Tuesday, August 19, 2014

buzzing around the big apple BBQ festival

Pearls on Swine 
Q' as far as the eye could see
Smoke got in my eyes
It was an week of incredible highs and unfortunately lows too (My beloved Aunt was in hospice) - but on the high side earlier this summer I got to put on my queen bee hat and meet one of NYC's culinary legends and restaurant genius' - Danny Meyers, who as part of his restaurant empire, also owns several great catering companies.   Here's my not so great selfie, representing caterBuzz as press with Danny Meyers and USHG's Blue Smoke's Executive Chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party in Madison Square Park.
Meeting Danny Meyers was the sauce on the Q - Equally amazing was the opportunity to meet and visit with the Big Apple BBQ pitmasters and experiencing the range of genuine American regional BBQ in my own backyard!

My first mission at the  the Big Apple BBQ Block Party was to welcome and surprise CaterBuzz member Randy Twyford, of Twyford BBQ, Jacksonville, Ill and his BBQ buddies with some of New York City's finest smoked delicacies - aka genuine, fresh from the oven, Big Apple bagels with smoked salmon and a "schmear" (NY talk for cream cheese spread on a bagel) !!

This man is another amazing BBQ industry resource - Meet David Knight, founder and owner of Ole Hickory Pits, whose forward thinking vision and can do smile has made him the Knight in shining armour for many a BBQ pitmaster from coast to coast and even across the pond! David brought it 17 Old Hickory Pit BBQ rigs to assist the pitmasters with extra "fire power" to produce the volume of BBQ necessary for the two day Big Apple BBQ Block Party Festival. 

David regaled me with BBQ stories and folklore and was the magic ticket to enter any Pit Master's inner circle at the 12th Annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party.   When I noted how calm the NYC crowds at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party were, David shared with me a secret in the Que world that, just like bee keepers use smoke to calm the bees, that all the smoke around Madison Square Park had a calming effect of the usually hyper New Yorkers festival goers.   That and the deliciousness of the offerings filling their tummies and bringing happy smiles to the faces of the attendees.
The New Pork Times All Access
Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2014
David Knight took me on a private tour whose first stop was to visit with THE LEGEND Mike Mills of 17th Street  BBQ fame out of Murphysboro, Illinois, where we sampled BBQ hospitality and naturally were quickly offered a taste of what the 17th Street Grill was dishing up for the public.  Their Signature Ribs and Tangy Pit Beans, dished up for us by the Legend himself !!  Read about Joshua Bousel
an Eater reporter who was "embedded" for 2 days with the 17th Street Crew doing  prep and setup  on Friday and Saturday - always fun for us caterers to see and hear the back stories. 
The  17th Street ribs are layered with smoky spicy depth of flavor and each bite rendered tender falling off the bone meat ... I sucked each bone dry searching for yet another bite of that succulent magic dusted  baby back pork.   Mike's signature tangy pit beans - a melange of 5 different beans complimented the meat and yet stood firmly on it's own merit...these were baked beans of my childhood memories - sweet, tangy, soft, spicy, rich and succulent - each bite a masterpiece!!

In the rendition that the 17th Street Crew served up at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, baby limas were the "5th dimension" rounding out each perfect bite !!
I am beyond thrilled to have had the opportunity to spend some time chatting about catering and Q with Mike Mills "THE LEGEND" and his spitfire daughter Amy Mills Tunnicliffe "THE HEIRESS". Check out Amy's awesome BBQ attire - it's no wonder she's known as the BBQ-fashionista!
Amy's fashion forward logoed boots
might even make Mary Crafts-Homer jealous!

lucky me, the talented + humble
Mike Mills personally inscribes
a copy of his BBQ Bible to me, the Queen Bee
caterBuzz member, Randy Twyford, was in the Big Apple
assisting his BBQ buddy,
PitMaster Chris Lilly,
of Big Bob Gibson BAR-B-Q (out of Decatur Alabama),
at the Big Apple BBQ Festival NYC June 2014
still dreaming of the La. Andouille sausage that Blue Smoke grilled up!

sorry Garry Roack, Ubon Pitmaster
I was so busy drinking the delicious BBQ Bloody Mary 
that I neglected to get a picture of it ...
Hill Country BBQ - in Manhattan and Brooklyn
delicious brisket and fixings - check out that bark!

not so long ago it was hard to find 'real" BBQ joints in NYC
Dinosaur BBQ - which originated in upstate NY 
helped to change that dynamic
John Stage, Pitmaster
Pappy's Smokehouse St. Louis the Hog Whisperers

'the Pig Apple', 'Peace Love and Bar be Cue'
"I like Mine Rubbed', 'The Hog Whisperer', 'Eat My Meat'

clever tee shirts spotted around the Big Apple BBQ Festival

very very 'punny' tee shirts
from various pitmasters

Danny Meyers and Martin's BBQ Joint Owner greet at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party
Western Tennessee-Style Whole Hog -  on a bun with slaw + pickle
pit crew of the future...
adorable !!
ironic - eh!

No comments: