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As I write this, NYC's inimitable Big Apple Barbecue Block Party is 14 days and 9 hours away (there’s a Countdown to ‘Cue on the website). This year's event, on June 13-14 at Madison Square Park, will boast more top pitmasters than ever before—15 of them, including newcomers like Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint of Nashville. Returning favorite Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama will serve his legendary pulled pork (dubbed best in the country by the Wall Street Journal). “It’s definitely crazy fun,” Lilly says. He'll start slow-cooking 3,000 pounds of pork shoulder at 7 pm on the Friday before the event. Does he plan to stay up all night? “That depends how good the party is,” he says.
So even though the bbq-fest is still two weeks away you should start planning for it right now. Because the $100 FastPasses—which will buy you a) $100 worth of killer barbecue, beer and the cool, not-available-elsewhere-in-New-York T-shirts plus sauces that the pitmasters will bring with them; and b) express-lane access to all the food—are only on sale through May 31st at bigapplebbq.org. (Why only until May 31? To limit the number of passes sold; this year the Express Lanes really will be express.)