Smoke filled the air with the sweet-alluring smell of barbecue. I reached the park around 2:30 p.m., and with the impending rain, there was actually some room to move around.
At $8 a plate, and the beers at $6, fourteen buckaroos would get you a suitably saucy lunch. (Admission was free, so if you just wanted to listen to the music and grab a free sample of Makerâ€™s Mark barbecue sauce, you could have done that, too.)
I didnâ€™t have to wait in a line over 30-minutes long, so I tried a meaty pork strip steak sandwich with bourbon barbecue sauce, onions and house-made pickles from Pitmaster Big Lou Elrose of Wildwood Barbeque in NYC. I loved the spicy pickle slices and wished I would have gotten more than four of them on my plate. I also tried St. Louis-Style ribs with a divine stuffed jalapeno pepper from Pitmaster Joe Duncan of Bakerâ€™s Ribs in Dallas. And Although I love Virgilâ€™s in Times Square, it was fun to eat barbecue outdoors in the city.
Heartland Brewery was there and I tried a couple of beers, Indiana Pale Ale and Buffalo Bock. The Indiana Pale Ale was especially tart. In the sprinkling rain with beer-in-hand I caught a little of Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band, and dug the mellow sound of the band. Just as they finished their set, bigger rain drops started to fall, and it felt like a good time to go home and take a nap.