Cover image: Brisket King NYC © Kei Hayashi for WhereNYC
The crowd was surging with energy Wednesday night (4/10) as they waited outside Biba of Williamsburg for the 8th annual Brisket King competition. Chefs from all over New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and even the United Kingdom came to show off their BBQ skills. Rows of uniquely crafted brisket filled the rustic space and certainly pleased the hungry patrons.
The Brisket King NYC 2019 was Juicy Lucy BBQ from Staten Island featuring chefs Richie Holmes and Mauro Cheifari. Juicy Lucy, which is expected to open in early May on Staten Island, made a big impression at the competition with their brisket severed with an espresso barbecue sauce.
“We are just so proud and very honored to be here amongst all of these great BBQ places…Thank you guys so much, from the bottom of our hearts. We aren’t even open yet,” Holmes expressed, as they accepted the title of “best” in brisket.
Some of this year’s other chefs included Sruli Eidelman from Izzy’s Taqueria serving their brisket Taco and winning the Judges prize for “Most Creative Dish.”
Serving their brisket with Yorkshire pudding and a horseradish cream, the Judges awarded the very particular prize, “If They Had Only Won the Revolutionary War,” to chefs John Gower and John Patterson from Quiet Waters Farm, traveling from the UK to compete in the Brisket King for their second year.
Winning “Best Classic Texas BBQ” was chef Ash Fulk from Hill Country Barbecue Market dishing up brisket with pickles.
“[They] put BBQ on the map for New York City,” according to Jimmy Carbone, The Brisket King’s Event Producer.
“Thank guys. We like to smoke and cut meat,” Fulk simply stated as he collected his Judges’ Prize. There was also the legendary John Stage and Leland Avellino from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que dishing up their brisket tostada and winning the prize for “Best BBQ Innovation.”
“Many [people] started in the industry because of [Stage],” stated Carbone, and the crowd cheered in agreement.
Also contributing to the events atmosphere were the delicious sauces at Rocket Fuel Hot Sauce and Just + Add Beer Sauce, as well as the wide variety beverages, like Pig Nose Scotch Whiskey, Mezcal de Leyenda, and Romilly Cidre , Normandie, France.
This year’s People’s Choice Award and 2nd place winner of the Brisket King was Rob Cho at Kimchi Smoke.
Carbone paid tribute to Cho. “You’re a legend, man. You’ve been to so many events, [and] were just complaining because you never win anything. But you win every day. You’re the smartest guy here. You know what you’re doing. You’re showing people how to come into New York City and do a great job,”
“This one goes out to Jersey,” Cho shouted as he accepted his award[s], “We did it, finally.”
It’s undeniable how supportive the BBQ community is; whether it’s to celebrate the craft, honor the chefs, or to just enjoy eating some BBQ, the community always show up. About halfway through the event, a power outage occurred inside of Biba, and not even that could stop the people from having a good a time.
One of the most memorable prizes given out that night by the Judges was the “Hometown Hero” award. Chefs Shane McBride and Matt Abdoo from Pig Beach served the #ForChefJeff Brisket Sandwich, honoring Executive Chef Jeff Michner and bringing awareness to a fundraiser they held for his family, that following Saturday.
“A month before I was in the same hospital he was. Luckily, I made it out, [but] he didn’t.” Cabrone declared, emphasizing the importance of the community getting together to support The Jeff Michner BBQ Benefit.
And the BBQ community did just that.
So moved by the event, Pig Beach gave a little, heartfelt thank you on their website after the event: “On behalf of Jeff’s Family, Pig Beach would like to say thank you to all of you that made this event so wonderful and successful! Your support has overwhelmed us with love and gratitude and without you, this would not have been possible.”
If you came for just the BBQ, you certainly left with the feeling of being a part of a something much more.
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