We were a little worried about the rain, and were in no mood for crowds like the ones at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, so we headed over to Blues, BBQ and Fireworks on Pier 54 on the early side to get our meat fix for the day. Thankfully, the lines were minimal so we headed over to Daisy May's BBQ USA for our first stop -- some Kansas City Sweet and Sticky Pork Ribs and a Carolina Pulled Pork sandwich. When we stopped to say hello to Daisy May's Adam Perry Lang, he was chatting with Chris O'Neill from Virgil's Real BBQ.
We noticed that there's quite a well-knit New York City BBQ community, and they really feel like buddies at a backyard barbecue rather than competitors in an incredibly cutthroat restaurant market. "It's because barbecue is a subculture -- it has its origins in backyards and neighborhood gatherings. It's Americana." Adam notes that this bit of Americana is what inspires his menu, which is based in authentic, traditional barbecue recipes from different regions across the country. According to Lang, what makes his barbecue different from others is that he experiments with ingredients outside of the more traditional barbecue realm to get a taste experience that is pleasing to the palate.
After visiting Daisy May's, we headed to Virgil's for some barbecued chicken wings and Memphis pork ribs. Chef Chris O'Neill also takes his menu from various barbecue regions around the country. In the ten years that Virgil's has been in existence, he and his chefs have traveled to barbecue hotspots like Tennessee, and Kansas City to learn the craft and bring back a sampling of the nation's best barbecue to the menu. O'Neill says that the secret to Virgil's barbecue is the focus on bringing authentic, high quality food to the large crowd that passes through their busy Times Square location.
Rapidly filling up, we waddled over to Pearson's Texas Barbecue for a taste of their beef brisket and pork shoulder sandwiches. Robert Pearson spoke fondly of the thriving barbecue business in the city. "When I first started, it would have been me out here by myself. Now, it's great -- we all do different things. Nobody else does beef brisket and pork shoulder cut to order, so that's why we brought those things out today."
Although we were tempted by the fried peach pie at Philly's Smokehouse, we had reached a point where we could merely sit back and enjoy the blues until we had digested enough to walk home. We're already looking forward to next year, and the next NYC backyard barbecue.
Full photo gallery of the event at Sweet Blog o' Mine.