Basil was in hog heaven today at Pork in the Park, a barbecue competition in Stamford’s Mill River Park.
We left the chores and errands behind for a touch of smoke and spice set to some passably played ’70s funk.
It was a good time. As with all things — for me, anyway — the payoff was in people-watching. This time, Basil was terrific fodder.
He fairly vibrated with excitement as we checked out each grill and smoker. Here he is with several other smitten men, mesmerized by a particularly good beef brisket.
I almost had to remind him that it is rude to stare with one’s mouth agape.
Some of the folks were generous with the food they hadn’t shipped to the judges and put it out for passersby to try. We had some of the most finger-licking good ribs — and chicken — you can imagine, and went through a pile of napkins appreciating every bite.
Basil admired the high-end, store-bought and hand-crafted smokers; made mental notes about the rubs and marinades people were using; and asked questions of the fellows friendly enough to share their passion. A couple of the grill masters shared their “low and slow” philosophy and talked up the use of apple wood. Sadly for Basil, a good many of them didn’t invite conversation.
The food highlight for us both turned out to be the ribs Basil is eating here: Just the right mix of sweet, tangy and spicy. Turns out agave syrup is the secret ingredient to a killer sauce.
The beating sun and heat finally drove us indoors. As we wandered away from the tents, another round of pig races was starting and the covers band was playing “that funky music.”
As we left the park, we made special note of these words to live by.