I've realized what's limiting my potential as a blogger (and the potential of this blog) - I just don't care enough to write about new things as they happen. When I had my interview for Google, they ran through all the standard questions... what superpower would you choose if you could have any one? Time-space control. What's your favorite color? #ff0033. What Disney character would you be? That dude who nails Mulan. What's your greatest weakness? Without any second thoughts I blurted out "I'm kind of lazy, and I don't really do things in a timely fashion." Apparently that wasn't a deal breaker since I got the job, but I really wasn't lying. In case you haven't noticed, I'm writing this post well more than a week after the event actually happened... probably because no one's forcing me to write blog posts, but mostly the lazy thing. Whatever, I just want to talk about some kick-ass pulled pork sandwiches without the pressure of "being relevant."
For those unaware of what the Big Apple BBQ is, it's basically a weekend festival where a bunch of decidedly non-Jewish people descend on Madison Square Park to pollute the air with the fantastic scent of pigs and smoke. Basically a bunch of pit masters from all across the US come to pimp their shit and try to spread obesity to the population of greater-NYC. Brilliance with a hint of mesquite yo.
Just look at that guy. Not one fuck was given that day. All he wants to do is flame torch the shit out of his rack of ribs.
Seriously though, if that picture doesn't have you convinced that a festival revolving around consuming meats rubbed down with sauce is a brilliant thing (in theory as well as practice)... well, you're probably a vegetarian and don't care much for my opinion anyway. In any case, I'm going to start talking about pulling pork now.
Ahh, pulled pork from Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q. If you asked me for the most trustworthy sounding name for someone who knew how to make pulled pork... it'd probably be someone who's named Big Bob. No joke. The pulled pork shoulder that he was pushing out was tender, moist, and had just a hint of smokiness. In sandwich form it feels like kind of a waste (I'm pretty sure by including a bun, it's easier to skimp on the meat), but it was a good sandwich to say the least. Initially I had the complaint that the flavor was a tad mild, that it either needed more sauce or more seasoning. I felt retarded after someone suggested I eat a bit of burnt edge by itself. I would trample a mob of senior citizens for just one more bite of that shit.
I got really excited when I came upon a group of Twilight fans who were roasting whole hogs. As much as you feel bad for Jacob, team Edward is where it's at. He's got that whole sparkly thing going for him. Then I got moderately disappointed when I realized that "Team Ed" actually stood for "Team Ed... Mitchell."
My sadness quickly faded when I got a hold of his whole hog pulled pork sandwich. With a solid 30-minute wait, I feel like his sandwich was slightly over-hyped. Maybe it's because I'm not in love with the vinegary taste of North Carolina barbecue, but it just wasn't as impressive as I thought it would be from others' accounts. Big Bob Gibson's pulled pork was definitely something of a high-water benchmark I used throughout the day, and obviously it's impossible to compare apples to oranges, but that first sandwich was probably too tough an act to follow for "Team Edward."
I have to admit, the hot sauce they had on hand was pretty dope (I forget what it was called if someone wants to chime in?)
Ubon's pulled pork was closer to what my mind thinks of in terms of "barbecue." It was similar in style to Big Bob's, but was coarser, less refined, and had a more distinct texture. While Bob's was moist and basically melted in your mouth (yes, apparently meats can melt in my head), Ubon's took a little bit more work to eat. In terms of flavor, it lacked the distinct charring and smokey aftertaste that Bob's had, but was heavily influenced by the sheer amount of sauce present. It was messy, but good in its own way.
And then there was one. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is one that hits close to home for me. For years I used to steal the delivery from Dino BBQ that was sent to the adjacent lab to mine at Columbia. For years I would complain about how their wings "weren't as good" as advertised. To be honest I wasn't so ecstatic about paying $8 for a pulled pork sandwich that I could get at any given time (given its close proximity). In the end, I didn't feel like I wasted money. Their sandwich was a nice blend of subtle porcine flavor and just enough sauce to add a hint of tangy aftertaste. It wasn't mindblowingly incredible, but it also didn't fail me like their sorry excuses for wings have for years.
I also ate ribs... in case you were wondering. These were from 17th Street Bar and Grill, who came all the way out from Illinois. Their menu says their baby back ribs are "sprinkled with Magic Dust then slowly cooked in our pit with a combination of apple & cherry woods for 5 to 7 hours." I don't know what "Magic Dust" is, and I never want to find out. The mystery tastes delicious to me.
Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with all this... I really just wanted to talk about pork sandwiches. I think I've accomplished that so I'll stop now. Back to being lazy.