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Mike Mills

Fire ‘n Smoke Stoke Interest
In Jazz At Lincoln Center

By Edward T. Callaghan

HE legendary barbecue pitmaster Mike Mills told us all you need for a great barbecue were ”fire, smoke and water.”

The fire and smoke were there courtesy of America’s greatest barbecue kings and queens and Mother Nature hailed their arrival with sporadic, massive downpours.  Still, the 1st Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party on East 27th Street was a smokin’ success and is sure to reign again for years to come.

Blue Smoke restaurant, the Jazz Standard and the Union Square Hospitality Group decided to have an all-American barbecue.

Never to do things in a small way, restaurateurs Danny Meyer and Michael Romano invited all to sample a rich array of regional barbecue from the country’s top pitmasters (that’s the barbecue world ‘s equivalent of executive chef).

North Carolina’s Ed Mitchell and a crew of some 35 family, friends and fellow churchgoers pulled in with a tractor trailer bearing the family’s portraits on the side and their treasured barbecue inside.

Ken Callaghan, Blue Smoke’s New York executive chef, went through 3,000 chickens that weekend and ignored the downpours claiming it would “help smoke the pits.” Ken served up the smokiest, most succulent birds and best potato salad in town.

Rick Schmidt, leading the family-run Kreuz Market from Lockhart, Texas, spiced things up with pickled jalapeno peppers with beef shoulder.

Alabama was represented by Big Bob Gibson Bar-b-q and their spicy beans!

Smokin’ food wasn’t the only item on the menu.  There was continuous live jazz by musicians from New Orleans, Kansas City, St Louis and New York.

Bob Belden wailed on his sax, The Fins set the crowd to dancing in the streets, and Bernard Purdie with The Hudson River Rats kept the “groove” going.

Outstanding were the sounds of Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, under the direction of David O’Rourke, that knocked everyone out.  Formed only six months ago, the orchestra connects New York City school children and the jazz art form in a hands-on manner that has a lasting impact.

Proceeds from the event are earmarked for Jazz at Lincoln Center and Music Maker Relief fund.  Blue Smoke Co-owner Danny Meyer hopes “to promote the cultural value of American barbecue and launch an annual tradition in the Big Apple.”

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