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It's the amazing event that pigs and cows fear most! The Big Apple BBQ Block Party took over a good part of the Madison Square Park area with ten different barbecue offerings along a few blocks on Madison Avenue and on 24th Street (we remember when it was only on East 27th!). The BBQ Block Party benefits the Madison Square Park Conservancy, and it was great to see everyone enjoying the event, from hauling loads of foods away in boxes to listening to the live music. Gothamist went hog wild and tried various meats offered by esteemed pitmasters from all over the country.

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This year, we rated the 'cue, on a one-to-four sticky-from-BBQ finger scale, four being the highest. While the windy and unseasonably cool weather might have chilled the food, we rated some BBQ lower because it was cold. And we're fans of BBQ with a bit of sauce, so we took that into consideration as well (also whether or not there was BBQ sauce available). Our favorites of the day were Smoki O's Rib Tips and Big Bob Gibson's Pulled Pork Shoulder Sandwich (best sides: Mitchell's BBQ cole slaw and Memphis Championship BBQ-17th Street Bar & Grill baked beans; best drink: lemonade "spiked" with Skyy Citron vodka), but we were happy and full from trying all of it.

And even though it was a big day for BBQ, there was, naturally, a crazy long line for the Shake Shack.

Photographs: Top, Steve Mitchell of Mitchell's BBQ chopping up whole hog; middle left, Big Bob Gibson's smokers; middle right, Blue Smoke's ribs on the grill; bottom, three fingers for Blue Smoke's St. Louis Ribs