Blue Smoke's Pulled Pork Sandwich at CitiField

This past weekend, Shaun and I took the trip out to Citifield for a little Mets-Astros action. Though you may recall that Shaun and I call different sports teams our own, when in New York, I'm always rooting for New York, even if it's the Mets and not my beloved Yankees. It should come as little surprise that my favorite part of the ball park are the eats. In fact, I did a whole post about ball park eats last spring. And while my favorite ballpark fare typically revolves around soft serve vanilla ice cream in a souvenir helmet cup, when Shaun surprised me with a pulled pork sandwich from the Blue Smoke stand, I couldn't resist getting a shot of it in all its barbecued glory.

Tender pulled pork, smokey barbecue sauce and a thick brioche bun made this a sandwich for the record books. Who says ball park fare can't be gourmet? Oh, and the dill pickles didn't hurt either.

But what I really want to know is, what do you eat at the ball park? Do you stick to traditional fare, like hot dogs and beer? Or would you be willing to brave the extensive Shake Shack line just for an artisinal burger?

Big Appetites Only at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party

On Sunday, I attended the much-hyped (by me) Big Apple BBQ Block Party where I battled crowds and ate pulled pork until my insides cried out in despair. It was a huge turnout with lines as far as the eye could see. I was lucky enough to score a free Fast Pass from a pass-carrying man who had eaten his way through the entire festival and generously gave me his as he was exiting. What did this magical pass, retailed at $100, do for me? It provided Disney World-style line cutting, exponentially improving my experience as I sailed past the long lines and into the 'Fast Pass Area'. While he had used up all of the 'money' the pass had to offer, just accessing the VIP area in itself was a treat.

Seeing pitmasters from across the nation come together for this event was fantastic. I skipped most of the New York-based offerings and went for The Pit from North Carolina (and also featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay) and Ubon's "The Champion's Choice" from Mississippi (oh, the wonderful bbq sauce...). 2 pulled pork sandwiches later, I was full and happy. Hubby went with the brisket and cucumber salad from NYC's The Hill and after a little taste testing, we decided that this is a restaurant we must try at some point. Unfortunately I didn't have the will power to keep eating...but that's what next year is for, right?

I report live from Big Apple BBQ!

I heart barbeque! Especially pulled pork!

The fest entrance at Madison Square Park

A man from Rack of Ribs giving out free (and fantastic) rib samples!

Multiple bands played throughout the day...bluegrass, folk, & country style!

Ubon's "The Champion's Choice" pulled pork & pick for best bbq sauce!

The Hill's BBQ'd brisket & cucumber salad...yum!

The Pit truck, featuring Ed Mitchell, Throwdown with Bobby Flay champ!

Tips for next year:
1) If I plan to make a weekend of it, getting the Fast Pass seems worth it. The lines were way longer outside of the VIP area, and the pass came with some punchable pig icons denoting spending money...that's where your $100 endless amounts of pork.
2) Do a full sweep before launching in to the first sandwich you come across. While I'm sure every stand had delicious food, I went to the first stand with a reasonable line. The sandwich was great, but by the time I got to number 2, I was filled to the back of my throat.
3) This is for the BBQ Festival organizers: GET BETTER DESSERTS! The only desserts offered in the 12 block radius was at the Blue Smoke Desserts stand. If you remember this article, you'll recall that I raved about the apple crisp being one of the best I've ever had (and I've had a LOT of apple crisp). Unfortunately, the 'dessert' stand only offered watermelon, cookies, and a brownie with ice cream that looked average at best. If you want me to spend $4 on dessert after I've eaten my way through 2 pulled pork sandwiches, a strawberry iced tea, one delicious rib, a free sample bite of grilled pork, a few stolen bites of brisket from hubby's plate, and 2 side dishes of coleslaw, you're just going to have to do better than that.

Coming up:
Tonight I'm hitting up the Third Annual Food Film Fest at the South Street Seaport. Featured food films include: Come Have an Omelette With Me, Clam Pie, The Sacred Food, Celeriac, Eat Your Fill, & 24 Hours, 24 Million Meals: Feeding New York City. Free food offerings: Clam pie & Deep fried on a stick. Check back later this week for full report, pending my heart still works after deep fried food fest...