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New York's Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2011

New York's Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2011

As unsuccessful as the local Community Board Committees who tried to block it from happening earlier this year, those responsible for the weather also tried to put a damper on this year's Big Apple Barbecue Block Party with overcast skies and intermittent showers. But the smoldering coals and burning wood could not be doused and the smoke signaled the return of an event that has become as much a part of New York City as the St. Patrick's Day Parade. And in the case of BABBQP, where there's smoke, there's invariably great, great barbecue.

Pitmasters from a dozen states, as accomplished as any classically trained chefs, converged on Madison Square Park along with local barbecue greats Hill Country, Blue Smoke, Rack & Soul, and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, most of which we didn't have nine years ago when the Block Party started and to which we owe a debt of gratitude for bringing championship level barbecue to our previously smoke-deprived city. Block party hardly describes the massive proportions to which the Party has grown, covering four full blocks and spanning Madison to Fifth Avenue and all of Madison Square Park.

Focusing on the visiting pitmasters, Chris Lilly has been a pillar of the block party since its beginnings. The face associated with Big Bob Gibson comes to us from Alabama, not with a banjo on his knee, but with the best pulled pork in the country as confirmed by six Memphis in May championships — a dynasty that LeBron James can only fantasize about. I started with Chris this year as his is the longest line even for Disney, er, Big Apple BBQ Fastpass holders. And I have to say, that as great as all the other barbecue is at this event, nothing compares to Big Bob Gibson. I would also give a shout out to Chris' fellow Alabamian, Drew Robinson, whose homemade hot smoked sausages at his Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q tent were the missing links that I've been searching for all my life.

The Salt Lick was back with its own Texas red hots and barbecue brisket, the likes of which would defy comparison with the same animal being served 10 blocks north at the Second Avenue Deli. St. Louis-style spare ribs were well represented by Baker's Ribs out of Dallas and Virginia's Checkered Pig, though Pappy's Smoke House from St. Louis inexplicably served baby backs, which were equally inexplicably my favorites.

The Western Tennessee style whole hog from Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint served with sweet pickles and slaw was entirely different from Ed Mitchell's chopped apple vinegar soused sow. Mitchell, a Big Apple BBQ royal, interestingly has gotten so popular he has gone solo and is no longer affiliated with North Carolina's The Pit.

Final stop were my friends from Ubon's in Yazoo City, Miss., whose pulled pork is magical. For dessert (yes, I had dessert), a newcomer known as The Original Fried Pie Shop, with locations in Texas and Oklahoma, made fried fruit pies that invoked Hostess fruit pies but which were dripping with soulfulness. They were already sold out of blackberry and apricot, but the peach I had was like a cobbler on steroids. I'm already counting the days to next year's BABBQBP.


Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

If you are into the whole NYC dining scene at all, this is nothing new or revolutionary. People have been raving about the Black Label Burger at Greenwich Village’s Minetta Tavern for years now. But for one lame reason or another, I joined the party late.

I knew about the burger. I dreamt about the day we would meet.

There are meals that are easily forgotten. Enjoyable, but not remembered. But then, once in a while, there are those rare moments that you take a bite and instantly realize this is a moment you will cherish always. A taste that will linger in your memory for your entire life. And that’s exactly what will happen at your first Black Label Burger experience.

Minetta Tavern is a classic. It dates back to the 1930s, when literary giants like Hemingway and the like went to wine and dine (and wine again) back in the day.

Owners have changed and the menu is completely different, but the look of it still maintains that old school charm.

The Black Label Burger. Meat. Caramelized Onions. Bun. That’s it.

Yes, it’s $28. Yes, it’s worth every penny. It’s better than many high-priced steaks I’ve consumed in my life.

And I know there are a lot of you out there saying, but really, $28 for a burger?!

But listen, if you were out at a restaurant and ordered a steak (and no, don’t even try to say you can get a $10 steak at Outback), that $28 price tag would look pretty reasonable.

And that’s exactly what we have here. The beef in this burger is prime, the highest quality available. And we’ve got four different cuts. Short rib. Skirt. Brisket. And the dry-aged ribeye.

The exact proportions of this Pat LaFrieda blend is top secret, of course. But it’s a blend that was apparently heavily researched and scupulously analyzed before being put in the annals of burger history.

It’s the dry-aged ribeye that really gives this burger its flavor punch. Through the dry-aging process, water within the beef evaporates and its connective tissue breaks down. This tenderizes the steak and gives it a concentrated, intensified beefy flavor.

So what does all that translate into? I don’t want to go all out and say the best burger ever, because that word is just thrown around too much and there are a ton of great burgers out there. But let’s put it this way. Asheley is not a huge burger fan. She’s never impressed by them. But she was blown away by the Black Label Burger. And impressing that critic is no easy feat.

There aren’t enough words to describe it. Juicy. Beefy. Umami-packed. Luxurious. Ethereal. Succulent.

It’s aggresively seasoned with Kosher salt and pepper and is basted in clarified butter throughout the cooking process. The caramelized onions are then heated in the beef fat left on the griddle. And the brioche-like bun has a creamy, eggy interior with just a hint of sweetness.

And just a tip for ordering. They always cook the burgers on the “light” side of what you ask for. So ordering it medium (which is what we did and you can see in the photo above) will look almost medium rare.

Yes, I’ll be going back. Yes, I’ll be getting the Black Label Burger again. And no, I will 100% not be sharing this burger with Asheley again. She can get her own.


Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

If you are into the whole NYC dining scene at all, this is nothing new or revolutionary. People have been raving about the Black Label Burger at Greenwich Village’s Minetta Tavern for years now. But for one lame reason or another, I joined the party late.

I knew about the burger. I dreamt about the day we would meet.

There are meals that are easily forgotten. Enjoyable, but not remembered. But then, once in a while, there are those rare moments that you take a bite and instantly realize this is a moment you will cherish always. A taste that will linger in your memory for your entire life. And that’s exactly what will happen at your first Black Label Burger experience.

Minetta Tavern is a classic. It dates back to the 1930s, when literary giants like Hemingway and the like went to wine and dine (and wine again) back in the day.

Owners have changed and the menu is completely different, but the look of it still maintains that old school charm.

The Black Label Burger. Meat. Caramelized Onions. Bun. That’s it.

Yes, it’s $28. Yes, it’s worth every penny. It’s better than many high-priced steaks I’ve consumed in my life.

And I know there are a lot of you out there saying, but really, $28 for a burger?!

But listen, if you were out at a restaurant and ordered a steak (and no, don’t even try to say you can get a $10 steak at Outback), that $28 price tag would look pretty reasonable.

And that’s exactly what we have here. The beef in this burger is prime, the highest quality available. And we’ve got four different cuts. Short rib. Skirt. Brisket. And the dry-aged ribeye.

The exact proportions of this Pat LaFrieda blend is top secret, of course. But it’s a blend that was apparently heavily researched and scupulously analyzed before being put in the annals of burger history.

It’s the dry-aged ribeye that really gives this burger its flavor punch. Through the dry-aging process, water within the beef evaporates and its connective tissue breaks down. This tenderizes the steak and gives it a concentrated, intensified beefy flavor.

So what does all that translate into? I don’t want to go all out and say the best burger ever, because that word is just thrown around too much and there are a ton of great burgers out there. But let’s put it this way. Asheley is not a huge burger fan. She’s never impressed by them. But she was blown away by the Black Label Burger. And impressing that critic is no easy feat.

There aren’t enough words to describe it. Juicy. Beefy. Umami-packed. Luxurious. Ethereal. Succulent.

It’s aggresively seasoned with Kosher salt and pepper and is basted in clarified butter throughout the cooking process. The caramelized onions are then heated in the beef fat left on the griddle. And the brioche-like bun has a creamy, eggy interior with just a hint of sweetness.

And just a tip for ordering. They always cook the burgers on the “light” side of what you ask for. So ordering it medium (which is what we did and you can see in the photo above) will look almost medium rare.

Yes, I’ll be going back. Yes, I’ll be getting the Black Label Burger again. And no, I will 100% not be sharing this burger with Asheley again. She can get her own.


Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

If you are into the whole NYC dining scene at all, this is nothing new or revolutionary. People have been raving about the Black Label Burger at Greenwich Village’s Minetta Tavern for years now. But for one lame reason or another, I joined the party late.

I knew about the burger. I dreamt about the day we would meet.

There are meals that are easily forgotten. Enjoyable, but not remembered. But then, once in a while, there are those rare moments that you take a bite and instantly realize this is a moment you will cherish always. A taste that will linger in your memory for your entire life. And that’s exactly what will happen at your first Black Label Burger experience.

Minetta Tavern is a classic. It dates back to the 1930s, when literary giants like Hemingway and the like went to wine and dine (and wine again) back in the day.

Owners have changed and the menu is completely different, but the look of it still maintains that old school charm.

The Black Label Burger. Meat. Caramelized Onions. Bun. That’s it.

Yes, it’s $28. Yes, it’s worth every penny. It’s better than many high-priced steaks I’ve consumed in my life.

And I know there are a lot of you out there saying, but really, $28 for a burger?!

But listen, if you were out at a restaurant and ordered a steak (and no, don’t even try to say you can get a $10 steak at Outback), that $28 price tag would look pretty reasonable.

And that’s exactly what we have here. The beef in this burger is prime, the highest quality available. And we’ve got four different cuts. Short rib. Skirt. Brisket. And the dry-aged ribeye.

The exact proportions of this Pat LaFrieda blend is top secret, of course. But it’s a blend that was apparently heavily researched and scupulously analyzed before being put in the annals of burger history.

It’s the dry-aged ribeye that really gives this burger its flavor punch. Through the dry-aging process, water within the beef evaporates and its connective tissue breaks down. This tenderizes the steak and gives it a concentrated, intensified beefy flavor.

So what does all that translate into? I don’t want to go all out and say the best burger ever, because that word is just thrown around too much and there are a ton of great burgers out there. But let’s put it this way. Asheley is not a huge burger fan. She’s never impressed by them. But she was blown away by the Black Label Burger. And impressing that critic is no easy feat.

There aren’t enough words to describe it. Juicy. Beefy. Umami-packed. Luxurious. Ethereal. Succulent.

It’s aggresively seasoned with Kosher salt and pepper and is basted in clarified butter throughout the cooking process. The caramelized onions are then heated in the beef fat left on the griddle. And the brioche-like bun has a creamy, eggy interior with just a hint of sweetness.

And just a tip for ordering. They always cook the burgers on the “light” side of what you ask for. So ordering it medium (which is what we did and you can see in the photo above) will look almost medium rare.

Yes, I’ll be going back. Yes, I’ll be getting the Black Label Burger again. And no, I will 100% not be sharing this burger with Asheley again. She can get her own.


Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

If you are into the whole NYC dining scene at all, this is nothing new or revolutionary. People have been raving about the Black Label Burger at Greenwich Village’s Minetta Tavern for years now. But for one lame reason or another, I joined the party late.

I knew about the burger. I dreamt about the day we would meet.

There are meals that are easily forgotten. Enjoyable, but not remembered. But then, once in a while, there are those rare moments that you take a bite and instantly realize this is a moment you will cherish always. A taste that will linger in your memory for your entire life. And that’s exactly what will happen at your first Black Label Burger experience.

Minetta Tavern is a classic. It dates back to the 1930s, when literary giants like Hemingway and the like went to wine and dine (and wine again) back in the day.

Owners have changed and the menu is completely different, but the look of it still maintains that old school charm.

The Black Label Burger. Meat. Caramelized Onions. Bun. That’s it.

Yes, it’s $28. Yes, it’s worth every penny. It’s better than many high-priced steaks I’ve consumed in my life.

And I know there are a lot of you out there saying, but really, $28 for a burger?!

But listen, if you were out at a restaurant and ordered a steak (and no, don’t even try to say you can get a $10 steak at Outback), that $28 price tag would look pretty reasonable.

And that’s exactly what we have here. The beef in this burger is prime, the highest quality available. And we’ve got four different cuts. Short rib. Skirt. Brisket. And the dry-aged ribeye.

The exact proportions of this Pat LaFrieda blend is top secret, of course. But it’s a blend that was apparently heavily researched and scupulously analyzed before being put in the annals of burger history.

It’s the dry-aged ribeye that really gives this burger its flavor punch. Through the dry-aging process, water within the beef evaporates and its connective tissue breaks down. This tenderizes the steak and gives it a concentrated, intensified beefy flavor.

So what does all that translate into? I don’t want to go all out and say the best burger ever, because that word is just thrown around too much and there are a ton of great burgers out there. But let’s put it this way. Asheley is not a huge burger fan. She’s never impressed by them. But she was blown away by the Black Label Burger. And impressing that critic is no easy feat.

There aren’t enough words to describe it. Juicy. Beefy. Umami-packed. Luxurious. Ethereal. Succulent.

It’s aggresively seasoned with Kosher salt and pepper and is basted in clarified butter throughout the cooking process. The caramelized onions are then heated in the beef fat left on the griddle. And the brioche-like bun has a creamy, eggy interior with just a hint of sweetness.

And just a tip for ordering. They always cook the burgers on the “light” side of what you ask for. So ordering it medium (which is what we did and you can see in the photo above) will look almost medium rare.

Yes, I’ll be going back. Yes, I’ll be getting the Black Label Burger again. And no, I will 100% not be sharing this burger with Asheley again. She can get her own.


Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

If you are into the whole NYC dining scene at all, this is nothing new or revolutionary. People have been raving about the Black Label Burger at Greenwich Village’s Minetta Tavern for years now. But for one lame reason or another, I joined the party late.

I knew about the burger. I dreamt about the day we would meet.

There are meals that are easily forgotten. Enjoyable, but not remembered. But then, once in a while, there are those rare moments that you take a bite and instantly realize this is a moment you will cherish always. A taste that will linger in your memory for your entire life. And that’s exactly what will happen at your first Black Label Burger experience.

Minetta Tavern is a classic. It dates back to the 1930s, when literary giants like Hemingway and the like went to wine and dine (and wine again) back in the day.

Owners have changed and the menu is completely different, but the look of it still maintains that old school charm.

The Black Label Burger. Meat. Caramelized Onions. Bun. That’s it.

Yes, it’s $28. Yes, it’s worth every penny. It’s better than many high-priced steaks I’ve consumed in my life.

And I know there are a lot of you out there saying, but really, $28 for a burger?!

But listen, if you were out at a restaurant and ordered a steak (and no, don’t even try to say you can get a $10 steak at Outback), that $28 price tag would look pretty reasonable.

And that’s exactly what we have here. The beef in this burger is prime, the highest quality available. And we’ve got four different cuts. Short rib. Skirt. Brisket. And the dry-aged ribeye.

The exact proportions of this Pat LaFrieda blend is top secret, of course. But it’s a blend that was apparently heavily researched and scupulously analyzed before being put in the annals of burger history.

It’s the dry-aged ribeye that really gives this burger its flavor punch. Through the dry-aging process, water within the beef evaporates and its connective tissue breaks down. This tenderizes the steak and gives it a concentrated, intensified beefy flavor.

So what does all that translate into? I don’t want to go all out and say the best burger ever, because that word is just thrown around too much and there are a ton of great burgers out there. But let’s put it this way. Asheley is not a huge burger fan. She’s never impressed by them. But she was blown away by the Black Label Burger. And impressing that critic is no easy feat.

There aren’t enough words to describe it. Juicy. Beefy. Umami-packed. Luxurious. Ethereal. Succulent.

It’s aggresively seasoned with Kosher salt and pepper and is basted in clarified butter throughout the cooking process. The caramelized onions are then heated in the beef fat left on the griddle. And the brioche-like bun has a creamy, eggy interior with just a hint of sweetness.

And just a tip for ordering. They always cook the burgers on the “light” side of what you ask for. So ordering it medium (which is what we did and you can see in the photo above) will look almost medium rare.

Yes, I’ll be going back. Yes, I’ll be getting the Black Label Burger again. And no, I will 100% not be sharing this burger with Asheley again. She can get her own.


Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

If you are into the whole NYC dining scene at all, this is nothing new or revolutionary. People have been raving about the Black Label Burger at Greenwich Village’s Minetta Tavern for years now. But for one lame reason or another, I joined the party late.

I knew about the burger. I dreamt about the day we would meet.

There are meals that are easily forgotten. Enjoyable, but not remembered. But then, once in a while, there are those rare moments that you take a bite and instantly realize this is a moment you will cherish always. A taste that will linger in your memory for your entire life. And that’s exactly what will happen at your first Black Label Burger experience.

Minetta Tavern is a classic. It dates back to the 1930s, when literary giants like Hemingway and the like went to wine and dine (and wine again) back in the day.

Owners have changed and the menu is completely different, but the look of it still maintains that old school charm.

The Black Label Burger. Meat. Caramelized Onions. Bun. That’s it.

Yes, it’s $28. Yes, it’s worth every penny. It’s better than many high-priced steaks I’ve consumed in my life.

And I know there are a lot of you out there saying, but really, $28 for a burger?!

But listen, if you were out at a restaurant and ordered a steak (and no, don’t even try to say you can get a $10 steak at Outback), that $28 price tag would look pretty reasonable.

And that’s exactly what we have here. The beef in this burger is prime, the highest quality available. And we’ve got four different cuts. Short rib. Skirt. Brisket. And the dry-aged ribeye.

The exact proportions of this Pat LaFrieda blend is top secret, of course. But it’s a blend that was apparently heavily researched and scupulously analyzed before being put in the annals of burger history.

It’s the dry-aged ribeye that really gives this burger its flavor punch. Through the dry-aging process, water within the beef evaporates and its connective tissue breaks down. This tenderizes the steak and gives it a concentrated, intensified beefy flavor.

So what does all that translate into? I don’t want to go all out and say the best burger ever, because that word is just thrown around too much and there are a ton of great burgers out there. But let’s put it this way. Asheley is not a huge burger fan. She’s never impressed by them. But she was blown away by the Black Label Burger. And impressing that critic is no easy feat.

There aren’t enough words to describe it. Juicy. Beefy. Umami-packed. Luxurious. Ethereal. Succulent.

It’s aggresively seasoned with Kosher salt and pepper and is basted in clarified butter throughout the cooking process. The caramelized onions are then heated in the beef fat left on the griddle. And the brioche-like bun has a creamy, eggy interior with just a hint of sweetness.

And just a tip for ordering. They always cook the burgers on the “light” side of what you ask for. So ordering it medium (which is what we did and you can see in the photo above) will look almost medium rare.

Yes, I’ll be going back. Yes, I’ll be getting the Black Label Burger again. And no, I will 100% not be sharing this burger with Asheley again. She can get her own.


Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

If you are into the whole NYC dining scene at all, this is nothing new or revolutionary. People have been raving about the Black Label Burger at Greenwich Village’s Minetta Tavern for years now. But for one lame reason or another, I joined the party late.

I knew about the burger. I dreamt about the day we would meet.

There are meals that are easily forgotten. Enjoyable, but not remembered. But then, once in a while, there are those rare moments that you take a bite and instantly realize this is a moment you will cherish always. A taste that will linger in your memory for your entire life. And that’s exactly what will happen at your first Black Label Burger experience.

Minetta Tavern is a classic. It dates back to the 1930s, when literary giants like Hemingway and the like went to wine and dine (and wine again) back in the day.

Owners have changed and the menu is completely different, but the look of it still maintains that old school charm.

The Black Label Burger. Meat. Caramelized Onions. Bun. That’s it.

Yes, it’s $28. Yes, it’s worth every penny. It’s better than many high-priced steaks I’ve consumed in my life.

And I know there are a lot of you out there saying, but really, $28 for a burger?!

But listen, if you were out at a restaurant and ordered a steak (and no, don’t even try to say you can get a $10 steak at Outback), that $28 price tag would look pretty reasonable.

And that’s exactly what we have here. The beef in this burger is prime, the highest quality available. And we’ve got four different cuts. Short rib. Skirt. Brisket. And the dry-aged ribeye.

The exact proportions of this Pat LaFrieda blend is top secret, of course. But it’s a blend that was apparently heavily researched and scupulously analyzed before being put in the annals of burger history.

It’s the dry-aged ribeye that really gives this burger its flavor punch. Through the dry-aging process, water within the beef evaporates and its connective tissue breaks down. This tenderizes the steak and gives it a concentrated, intensified beefy flavor.

So what does all that translate into? I don’t want to go all out and say the best burger ever, because that word is just thrown around too much and there are a ton of great burgers out there. But let’s put it this way. Asheley is not a huge burger fan. She’s never impressed by them. But she was blown away by the Black Label Burger. And impressing that critic is no easy feat.

There aren’t enough words to describe it. Juicy. Beefy. Umami-packed. Luxurious. Ethereal. Succulent.

It’s aggresively seasoned with Kosher salt and pepper and is basted in clarified butter throughout the cooking process. The caramelized onions are then heated in the beef fat left on the griddle. And the brioche-like bun has a creamy, eggy interior with just a hint of sweetness.

And just a tip for ordering. They always cook the burgers on the “light” side of what you ask for. So ordering it medium (which is what we did and you can see in the photo above) will look almost medium rare.

Yes, I’ll be going back. Yes, I’ll be getting the Black Label Burger again. And no, I will 100% not be sharing this burger with Asheley again. She can get her own.


Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

If you are into the whole NYC dining scene at all, this is nothing new or revolutionary. People have been raving about the Black Label Burger at Greenwich Village’s Minetta Tavern for years now. But for one lame reason or another, I joined the party late.

I knew about the burger. I dreamt about the day we would meet.

There are meals that are easily forgotten. Enjoyable, but not remembered. But then, once in a while, there are those rare moments that you take a bite and instantly realize this is a moment you will cherish always. A taste that will linger in your memory for your entire life. And that’s exactly what will happen at your first Black Label Burger experience.

Minetta Tavern is a classic. It dates back to the 1930s, when literary giants like Hemingway and the like went to wine and dine (and wine again) back in the day.

Owners have changed and the menu is completely different, but the look of it still maintains that old school charm.

The Black Label Burger. Meat. Caramelized Onions. Bun. That’s it.

Yes, it’s $28. Yes, it’s worth every penny. It’s better than many high-priced steaks I’ve consumed in my life.

And I know there are a lot of you out there saying, but really, $28 for a burger?!

But listen, if you were out at a restaurant and ordered a steak (and no, don’t even try to say you can get a $10 steak at Outback), that $28 price tag would look pretty reasonable.

And that’s exactly what we have here. The beef in this burger is prime, the highest quality available. And we’ve got four different cuts. Short rib. Skirt. Brisket. And the dry-aged ribeye.

The exact proportions of this Pat LaFrieda blend is top secret, of course. But it’s a blend that was apparently heavily researched and scupulously analyzed before being put in the annals of burger history.

It’s the dry-aged ribeye that really gives this burger its flavor punch. Through the dry-aging process, water within the beef evaporates and its connective tissue breaks down. This tenderizes the steak and gives it a concentrated, intensified beefy flavor.

So what does all that translate into? I don’t want to go all out and say the best burger ever, because that word is just thrown around too much and there are a ton of great burgers out there. But let’s put it this way. Asheley is not a huge burger fan. She’s never impressed by them. But she was blown away by the Black Label Burger. And impressing that critic is no easy feat.

There aren’t enough words to describe it. Juicy. Beefy. Umami-packed. Luxurious. Ethereal. Succulent.

It’s aggresively seasoned with Kosher salt and pepper and is basted in clarified butter throughout the cooking process. The caramelized onions are then heated in the beef fat left on the griddle. And the brioche-like bun has a creamy, eggy interior with just a hint of sweetness.

And just a tip for ordering. They always cook the burgers on the “light” side of what you ask for. So ordering it medium (which is what we did and you can see in the photo above) will look almost medium rare.

Yes, I’ll be going back. Yes, I’ll be getting the Black Label Burger again. And no, I will 100% not be sharing this burger with Asheley again. She can get her own.


Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

If you are into the whole NYC dining scene at all, this is nothing new or revolutionary. People have been raving about the Black Label Burger at Greenwich Village’s Minetta Tavern for years now. But for one lame reason or another, I joined the party late.

I knew about the burger. I dreamt about the day we would meet.

There are meals that are easily forgotten. Enjoyable, but not remembered. But then, once in a while, there are those rare moments that you take a bite and instantly realize this is a moment you will cherish always. A taste that will linger in your memory for your entire life. And that’s exactly what will happen at your first Black Label Burger experience.

Minetta Tavern is a classic. It dates back to the 1930s, when literary giants like Hemingway and the like went to wine and dine (and wine again) back in the day.

Owners have changed and the menu is completely different, but the look of it still maintains that old school charm.

The Black Label Burger. Meat. Caramelized Onions. Bun. That’s it.

Yes, it’s $28. Yes, it’s worth every penny. It’s better than many high-priced steaks I’ve consumed in my life.

And I know there are a lot of you out there saying, but really, $28 for a burger?!

But listen, if you were out at a restaurant and ordered a steak (and no, don’t even try to say you can get a $10 steak at Outback), that $28 price tag would look pretty reasonable.

And that’s exactly what we have here. The beef in this burger is prime, the highest quality available. And we’ve got four different cuts. Short rib. Skirt. Brisket. And the dry-aged ribeye.

The exact proportions of this Pat LaFrieda blend is top secret, of course. But it’s a blend that was apparently heavily researched and scupulously analyzed before being put in the annals of burger history.

It’s the dry-aged ribeye that really gives this burger its flavor punch. Through the dry-aging process, water within the beef evaporates and its connective tissue breaks down. This tenderizes the steak and gives it a concentrated, intensified beefy flavor.

So what does all that translate into? I don’t want to go all out and say the best burger ever, because that word is just thrown around too much and there are a ton of great burgers out there. But let’s put it this way. Asheley is not a huge burger fan. She’s never impressed by them. But she was blown away by the Black Label Burger. And impressing that critic is no easy feat.

There aren’t enough words to describe it. Juicy. Beefy. Umami-packed. Luxurious. Ethereal. Succulent.

It’s aggresively seasoned with Kosher salt and pepper and is basted in clarified butter throughout the cooking process. The caramelized onions are then heated in the beef fat left on the griddle. And the brioche-like bun has a creamy, eggy interior with just a hint of sweetness.

And just a tip for ordering. They always cook the burgers on the “light” side of what you ask for. So ordering it medium (which is what we did and you can see in the photo above) will look almost medium rare.

Yes, I’ll be going back. Yes, I’ll be getting the Black Label Burger again. And no, I will 100% not be sharing this burger with Asheley again. She can get her own.


Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern

If you are into the whole NYC dining scene at all, this is nothing new or revolutionary. People have been raving about the Black Label Burger at Greenwich Village’s Minetta Tavern for years now. But for one lame reason or another, I joined the party late.

I knew about the burger. I dreamt about the day we would meet.

There are meals that are easily forgotten. Enjoyable, but not remembered. But then, once in a while, there are those rare moments that you take a bite and instantly realize this is a moment you will cherish always. A taste that will linger in your memory for your entire life. And that’s exactly what will happen at your first Black Label Burger experience.

Minetta Tavern is a classic. It dates back to the 1930s, when literary giants like Hemingway and the like went to wine and dine (and wine again) back in the day.

Owners have changed and the menu is completely different, but the look of it still maintains that old school charm.

The Black Label Burger. Meat. Caramelized Onions. Bun. That’s it.

Yes, it’s $28. Yes, it’s worth every penny. It’s better than many high-priced steaks I’ve consumed in my life.

And I know there are a lot of you out there saying, but really, $28 for a burger?!

But listen, if you were out at a restaurant and ordered a steak (and no, don’t even try to say you can get a $10 steak at Outback), that $28 price tag would look pretty reasonable.

And that’s exactly what we have here. The beef in this burger is prime, the highest quality available. And we’ve got four different cuts. Short rib. Skirt. Brisket. And the dry-aged ribeye.

The exact proportions of this Pat LaFrieda blend is top secret, of course. But it’s a blend that was apparently heavily researched and scupulously analyzed before being put in the annals of burger history.

It’s the dry-aged ribeye that really gives this burger its flavor punch. Through the dry-aging process, water within the beef evaporates and its connective tissue breaks down. This tenderizes the steak and gives it a concentrated, intensified beefy flavor.

So what does all that translate into? I don’t want to go all out and say the best burger ever, because that word is just thrown around too much and there are a ton of great burgers out there. But let’s put it this way. Asheley is not a huge burger fan. She’s never impressed by them. But she was blown away by the Black Label Burger. And impressing that critic is no easy feat.

There aren’t enough words to describe it. Juicy. Beefy. Umami-packed. Luxurious. Ethereal. Succulent.

It’s aggresively seasoned with Kosher salt and pepper and is basted in clarified butter throughout the cooking process. The caramelized onions are then heated in the beef fat left on the griddle. And the brioche-like bun has a creamy, eggy interior with just a hint of sweetness.

And just a tip for ordering. They always cook the burgers on the “light” side of what you ask for. So ordering it medium (which is what we did and you can see in the photo above) will look almost medium rare.

Yes, I’ll be going back. Yes, I’ll be getting the Black Label Burger again. And no, I will 100% not be sharing this burger with Asheley again. She can get her own.


Watch the video: Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2015! (October 2021).