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  • Jamie Sorcher

Taking a bite out of the Big Apple Barbecue

Weber Kevin KolmanWeber Grill Master Kevin Kolman led a grilling class during the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.
NEW YORK - While May 1 marked the kick-off to National Barbecue Month, things are heating up as grilling events take place like the one held last weekend in New York City.

The 11th annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, held in Madison Square Park, celebrates the best of American barbecue and music with 17 award-winning pit masters representing 10 states and Southern-inspired cooking demonstrations and seminars. One of the major sponsors-and the exclusive grill partner-was Weber.

Casual Living enjoyed the opportunity to not only walk around the Big Apple Barbecue and sample some (messy, but tasty) St. Louis-style ribs from the Checkered Pig, but also to participate in one of the grilling classes hosted by Weber throughout the two-day event.

Led by Weber Grill Master Kevin Kolman, the grilling class on Sunday, June 9, allowed us to "test drive" a Weber Spirit series two-burner grill and make some grilled steak tacos with fresh guacamole. Under Kolman's direction, we learned the tips and techniques to successfully grill a meal.

Checkered PigBarbecue offerings at the event included St. Louis-style ribs from the Checkered Pig.
"If you have a good piece of meat, the grill is more important," Kolman said. "If you have a great piece of meat, the grill is more important. Barbecue is an aphrodisiac and white smoke is your friend."

It was the first year for Weber to participate in the event, according to Brooke Jones, director of marketing for Weber-Stephen Products. "We are pleased with the turnout and the kind of involvement Weber had during the event," she said on Sunday when the park was packed with curiosity seekers, cooking enthusiasts and families.

The event began a decade ago in front of the Blue Smoke restaurant to introduce New Yorkers to the pleasures of authentic regional barbecue. The event this year drew quite an eclectic crowd, too, according to Tom Wenke, senior vice president of sales for Weber-Stephen, who was stationed at the company's booth where a range of grills were on display.

"We are seeing consumers not only from New York, but from all over the world so it is quite a melting pot," he said. "It's giving us and the brand great exposure. We are able to direct people who have been asking where they can buy our grills to local stores like Gracious Home and P.C. Richards, but for those out of the area we are telling them to go on the Weber website, type in a zip code and use the retail locator. We will definitely be doing this again next year."

 

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