April 4, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Fire up the grills!
Dozens of renowned pitmasters from across the country are taking part in an all-you-can-eat and drink barbeque charity event in Astoria later this month.
The event, called the Annual Jeff Michner BBQ Benefit, will take place on April 30 and will see various pitmasters serve up a range of barbeque dishes such as briskets and ribs, burgers, chicken wings and smoked pork gumbo.
The fundraiser will take place from noon to 4 p.m. at Pig Beach BBQ, a sprawling brisket and ribs venue located at 35-33 36th St. The company was established in Brooklyn in 2015 and opened its 36th street location in October, its second restaurant.
The event is being held in honor of Jeff Michner, a former Pig Beach BBQ chef who died suddenly in 2018 at the age of 36—leaving behind a wife and 16-month-old daughter.
All proceeds from the benefit will be donated to the Jeff Michner Foundation, a New Jersey-based non-profit that was established by Michner’s family after his death.
The foundation supports families managing loss and grief by providing scholarships to graduating high school students who have a passion for cooking and/or golf. Michner was an avid golfer and chef, organizers say.
Shane McBride, co-owner of Pig Beach BBQ, said that Michner played an integral role in creating the company.
“It’s always been our goal to bring him with us every step of the way and continue honoring his legacy with this benefit,” McBride said.
“It’s going to be a big BBQ extravaganza and a great time for the whole family.”
It will be the second time the event is being held, following on from the 2019 offering that was held at Pig Beach BBQ’s Brooklyn location and raised more than $50,000 for the Jeff Michner Foundation. The event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, organizers said.
This year’s version will feature more than 25 indoor and outdoor food stations helmed by nationally recognized pitmasters such as world champion pitmasters Chris Lilly and Tuffy Stone. Lilly will be serving up his specialty barbecue gumbo made with okra croutons while Stone’s cap of rib eye — consisting of crispy bacon brown butter sauce and gastrique — will be on offer for barbeque lovers.
McBride will also be participating in the cook-up, along with Pig Beach BBQ co-owner Matt Abdoo who will serve up his brisket sandwich that is made with pickles, crispy onions and award-winning barbeque sauce.
There will also be vegan options, organizers said.
The event will feature a silent auction and a raffle where an Ole Hickory Pits smoker will be up for grabs.
Live music will include performances by singer-songwriter Lawrence Cooley, Americana band Hopefully Forgiven as well as pop singer Cole Lumpkins.
Tickets are priced at $100 each online, or $125 at the door.
VIP tickets are priced at $200 each, which entitles holders to early entry and a meet and greet session with the pitmasters.
All ticket holders will get unlimited food and drinks.