BBQ - NYC: How was it?
Missed the cue this year. Curious to hear how it was.
I would have to give it a big "eh", as I just think it is too difficult to make quality bbq for so many people. I tried everything and everything was decent, sausage was excellent. But everything was cold. I'm not sure what the reheating process was but I couldn't get even a lukewarm piece of meat.
there was only one type of beer (as opposed to 2 last year), and it ran out by the time the food started. sangria is a fun idea but all you had to was look and see the line of 20 people for beer, and you know what the majority wanted.
live music was fun, but hard to hear unless you were sitting directly in front.
well organized, and ward's island wasn't too inconvenient.
worth 40 bucks? eh, if the food was warm and beer more plentiful definitely.
re: Ron S
It was my first time, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I had a blast. Sure, the salsa competition was a tad disorganized. (I actually had a decent sampling of salsa, mainly because I got turned around several times and went in from the "wrong," ie, shorter, side of the line.) But it was fun in a country fair kind of way. I am not a beer drinker, so I was perfectly content after two cups of the (delicious and not too sweet) sangria. The weather was gorgeous, if breezy, and I enjoyed my introduction to Ward's Island.
As for the food - perhaps I'm not discerning enough, but I thought it was tops. The hot links were snappy and delectable. I really loved the smoky and almost sweet brisket (though I hear there were some burnt ends about - would have loved some of those. Guess I'll settle for RUB). Chicken was tasty, as was the salmon (I preferred the darker one - smokier?) Funnily enough, the corn was one of my favorite things, so sweet! Volunteers were sometimes harried but always helpful and I think they did a great job. All in all, as a lovely, tasty outdoor experience, I had a great time and look forward to next year.
I love this event. I think it's very well organized, and truly appreciate all the effort that went into it by so many people.
That being said, I found the food disappointing. As Ron S. said, the sausage was excellent. However, I was there for the brisket, and I found it dry and cut too thin. The pork was a mixed bag. The first small piece I had was like a dry piece of roast pork--completely underwhelming, seconds I got some juicier "pulled" pieces, but not stellar. The fish was tasty, but not a revelation. I didn't try the chicken. I was surprised that they ran out of sides (e.g., beans, pickles), esp. things that are cheap. I didn't drink any beer, so that wasn't an issue, but for $40 . . .
re: Alex Halsey
They might have been counting on people to bring sides (as opposed to bringing dessert), so that might be poor planning. Can't explain why the Sterno didn't keep the food hot, but the brisk winds could have cooled things down quickly.
I thought everything was good, though the sausage was kind of greasy. Chicken was moist and I got a great piece of brisket. Later, they had the skin and bones of the pig available.
re: Alex Halsey
It's tough to review an outdoor bbq for over 300 people. I absolutely agree that the event was great, the hard work evident. I'm not sure I agree with the food assessment.
I, glutton as I am, had 3 plates of assorted meat and chicken, so I got quite an "overview". Depending on which trough (oops, line) and when, the meats varied considerably. There was some really great brisket in there (not that the rest was shabby)which was warm upon delivery and not cut too thin & the chicken was excellent. The pork that was pulled was absolutely my favorite food of the day, as it was moist & flavorful. The skin was also perfect.
Bottom line -- with the wind as it was, I cant see how anything could stay hot outdoors long enough to make it to a table. But, with the quality of the meat that high, I was fine (and very full).
By the way, I'm not much of a beer drinker or sides eater so that didnt really get to me -- I can see how it could be an issue to others. I'll go again next year.
I thought it was very good, but not as good as last year. Pulled pork and chicken were fabulous, as was most of the brisket. Unfortunately, the first few pieces of brisket I picked were overcooked to the point of being inedible. Once I discovered the fatty pieces, however, my concerns vanished. Hot links were fabulous, though I missed the kielbasas(?) from last year. Shortage of sides didn't bother me--my plates were comprised solely of meat.
As others have noted, the strong winds seemed to cool down the food (and I was one of the first served). Also didn't help that they left the stuff sitting covered for quite some time. Also, running out of beer was inexcusable. As someone else noted, the wine was a nice idea, but not at the expense of beer. One thing I did prefer about this year was the location. While Ward's Island was not exactly convenient, it sure was easier to find than last year's spot in Flushing Park.
First of all, I hope that the BBQ thread rests in one board. Either it should remain here or moved on mass to the Manhattan board. After all Wards/Randall's Island is in Manhattan.
I have attended all three BBQNYC events and thought that this one was clearly the best organized. Despite the wind, the weather was perfect and this was a very nice space on the island, a lot nicer than the site two years ago. We thought the meat was wonderful, the brisket juicy and the pork perfectly cooked. (Those pork smoker tubs are a wonderful contraption!) There certainly was enough meat for us. If it really was a bit cold, I certainly didn't notice it.
The donated stuff was a bit lacking, but heck, we didn't contribute anything, so why should I complain? We were on the back of the line, but did manage to get a bit of the wonderful baked beans and there turned out to be plenty of slaw. I agree that the beer was a real problem. Aprihop is a little too gimmicky for me. A nice Dogfish IPA like last year would have been a real pleasure. And running out of it before the food was served was a problem. If it had been the normal dog days of August weather instead of just being in the upper seventies, the shortage of beer could have been disastrous. As it was, it was only a mild disappointment. If BBQNYC does this again, they will have to beg Dogfish (or another brewer) for a bit more supply.
All in all, the staff was great, there were plenty of chairs, parking was much easier than predicted, and the two port-a-potties on site were a vast improvement from the past setups. Much of this cost money, and, I guess, contributed to the higher "donation", but I think they were worth it.
All in all, a very good BBQ afternoon.
I'm starting to think that luck played a big role in one's perception of the food. I thought the meats this year were superior to the first two years.
The brisket I had was outstanding, comparing favorably to the brisket I had at all three of the vaunted BBQ places in Lockhart and in City Market in Luling. I don't go to the event for chicken, either, but it was outstanding.
I did miss the S&W brats from the first two years, and although I prefer spicier sausages, thought these samples were wonderful for their genre, delicate and light. The pork seemed to vary for me. First trip through the line -- ehh. Second time, darn good. And then there was the pork skin.
There were two pound cake/bundt cake type desserts. One of them was sweeter with lemon, and I thought that was outstanding.
re: Dave Feldman
one of my dessert contributions was a bundt cake- tomato soup cake sprinkled with confectioners sugar- that i have never made before but i got the recipe from a great cookbook i had and figured it'd turn out decent. since you mentioned the bundt cake dessert, was wondering what you thought of the tomato soup cake. i didn't get to try it, so i have no idea how it came out. and don't worry, i take criticism well.
Thanks for all the responses. I had a great time last year, and I'm sorry to hear about the brisket. That was my fave, and I'm sure had I been there this weekend, I would have headed straight for that.
Do you think the bigger crowd compromised quality? Maybe it compromised quantity, since the beer ran out too soon. Think the organizers can get something going with Brooklyn Brewery?
Still wish I had been there. Glad you folks had fun!