if you're going to Big Apple BBQ tomorrow...opinions on Day One
As in the past, the lines look intimidating. Try to arrive before noon. On the other hand, with fast eating I made it to four spots from 4:45 to 6 so I guess the crowds weren't totally disastrous, but it depends on how willing you are to skip your preferred site for a better line.
The must-have is Pappy's Smokehouse. I feel strange for saying this but I actually liked the baby back ribs from my two NYC samplings more than at the St. Louis flagship. Although superb at all times, at Big Apple they seemed to have more of a flavor explosion as salty/smoky and sweet battled it out to pure deliciousness.
At Baker's, the ribs were perfectly enjoyable but not memorable. They scored on texture with a juicy interior and a captivating char, but the rib didn't have as much stand-alone flavor as I'd like - throw some sauce on and you're in good, shape.
Scott's from South Carolina had a good "whole hog" offering. I think there was some vinegar and pepper in there; it seemed North Carolina-esque to this outsider.
At Jim 'n Nick's, the offering was sausage, which was o.k., but I maybe I'm not the best judge since I lean more toward ribs. But you should stop by since the accompanying spicy cheese was pimento was outstanding.
very good point, Kathryn
but on the other hand, if you visit in person, you're getting to eat meats smoked and cooked in the 'comfort zone' (for lack of a better term) of whatever pitmaster is working. as opposed to a rental unit far from home.
over the years, i've found that salt lick has suffered most from travel. i love the dripping springs location but after two disappointments in nyc circa 2005 and 2006, i havent been back in ages.
ubons and bob gibson's -- where chris lilly is very much hands on at all times -- have been most consistent, imo.