The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party (BABBP) is New York's biggest BBQ event and each year it attracts thousands of carnivores from the tri-state area. This year, the 16th annual BABBP will see the return of many of BBQ's biggest names and pitmasters from NYC and around the country.
Notably, Rodney Scott from South Carolina, who just won a coveted James Beard award, will be here serving up his top-notch St. Louis-style ribs and coleslaw. And you'll have a chance to sample the out-of-this-world pulled pork from Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que and the sumptuous Eastern North Carolina whole hog from legendary pitmaster Ed Mitchell.
If you're new to the BABBP or want a refresher, here are the most important questions and answers you may want to know.
When and where?
The 2018 Big Apple Barbecue Block Party will take place Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10 at Madison Square Park in Manhattan. Each day, vendors will be selling food between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Vendors will sell out, so don't go late.)
How much is it and how do I get tickets?
The event is free to attend, but the food, drinks, and merch will cost you. One BBQ plate is $12, one side is $6, and desserts range from $4 to $8. Many folks show up and wait in one to two lines to try a few items and then leave, but there are options if you want a bigger, richer experience.
First, the event will again feature the FastPass, which costs $125. It includes $100 for food, beverages, and merchandise from all the vendors and lets you access "express lanes" so you won't wait as long as regular attendees. You can use your FastPass for two people, and when it's used like that, it's totally worth the price.
Second, the event also has a Saturday VIP package and a Sunday VIP package. One VIP pass costs $275. It gives you and a companion $100 worth of food and drinks with a FastPass and gives you access to a shade-filled area that has an open bar and more food. These passes will set you back a bit, but if you are a serious BBQ aficionado, you might want to splurge on these, especially as you'll likely be splitting the cost between two people.
What pitmasters are going to be there and what will they be serving?
Here is the full list of BBQ joints, the pitmasters representing them, and the food they'll be serving on both days:
17th St. BBQ (Murphysboro, IL) — Mike Mills & Amy Mills — Apple City Barbecue Baby Back Ribs with Tangy Pit Beans
Baker’s Ribs (Dallas, TX) — Joe Duncan — St. Louis Ribs with Jalapeño Cole Slaw
Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q (Decatur, AL) — Chris Lilly — World Championship Pulled Pork Sandwich with Spicy Mustard Coleslaw
Blue Smoke (New York, NY) — Jean-Paul Bourgeois — Fried Smoked Chicken with Tabasco-spiked Honey; Broccoli & Black Eyed Pea Salad
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (New York, NY) — John Stage & Leland Avellino — St. Louis Ribs with BBQ Beans
Ed Mitchell’s Que (Wilson, NC) — Ed Mitchell & Ryan Mitchell — Eastern North Carolina Whole Hog Sandwich with Slaw
Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q (Atlanta, GA) — Jonathan Fox & Justin Fox — Brisket & Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage with Jalapeno Slaw & Pickles
Guest Butchers — Jocelyn Guest & Erika Nakamura — Hot Dog with Kimchi & Mayo; Kielbasa with Mustard; and Bratwurst with Kraut & Mustard
Hill Country (New York, NY) — Ash Fulk — Brisket Sandwich with House Pickle & Coleslaw
Hometown Bar-B-Que (Brooklyn, NY) — Billy Durney — Chopped Brisket & Jalapeño Cheddar Link Sandwich with Queso and Tater Tots
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint (Nashville, TN) — Pat Martin — West Tennessee Whole Hog Sandwich with Coleslaw
Memphis Barbecue Co. (Horn Lake, MS) — John Wheeler — Baby Back Ribs with Mamma June’s Baked Beans
Rodney Scott’s BBQ (Charleston, SC) — Rodney Scott — St. Louis Ribs with Coleslaw
Skylight Inn / Sam Jones BBQ (Ayden, NC) — Sam Jones — Eastern North Carolina Whole Hog Sandwich with Sweet Slaw
The Salt Lick BBQ (Driftwood, TX) — Scott Roberts — Brisket & Sausage with Sesame Coleslaw
Ubon’s Barbeque (Yazoo City, MS) — Garry Roark & Leslie Roark Scott — Mississippi Chicken Wings with Bloody Mary Cucumber Salad
What else will be available besides BBQ?
Several vendors will be on hand serving sides and desserts in case you're not too full of meat:
Ample Hills Creamery (Brooklyn, NY) — “Corn to Run” – Creamy Corn Ice Cream with Cornmeal Crumble & Blueberry Swirls. (Exclusive to the Big Apple Barbecue!)
Doughnut Plant (New York, NY) — Selection of Seasonal Doughseeds and Doughnuts.
Original Fried Pie Shop (Dallas, TX) — Apple, Apricot, Blackberry, Cherry, Peach, and Pecan Pies.
Pies ‘N’ Thighs (New York, NY) — Carolyn Bane & Sarah Sanneh — Mac & Cheese, Spicy Watermelon Salad, Biscuits & Sausage Gravy, and Cornbread.
What else is happening besides eating all the good food?
The BABBP also features a selection of free live music on both days. The main stage, where the music will be, is at the south end of Madison Square Park. Acts will include Erin Harpe & The Delta Swingers, The Felice Brothers, The Vegabonds, and Max Creek. Check out the full line up here.
Anything else I should know?
Proceeds from the event are donated to the Madison Square Park Conservancy. Go early. Be pleasant to your fellow attendees and the event staff. Splurge for a FastPass if you don't want to wait in long lines. If it looks like it's gonna rain, bring a light poncho or an umbrella. If you have more questions, the event also has a great FAQ page.
Hope to see you all there!