When some New Yorkers are abandoning the city for more picturesque settings (though, what is more picturesque than some of the city's fine parks, Gothamist does not know), lack of high-speed Internet service, and $600 bottles of no-brand champagne, dedicated city folks will be getting their butts over to East 26th Street, between 5th Avenue, Madison Avenue, and Madison Square Park for the Second Annual Big Apple Barbecue. The relief of BBQ-loving NYers, Blue Smoke and the Union Square Hospital Group are thankfully reprising the sucessful event (went through 8,000 pounds of meat last year), welcoming some returning and new barbecue pit masters:
- Chris Lilly from Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, Decatur, AL
- Paul Kirk from K. C. Baron of Barbeque, Kansas City, MO
- Mike Mills Memphis Championship Barbecue, Las Vegas, NV and 17th Street Bar & Grill, Murphysboro, IL
- Ed Mitchell from Mitchell's Ribs, Chicken & BBQ, Wilson, NC
- Scott Roberts from The Salt Lick, Driftwood, TX
- Otis Walker from Smoki O's Barbeque, St Louis, MO
- Ken Callaghan from Blue Smoke, New York, NY

There will be jazz and seminars, as well as lots of delicious food. Gothamist thinks the big event will be Saturday's All-Star Barbecue Sauce Tasting that has authors and gourmands Jeffrey Steingarten and Calvin Trillin putting their palates on the line, with Colman Andrews of Saveur moderating. You buy tickets that will let you purchase all sorts of 'cue and fixins' - we couldn't find any info on the sit, but expect to spend around $10-20 (depending on how big your appetite is and how much beer you want to drink). All proceeds go to the Madison Square Park Conservancy and VH1 Save the Music.

Check out Gothamist's coverage of the First Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party to see what we ate last year; it was also a monumentous day because we met Jeffrey Steingarten.