FLATIRON — Rib lovers, ready your bibs.
The 11th annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party is returning to Madison Square Park on the weekend of June 8, and it’s inviting pitmasters from all over the country to serve up traditional barbecue dishes, including smoked hogs, thousands of sausage links and a plenty of pulled pork.
“We want to continue to celebrate American regional barbecue traditions and doing it in New York City is incredibly exciting,” said Mark Maynard-Parisi, senior managing partner of Blue Smoke restaurant, which is hosting the event this year.
Live music, giveaways and culinary seminars are slated for the fest, but detailed plans haven’t been decided yet, he said.
The event will be hosted by Blue Smoke's Flatiron restaurant, located at 116 E. 27th St., and will feature award-winning pitmasters from around the nation like Alabama’s Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q and Illinois’ 17th Street Bar and Grill.
Mike Mills, a pitmaster at 17th Street Bar and Grill, said he was looking forward to reconnecting with the friends he had made during the last decade he’s participated in the annual event.
“While we’re there to share our barbecue culture with New Yorkers, it’s really about the people and the friendships we’ve made over the course of 11 years,” said Mills in an email. “We’ve watched people date, marry, and now they’re bringing children to the Block Party.”
For instance, there is one man who is the first in line every year and brings a pizza box so he can carry food home, Mills said.
17th Street Bar and Grill will be serving its baby back ribs again this year with a side of tangy pit beans, said a spokesperson for the restaurant.
Admission to the event is free and attendees can order up a plate from any of the pitmasters for $9 each.
For the first time this year, passes will be sold on a day-to-day basis instead of for the whole two-day event, to minimize long lines, Maynard-Parisi said.
In past years, the event encountered controversy among local residents who said they dreaded the smoke-filled air stinking up their apartments, in addition to noise and garbage.
Despite complaints, the event was approved by the community board last year.
The Big Apple Barbecue will take place in Madison Square Park, at Madison Avenue between 23rd and 27th Streets and along 26th Street.
For updates about the event, visit www.bigapplebbq.org