What exactly drives many chefs' obsession with cooking meat?
That's what The Daily Meal set out to discover at Thrillist's BBQ and The Blues event last night, part of the 2012 New York City Wine & Food Festival.
The Daily Meal asked chefs, "What do you love about cooking barbecue?" The answers centered mostly around pork, people, and brisket, and roughly in that order in terms of popularity. Rocco DiSpirito, who hosted the event, and 14 other chefs set up tasting tables, helping to raise $50,000 to help end hunger in New York City through Food Bank NYC and also for Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign.
Was it crowded? Yes — it was like being anywhere else in New York City on a Friday night — standing room only. Was it worth it? Absolutely. On the first floor, which admittedly was a bit of a boiler room, meat lovers crowded around Dinosaur Bar-B-Que's stand for Pulled Pork Minis with Sweet and Sour Slaw (pictured at left), conveniently located right next to Rocco DiSpirito's highly coveted Tomato and Balsamic Barbecue Beef Brisket Sandwich (pictured at right). (Photos courtesy of Will Budiaman)
On the second floor, things really opened up. There was a blues band playing in the background, and more room to maneuver — probably owing to the fact that the second floor was a bit hidden away. That was too bad for the kind folks from Wildwood Barbecue, but a win for those who bothered to come upstairs. That's because there was more of their excellent Smoked Short Ribs with Sharp Cheddar Grits, Red Currant Barbecue Sauce, and Radish Sprouts to go around, easily the best item of the night. Juicy, tender meat with just the right amount of fat was served with a sauce that complemented the rich flavors well, and a side of grits that was remarkably cheesy — in a good way, of course. It was worth coming upstairs all on its own.
Be sure to check back later this week for recipes for The Daily Meal's favorite dishes from the New York City Wine & Food Festival.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.