If it’s January in New York City, that means the annual ‘Beer Bourbon & BBQ’ culinary extravaganza will be taking place, allowing folks from the greater New York area (and regions besides) to flock to The Tunnel at 608 West 28 Street in West Chelsea to fulfil the appetite of their ‘Inner Redneck.” Happening on January 26th, the theme for 2019 is ‘BEAST MODE. TASTE IT. SIP IT. PORK IT’ (which has been trademarked by presenters the Trigger Agency to mark the occasion), and it is an apropos coinage for the opening event of a series that is staged throughout various cities across the eastern seaboard over the year, from Florida to New York.
As always, there are a number of options for foodies to go into beast mode. There are two primary tasting sessions: ‘The Bacon and the Beast!’ running from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM; and ‘The Whole Hog Pickin’ Session’ happening from 5:30-9:30 PM (prices for each are $115 and $99 respectively). The early ‘beast’ session will be featuring some new and special additions to the usual swine-centric selections on the food menu – including alligator (does it really taste like chicken?), lamb, bison, longhorn rounds, and “much more”. Since tickets are limited, and the event regularly sells out, early purchase is recommended, and merits attendees a souvenir glass and bag. Food tastings will be presented by event pit masters, as well as some of Gotham’s finest BBQ and southern cuisine-themed restaurants, featuring pulled pork, ribs, briskets and related dishes. The ‘Shrine of Swine’, whole hog roasts at both sessions, will be back, and so too will the Bacon Eating Contests for those brave enough to test the limits of their carrying capacity (and perhaps get into training for the Fourth of July).
Of course, the first two items denoted in the event name – beer & bourbon – will be poured in copious amounts, as will other beverages. Previous events have featured more than 60 beers and more than 40 bourbons on offer; as vendors are constantly being added, one should check the event website for up-to-date information regarding these. In addition to the hot and fresh food presented, there is always packaged delicacies available – such as jerkys and other smoked meats, hot sauces and other edibles – some arrive prepared with an open palate; also available will be BBQ accessories, and there usually are some cigar-makers in the house too.
As in past years, Handsome Devil and Kloby’s Smokehouse will be presenting special BBQ for both sessions, and these will include alligator, longhorn rounds, bison steamship rounds and whole leg of lamb, in addition to the customary whole hogs. There will also once again be seminars led by experts in the spirits field. At both early and late sessions there will be Bulleit Bourbon Cultural Ambassador Adam Geissler conducting a tasting of their fine products, as well as a ‘High End’ seminar which is to include several different spirits. Music will be provided throughout the day by DJ Flava.
For veterans, Military Discounts are available, under the Troopswap ID.me program. If you qualify, visit the tickets page on www.drinkeatrelax.com, add the selected purchase item to your cart, and when viewing your cart click on the red logo ‘troopid’ in the left-hand corner of the page, which will direct you a new window which allows you to enter your military information; upon doing this the discount will be applied automatically.