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This past Wednesday, a new Brisket King of NYC was crowned in Brooklyn. Alternately shocking and wowing hundreds in the crowd, Richie Holmes of the not-even-open-yet Juicy Lucy BBQ on Staten Island took home top honors.
The Juicy Lucy BBQ team beat out an all-star lineup of competing barbecue joints that included big names like Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Hill Country Barbecue Market, and Pig Beach. Holmes had a secret weapon that certainly helped: Mauro “Max” Chiefari, who worked previously as a pitmaster for top Texas joint Franklin Barbecue, is working for Holmes. They served stunning sliced brisket, chopped brisket, and burnt ends paired with espresso barbecue sauce.
Juicy Lucy BBQ is set to open "around May 1," Holmes said at the event. I can't wait to stop by the restaurant on Staten Island, which is admittedly a little bit of a hike for those like myself without a car. But as my barbecue colleague BBQ Tourist will tell you, good barbecue is worth traveling for.
The People's Choice winner and second place overall of Brisket King NYC 2019 went to Rob Cho of Kimchi Smoke from Westwood, New Jersey. Cho is a regular at barbecue events in New York and New Jersey and has competed at Brisket King several times. This time, he served tender brisket topped with a tangy "Kimchichurri" sauce and it stood out among the field.
Cho is always one of my favorites to try because he creatively blends Korean and Texas barbecue styles. He will soon be opening a second location in Little Ferry, New Jersey.
While Holmes and Cho had the biggest splashes, other players that earned honorable mentions at the end of the event included:
Ash Fulk of Hill Country Barbecue Market in New York
John Gower of Quiet Waters Farm in England
John Stage of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in New York
Shane McBride of Pig Beach in Brooklyn
Sruli "Izzy" Eidelman of Izzy's Barbecue and Izzy's Taqueria in Brooklyn
All of these folks had great items. Fulk served Hill Country's tasty brisket with pickles; Gower had a marvelous creation that included brisket with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish cream; Stage served a brisket tostada; McBride served the # (don't miss Pig Beach's BBQ benefit this Saturday); and Izzy served brisket tacos that are similar to those on the menu at the still-new Izzy's Taqueria.
Other great joints or independent operations at the event included Carlitos Tacos, Cash Only BBQ, Chef Jesse Jones, Darling Nikki’s BBQ, Judd’s Memphis Kitchen, Morgan's Brooklyn Barbecue, Ornella Trattoria Italiana, Randall’s Barbecue, and Sands Jerk Hut.
I was highly impressed by the burnt ends being served by Morgan's, the Italian-style brisket from Ornella, the brisket tostadas from Carlitos, and the brisket in a cup from Cash Only BBQ.
All in all, this was a rousing return to glory for Brisket King, showcasing both new and veteran players at their best. Last year's event was hot and overcrowded, but thankfully the set up was much better this year and everyone seemed to have a good time.
The next big competitive barbecue event that should be on your calendar is Rib King NYC 2019 — curated by yours truly — and it takes place Thursday, May 30 in Brooklyn. It's going to be a blast, and I hope to see you all there.
Founder, NYC BBQ
EAT ALL ABOUT IT
Here are the top BBQ and food stories in New York area this week:
After more than three years of waiting, Mothership Meat Companyopened last night in Astoria. The restaurant, from the team behind John Brown Smokehouse, will be open during its first two weeks with the following hours: Thursday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to midnight.
NYC BBQ and BBQ Tourist, co-founders of The Smoke Sheet, were featured on Canada’s Eat More Barbecue podcast, talking about the state of barbecue across the U.S.
This Saturday, Hugh Mangum of Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue, will be “Everesting” at the East Village location to raise money for the great charity No Kid Hungry. They will also be offering an insane Burnt Ends Philly Cheesesteak special this weekend as well, so both good reasons to say hello to Hugh.
The NYC BBQ Cookoff was held this past weekend on Staten Island, attracting thousands of enthusiasts. For the competition, Uncle Pigs BBQ Pit, Top Gun Barbecue, and Smokin Hoggz placed as the top three teams overall.
On Sunday night, Game of Thrones fans who also love barbecue might want to stop by Dekalb Market Hall in Downtown Brooklyn. They’ll be hosting a GoT watch party with food from Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue.
Here are the top BBQ (and related) food events coming soon to the New York metro area:
April 12: Today, Smorgasburg is officially opening a new location in Lower Manhattan, next to the Oculus at the World Trade Center. Every Friday through October, from 11:30am to 7pm, it will be open on Fulton Street between Church and Greenwich Streets. 25 food vendors of all kinds will be there. More info here.
April 13: Pig Beach in Brooklyn will be hosting the Jeff Michner BBQ Benefit on April 13 to raise money for Michner’s family following his death last year. The event will have an all-star lineup of pitmasters and chefs from all over the country. Read my write-up about the event to learn more. Buy tickets here.
April 13: The first-ever Tastes of Gowanus Food & Drink Crawl debuts in April, inviting locals to sample culinary options including barbecue from Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue and Dinosaur BBQ, among other good options. Four tastes will cost you $20, while 11 tastes will set you back $50. Buy tickets here.
April 13 & 14: Enjoy hot sauce samples from makers all over the world at the 7th annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint. On top of samples, beer and BBQ will be available for purchase and there will be spicy food eating competitions to watch as well. Buy tickets here.
April 25-28: Pig Beach will be hosting two very cool events in late April, including a collaboration with acclaimed Georgia joint Southern Soul BBQ (on April 25 and 26) and its second annual Crawfish Boil with BBQ Ninja Craig Verhage (on April 27 and 28). Buy tickets to Southern Soul and/or to the Crawfish Boil.
April 27: If you’re looking for fun in Bushwick, you won’t want to miss Pig Out at Bunker. At celebrity chef Jimmy Tu's Bushwick restaurant Bunker, you’ll find a party with a whole roasted Heritage Berkshire hog, locally sourced beers and cocktails, great music, and more. Buy tickets here.
May 18: The World’s Fare 2019 at Citi Field in Queens will be taking place again in mid-May. More than 100 vendors will come together and unite through authentic food, drink and music curated by the city’s leading culinary advocates. Buy tickets here.
May 18-19: Harlem's food and the people who make it are waiting for your taste buds during The Harlem Stroll. This ticket gives you access to an unlimited walk around tasting of 20+ of the best restaurants in Harlem, including Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken. Buy tickets here.
May 30: Don’t miss Rib King NYC 2019, the first barbecue event curated by NYC BBQ. This event in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is produced by Food Karma Events and will be a celebration of ribs and rib creations with more than 10 pitmasters and chefs from NYC. Early bird ticket sales end on May 1, so don’t delay. Buy tickets here.
June 8: The NYC Bacon and Beer Classic 2019 will take place at the Brooklyn Mirage and will celebrate two of the best things in life: bacon and beer. Over 50 local restaurants will be serving bacon-inspired dishes, and local breweries will be pouring over 100 top craft beers. Early bird tickets are on sale now. Buy tickets here.