Even with the waits, it's definitely an event worth trying at least once, and a great way to check out regional interpretations of BBQ. Here are some of the highlights and lowlights:
Hometown's BBQ Texas Style Beef Rib. Hometown is actually a local spot--it's a fairly new BBQ joint in Red Hook, Brooklyn. We didn't even really plan to stop there but walking by the line and seeing the amazing looking chunks of beef rib that people were walking back with made us jump right in line. It looked even better than it tasted. Smoky, beefy, and the rub was great. We actually even got some to go!
Bob Gibson's (Alabama) pulled pork was HELLA good. Maybe even the best pulled pork sandwich I remember having. Again it was tender and flavorful with just the right amount of charred bits and their famous white bbq sauce.
Ed Mitchell is also one of the biggest names in BBQ, and famous for his whole hog, which I never had. It's similar to pulled pork but uses the whole pig and all that cartilage-y goodness. Even though it wasn't served with a sauce and looked very dry it was still mighty tasty, though I preferred Bob Gibson's though.
We also tried another popular new local spot, Delaney BBQ, (Briskettown is their Williamsburg Brooklyn joint). The place is well known for beef brisket and the lines for this was actually pretty long. A lot of care was put into the brisket and sausage sandwich. The bun was toasted AND buttered. The sandwich was also served with pickled tomatoes and cukes. The only thing I would want is more brisket!
I was really unimpressed with Mike Mills' 17 Street Bar and Grill (Illinois). They were recommended but their back back ribs were nothing special...
Most things we tried were pretty good, but Martin's Whole Hog BBQ sandwich was just gross..don't let the picture fool you! The pulled whole hog had a grainy, watery texture, and reminded me of canned tuna...blech...
Two items we didn't get to try. I REALLY wanted to try the famous Salt Lick BBQ from Texas but their brisket was looking dry and sad... My brother also wanted to wait in line for fried pie (probably the only dessert stand), but the line was insane. I probably won't do the event again, but if you're a BBQ afficionado it's definitely worth trying once.