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2012 Tour Stop #8 - The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

June 10, 2012

This was our second year at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party so we kind of had an idea of the load-in issues we would face, but we never imagined the issues we would have just getting in to Manhattan! First, our GPS sent us to the Holland Tunnel, which does not allow trailers. Luckily, an NYPD officer directed us to the Lincoln Tunnel, which would have been great if the cars actually let us over to the off-ramp. If you can imagine, there were probably 10 lanes of traffic that had to merge into six. At the end of the tunnel, we were unable to turn right so we had another adventure in navigating the streets to our spot on 5th Avenue and 25th Street. By the time we arrived, our nerves were shot and I would have been just as happy to just drive right out of the city but oh, it gets better. As I had to back into our spot, the event guys held back traffic. One taxi driver must have been in a hurry because as I was backing up, I see this fellow jump out of his taxi and rush a couple of the event guys. After nearly an hour of time, a couple of moved boulders and many stressed nerves, we finally got into our spot.

After getting all of our Reser’s® Potato Salad samples and prepping our Smithfield® products with Weber® Just Add Juice™, we ate dinner with our good friends Seth and Erika from Gallo Wineries. As if we didn't have enough stress for the day, we took a cab to the restaurant. I think our driver’s name was Mario Andretti; I’m not sure he knew which pedal was the brake. We walked back to our hotel...

On Saturday, our helpers arrived early to help prep for the day. We were grateful to have KCBS members Don and his children help over the weekend in addition to James, who was my grill man last year. We were honored to have also had Scott, a NYC fireman, help us out.

On Sunday morning, I visited the cook teams in Madison Square Garden Park. Mike Mills with 17th Street BBQ opened his double-wide Ole Hickory Pits™ smoker and showed off the prettiest pig in the park. Not sure the locals would appreciate the time and effort it took to cook it, but I’m sure they appreciated the awesome pork goodness!  I also had a chance to visit with Tommy and Lisa Houston with Checkered Pig whose team won the weekend before at the Hog Happenin event in Lincolnton, N.C.

Sunday was another beautiful day in New York City. There was a Puerto Rican parade in uptown Manhattan which trickled down to the barbecue event. The crowds kept coming and we passed out all of our Smithfield® pork samples and Castle Wood Reserve® meats and cheeses!

When we got to the trailer Monday morning, we found the boulders moved back and we were somewhat stuck. Since I’m now a professional driver, I threaded the eye of the needle and squeaked between the boulder and a street sign to get out. Traffic was much better early in the morning than the previous Friday afternoon. Next time we visit, I hope it’s via anything but a 40-foot BBQ trailer!

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