hours so it can be open for lunch seven days a week. If you go, be sure to try to the smoked duck or the Indian lamb shank.
Manhattan’s Blue Smoke announced that they are offering a limited number of holiday Honey Bourbon Smoked Boneless Ham through Goldbelly, so anyone get can one no matter where you are in the United States.
Bluff City BBQ, a solid barbecue joint in Montclair, New Jersey, closed last month. “My wife and our kids worked there, and we had a great time,” owner Scott Hermo told New Jersey Monthly. “In the end, though, we became a spot for larger groups to celebrate special occasions on the weekends. We were never able to attract a large enough core of repeat customers.”
Here are the top BBQ (and related) food events coming soon to the New York metro area:
December 7: Tonight is one of the final Smorgasburg x VICE Night Markets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The market has live music, stuff for sale, and 10 awesome food vendors including Carnal (selling short rib burgers cooked in bone marrow fat, slow-cooked pork belly, and more), Sons of Thunder (who sells amazing modern hot dogs and poke), and more. Buy tickets / RSVP for free here.
December 16: Kimchi Smoke, a great joint in Westwood, New Jersey, is hosting two special “Omakase Sessions.” Pitmaster and chef Robert Austin Cho will serve up specials and new menu items during this intimate and fun event. Buy tickets here.
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.