Gallery: The 2011 Big Apple BBQ Block Party: New York's Annual Moment in Barbecue

Dinosaur BBQ's Pork Shoulder Sandwich
Dinosaur BBQ's Pork Shoulder Sandwich

The surprise hit of this year's Block Party yielded perfectly tender pork with a subtle smoke flavor and slightly crunchy bark that merged perfectly with a splash of Dinosaur's tomato-and-vinegar sauce.

Danny Meyer Gets the Block Party Started
Danny Meyer Gets the Block Party Started

This face says, "Now it's a party." Either that, or it says, "RIBS!"

Passing the Rib-Bon
Passing the Rib-Bon

At last year's Block Party, the highlight of the rib-bon cutting was the elderly woman who immediately walked up to the ceremonial rack and began enjoying what to her were obviously complimentary ribs. This time, pit masters passed the ribs around after ringing the bell.

Team Ed's wood-burning pits
Team Ed's wood-burning pits

Ed Mitchell's barbecue crew brought the heat with its impressive array of coal burners and whole-hog smokers.

Ed Mitchell's Whole Hog
Ed Mitchell's Whole Hog

A North Carolina classic, and one of American barbecue's earliest forms.

Ed Mitchell's Whole Hog Sandwich
Ed Mitchell's Whole Hog Sandwich

Still one of the strongest sandwiches at the Block Party, it's a powerfully smoky taste of Eastern Carolina barbecue.

Ed Mitchell's Whole Smoked Turkey Sandwich
Ed Mitchell's Whole Smoked Turkey Sandwich

Finely chopped and served with a mayo-based slaw. Many a mighty lonely turkey sandwich sat alongside a constantly moving line of whole hog sandwiches; however, this bird was well-brined, juicy, and meaty if not smoky.

Big Bob Gibson's Pulled Pork Sandwich
Big Bob Gibson's Pulled Pork Sandwich

Perhaps not as transcendent as it has been in years past, but still one outstanding pile of smoked pork. The outside brown on this chopped shoulder was especially tasty.

John Stage Mops Dinosaur BBQ's Pork Shoulders
John Stage Mops Dinosaur BBQ's Pork Shoulders

Some pit masters say their secret ingredient is love. John Stage's secret ingredient is probably being a total bad ass.

Jimmy Hagood of Blackjack Barbecue Showboats for the Crowd
Jimmy Hagood of Blackjack Barbecue Showboats for the Crowd

Warning to all men who hope to charm New York's beautiful women by offering to hand-feed them pork on the side of Madison Avenue: He's making it look easy.

Blackjack Barbecue's Pork Shoulder Sandwich
Blackjack Barbecue's Pork Shoulder Sandwich

Smoked whole shoulder, chopped and mixed with an apple cider vinegar sauce, then splashed with a butterscotch bourbon sauce and served graciously.

Leslie Roark Scott of Ubon's Serves Up the Sammies
Leslie Roark Scott of Ubon's Serves Up the Sammies

How can you say no to that smile? Ubon's pork also makes a convincing case for not saying no.

Ubon's Pulled Pork Sandwich
Ubon's Pulled Pork Sandwich

This pork shoulder had a dark, nutty flavor and hand-pulled texture that were particularly pleasing. Ubon's tangy, not-too-sweet vinegar sauce and light mayo slaw rounded out the flavors and textures like textbook Southern barbecue.

Martin's Whole Hog Sandwich
Martin's Whole Hog Sandwich

Chunks of whole hog, a light, crunchy slaw, spicy pickle chips, and judicious use of barbecue sauce made this the most thoughtfully constructed sandwich of the lot.

Jim n' Nick's Smoked Sausage
Jim n' Nick's Smoked Sausage

The folks over at Martin's told me about something called "the infamous pimento cheese incident." I'm still waiting for details on that story, but this was a pretty spectacular pimento cheese incident on its own.

The Salt Lick's Beef Brisket and Sausage
The Salt Lick's Beef Brisket and Sausage

For many, the words "Salt Lick" are synonymous with that first, mystifying taste of Texas barbecue. While this plate was no visit to Lockhart, it was plenty welcome at Madison Square Park.

Beef Brisket at Jack's Old South
Beef Brisket at Jack's Old South

Myron Mixon hand-sliced these beauts, which were surprisingly low on flavor and more greasy than juicy. Inconsistencies like this go to show that an intense craft like barbecue is difficult to get right every single time.

Hill Country's Beef Brisket
Hill Country's Beef Brisket

Rather than separate the "lean" flat from the "moist" deckle, Hill Country served slices with both halves joined at the hip. I couldn't think of a more convincing way to prove to diners that they should always ask for their brisket "moist" if it's an option.

Tommy Houston and Serious Racks of Ribs
Tommy Houston and Serious Racks of Ribs

Pit Master at the Checkered Pig, Tommy offers a glimpse into his spare rib stash.

The Checkered Pig's St. Louis-Style Spare Ribs
The Checkered Pig's St. Louis-Style Spare Ribs

An ideal by-the-basics rack, the Checkered Pig's dry-rub ribs were just slightly firm, with a crisp bark, light smoke flavor, and hints of spice and sweetness that never overtook the taste of pork.

Baby Back Ribs at 17th St. BBQ
Baby Back Ribs at 17th St. BBQ

Mike Mills's baby backs, with their pronounced porky flavor and light layers of dry rub and sauce, were still at the top of their game.

Baker's Spare Ribs
Baker's Spare Ribs

Baker's ribs, finished over hot coals, had an especially crisp bark.

Pappy's Smokehouse Baby Back Ribs
Pappy's Smokehouse Baby Back Ribs

The bark on Pappy's pork ribs paired brown sugar and black pepper for a "sweet heat" flavor profile.

Rack & Soul's Baby Back Ribs
Rack & Soul's Baby Back Ribs

Landing somewhere between Rack and Soul's daily product and pit master John Wheeler's 2010 championship rib, these baby backs had a sticky/sweet bark and a firm, meaty body.

Blue Smoke's Salt and Pepper Beef Ribs
Blue Smoke's Salt and Pepper Beef Ribs

The best in beef at this year's Block Party. New Yorkers can make a trip to Blue Smoke any day of the week, and I'd still recommend them.

Room for Fried Pie?
Room for Fried Pie?

The Original Fried Pie Shop made the trip up to New York with Baker's to served fried pies filled with fruit, pulled pork and brisket. I'll be honest: I did not have room for fried pie.

Man's Best Friend Gnaws on Man's Favorite Rib
Man's Best Friend Gnaws on Man's Favorite Rib

17th St. BBQ's baby back bone finds its way into the mouth of porkchop, a friend of Josh. This googly-eyed bite is in loving memory of Dumpling!

Delays Due to BBQ
Delays Due to BBQ

Let's be truthful: If you've been at the Block Party all day, you probably should walk a few blocks before jumping on the bus. See y'all next year!

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20110612-156295-big-apple-bbq-block-party-dinosaur-bbq-pulled-pork-shoulder-primary-img.jpg