Come one, come all, carnivores! The Big Apple BBQ Party is this weekend! For those that don’t know, for the past decade the Big Apple BBQ Party has been a big to-do right in the middle of Madison Square Park. Pitmasters from all over the country descend upon the city and offer up samples of their best barbecue fare, from ribs and brisket to pulled pork and delectable chicken wings. Admission to the party is free, but each sampler plate from the contributors is $8.00, which may seem steep for a little paper dish of ‘cue, but once you get that smoky, tender flavor in your system, you know you’ve well gotten your money’s worth!

I went to the BBQ Party two years ago, completely stumbling upon it in the park while visiting with my friend Jessica. Thank goodness her vegetarian boyfriend wasn’t there, because we gorged ourselves on perfectly seasoned and cooked meat all day long! The park is packed with revelers and lovers of some good barbecue, so get there early or you’ll be waiting in winding lines for quite a while. The sampler plates you get are small–some meat and a bit of the pitmaster’s select side, which can range from beans to cornbread and homemade pickles–but the flavor is all there, and the small portions help you sample more ‘cue than you would on a full stomach. We ate our full of Texas, North Carolina, and good ol’ New York barbecue in the shadow of the New York Life Building, amazed that even during a national barbecue party, people were still waiting in line at Shake Shack!

There’s also live music, lots of swag from sponsors (when I went, Haagen-Dazs and Snapple were giving away free food and drinks), and great events to watch, like meat smoking presentations, ‘cue carving, and more! And with the gorgeous weather we’re gonna have today, it’s a great time to be in the city and enjoying some real authentic barbecue from all over the country! 😀