I finally had the opportunity to check out the Big Apple BBQ in Madison Square Park this weekend. I've been meaning to go each year, but just never seemed to make it happen. I met my girlfriend on the corner and we eased into the festivities with a stop at the Heartland Brewery beer garden. Unfortunately it's a bit hard to drink and eat at the same time, since you can't leave the beer garden with your beer. So we people watched and discussed which food tent to hit up first.
Not really in the mood for pulled pork, we decided to focus on ribs. We started with St. Louis style, which neither of us had tried before. The line at Pappy's was pretty long, so we figured it must be worth the wait. The whole setup is actually quite efficient, and we were on our way to the grass with our food rather quickly. The St. Louis ribs were tangy and saucy, long and thin, but not that meaty. Delicious, though, and not too fatty. The beans on the side had just enough sweetness with a hint of spice.
Ribs fresh from the pit at Pappy's, St. Louis
Pappy's St. Louis style Ribs
By the time we found the bathrooms and walked up the Madison Ave side of the park through throngs of people, it was starting to sprinkle. So we chose a shorter line at Blue Smoke for the Salt & Pepper Beef Ribs. They appeared shorter and meatier, but it was really just a lot of fat. The seasoning was nice - more focused on the meat flavors than the saucier St. Louis style. The pickled okra, carrots and onions were crisp and refreshing on the side. We didn't make it much further before it started to rain, so we didn't get to compare any other ribs. From the two we tried, I'd go with the St. Louis style hands down. I'd expect better quality from Blue Smoke. But I guess that's why the South is known for it's BBQ, and NYC is known for, well, just about anything else. I look forward to going back next year, and hopefully trying more things.
Texas style Salt & Pepper beef ribs from Blue Smoke, NYC