Sunday marked the first-annual All-Star Cochon 555. Perhaps inevitably, this over-the-top love letter to all things pork was held in Vegas, the capital of over-the-top decadence, at the new Cosmopolitan Hotel. Winners and fan-favorites of Cochon 555, the traveling snout-to-tail pig cook-off, converged to show off their best swine bites, both savory and sweet.
Various forms of cracklings were popular, popping up as a garnish on everything from salads to ice cream sandwiches, and even as a nitro raspberry-infused chicharrón, which produced a "dragon's breath effect" when eaten.
Headcheese, sliders, and porky spins on summer sweets (think cotton candy and snow cones) were also in full-effect, as were pig puns. During a butchering demo, L.A.-based meat maven Amelia Posada coined my personal favorite, "Praise the lard." (A favorite of SE Overlord Ed Levine's too.) She also clued us in to a particularly curious piece of trivia: apparently apprentice tattoo artists use cast-off pig skin to practice on.
As palate cleansers, there were a few pig-free morsels on hand, courtesy of the Cosmopolitan's in-house restaurant collection, but mainly it was a whole hog event.