highlights from P.I.G. (Pork Is Good) #7
Seven years ago, about twenty-five folks gathered at the Harvey Seeds American Legion Hall for a celebration of all things porcine, orchestrated by Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog, and P.I.G. (Pork Is Good) was born. I faithfully reported on the event here. Jeremiah's done P.I.G. every year since, and every year it's gotten bigger and better. No longer a one man show, the event now brings together dozens of my favorite chefs in South Florida, plus some special out of town VIPs, and hundreds of attendees. I have repeatedly said that this is my favorite food event of the year, and the latest iteration only validates that.
There were so many stations this year that I couldn't make my way to all of them, but here are some highlights:
(You can see all my pictures in this P.I.G. 7 flickr set).
Aaron Brooks of Edge Steak with some fire-roasted pork belly, served on a blood and black olive flatbread baked on the embers, topped with pork fat tahina, pomegranate chermoula, and hot pink pickles (that's Michael Schwartz trying to steal the recipe).
As Mike Pirolo of Macchialina watches, Craig Giunta's cutting the cheese (caciocavallo warmed over charcoal) to top this pork sandwich doused with salsa verde and hot pepper relish. (Yes, I will keep on making "cutting the cheese" jokes until someone makes me stop.)
Niven Patel is close to opening his farm-to-table Indian restaurant, Ghee, down in Dadeland. His coconut braised pork belly, served on a fenugreek roti with home-made yogurt and pickles, is giving me good reason to make the trip down south when it opens.
I couldn't catch Phuket Thongsodchaveondee of Cake Thai Kitchen without his head down working, but I did catch his sun-dried pork cheek jerky, accompanied by shrimp fat rice with salted duck egg yolks (and, for those with sufficient heat tolerance, a fresh Thai chile to chew on).
Craig Diehl, of Cypress in Charleston, makes charcuterie that will make your mind melt. His station was already pretty picked over by the time I got there, but I did get to try the two pâtés en croûte he prepared, and they were incredible.
That's Kurtis Jantz plating Chef Jeremiah's persimmon-glazed pig face buns, served with some trotter stock braised mustard greens and escabeche sweet potatoes.
Brian Mullins of Ms. Cheezious was serving a "Ms. McRibz" sandwich with smoked ribs, pickles and shaved onions that was a vast improvement over the mystery meat original.
Here's Janine Denetdeel, CDC at Talde Miami Beach, serving Cantonese roast pork with plum sauce and chives, as Dale Talde was busy yakking away with Chef Jeremiah.
Steve Santana of Taquiza was serving these thick masa crisps, topped with pork carnitas, a ruddy salsa, home-made pickles and chicharron crumbles.
Patrick Rebholz, who is now with the 50 Eggs group (Yardbird, Swine, etc.), showed up with what he called "swineroni," pork grilled on a stick and topped with a tobacco mayonnaise and green tomato kimchi.
When I saw Kyle Foster (who cooked our very first Cobaya dinner with Andrea Curto-Randazzo back in 2009) a couple years ago at P.I.G. #5, he'd just gotten married. This time around, he just had a baby, and is about to open his own restaurant, Julep, in Denver. It's great seeing the kids grow up. This time, he was serving sandwiches with fat slabs of house-made bologna and a butter bean chow chow relish.
After last week's horror, I said here "I just want to stuff my face and spend time with people I care about." Well, mission accomplished. The food at P.I.G. this weekend was great. But it was particularly restorative and heartening to spend time with so many good people. So to everyone with whom I shared a hug, or a drink, or some words of commiseration, or just a smile – thank you.