"Best $8 I Ever Spent!" My Meat Plate At The Big Apple BBQ Block Party In Madison Sq. Park

by Rachelle Hruska · June 15, 2009

[Kerri Beach, Jamie Pathley, Samantha Hunter, Melinda Richardson-these girls know where to find good meat]

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This weekend, if you were smart, you were at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party. The country's top pit masters come to town every June to cook their award-winning food for over a hundred thousand barbecue enthusiasts in Madison Square Park.  The best part? It was all free.  Though if you wanted to sample, plates started at $8 (All-you-can-eat Fast Passes were available for $100).  A small price to pay for your chance to visit Texas, Kansas City, South Carolina, Nevada, North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi's best all at once.

More photos and story below...

Our own Keith Lew spent some time talking to Grill masters like Kenny Callaghan (Blue Smoke), Mike Mills (17th st. Bar and Grill), Ed Mitchell (who recently bested Bobby Flay in a throw-down), John Stage (Pitmaster: Dinosaur BBQ), John Hagood (Pitmaster: Food for the Southern Soul), Susan Salgado (Union Square Hospitality Group). More from Keith Lew:

Kenny Callaghan posed with Earl Cruze from Cruze Dairy Farm, which Cruze said had been discovered by Callaghan for its tasty and healthful buttermilk.  The New York Times Magazine featured the family and its Buttermilk in April 2009. According to Cruze, a film would be showing in astor place that Saturday evening would feature the the buttermilk and its special health benefits.   I found that the buttermilk paired with Blue Smoke's barbecue ribs like a nice Chianti wine pairs with Italian food.

They all kept me well fed, though my camera may have a nice coating of BBQ sauce as result!

Ed Mitchell with Nephew and heir to throne

Big Bob Gibson BBQ

Jason Salgado, Jason Cune, Jennifer Galardi

Mike Mills (Apple City BBQ), Ricky Hoover, Joe Pandalpo

Bob Gibson BBQ and family, Jim Dingeman

Robbie Lundy, Carry Brengel, John Alderson, (Martins BBQ Joint)

MORE PHOTOS IN GALLERY!