Four Seasons, Mark Richardson
Chef Richardson certainly won for the prettiest presentation of his Clark Summit Farm Old Spot Pig. Dishes, from the top left, include pork rilette with sourdough and a pickled tongue vinaigrette; a crisp knuckle sandwich with brainoli and espelette; "offal" boudin with spleen gremoulata on a smoked saltine; pickled pig skin; pan roasted loin with cucumber kimchi; and pork-n-beans with red-eye gravy.
We loved the rillette with the mustard pop of the pickled vinaigrette, and the undeniable richness of the crispy-fried knuckle sandwich.
RN74, Adam Sobel
Prince of Porc Adam Sobel's dishes were crafted from a Tamworth-Boar, and were excellent across the board. This is a porkstrami sandwich—the belly meat was brined for seven days, and served with fresh-tasting coleslaw and stadium mustard. The top pickle was fantastic, as was the buttery griddled rye bread.
Fat Elvis Returns
An unassuming dessert if we ever saw one, smoked belly and shoulder are wrapped and fried with peanut butter, banana, chocolate, and passion fruit caramel.
Pig and Apple Summer Sausage
Jowl and shoulder are sweetened with apple in this densely packed white sausage. It paled in comparison to the Chiang Mai meatballs, but the textural contrast of the crunchy fresh jicama and toasted pecan topping was a lovely addition.
Pork katsu, made from pork loin, fat, and trimmings, is topped with shaved octopus, charred scallions, dried pork, and bulldog sauce. A truly bold blend of ingredients, this taco made for a few rich, flavor-filled bites— a whole new kind of Double Down, perhaps?
Pork Fat "Tofu"
Think about the magical, smooth richness of the best silken tofu. Then imagine that it was made with pork fat. Yes—this "tofu," made with fat back, had all of the textural perfection of its soy-based cousins, with an added intensity since it's, well, pig fat. Sobel served it up as a shot of ma po tofu, topped with spicy braised pigs head, crispy ear, cilantro, and chili oil. I feel like eating enough of this might kill you, but man, what a way to go.
Fatted Calf's meat slicer
The much-loved charcuterie purveyor was offering up plates of mortadella, salumi cotto, lomo, Umbrian salami, and bresaola.
Scott Youkilis, Hi Lo BBQ
Youkilis was working with a Spot-Wattle pig from Walnut Keep Farms—his 5-courses reflected some of the Asian-tinged California barbecue styles of his new restaurant Hi Lo BBQ, as well as the Southern heartiness present in previous restaurants Hog & Rocks and Maverick.
This is his steamed bun, our favorite of his dishes. Rhubarb-hoisin ham is rife with juice and fall-apart tender. It's joined by sweet fermented leeks.
Chiang Mai-style sausage is served with sticky rice, butter lettuce, and a green papaya slaw. We could have used a higher sausage-to-rice ratio, and an even stronger dose of lemongrass and galangal.
Big Piggy Sandwich
Pork liver mousse, spicy mortadella, and porchetta come together for a pig-on-pig-on-pig, two-bite sandwich. We loved the sharp pickles and tangy mustard, but found the muffaletta rolls to be a little dry, and ultimately, a distraction from the sandwiches innards.
Spottle and Grits
The flavors were all there in this Cotechino di Spottle (cotechino is a cooked charcuterie, similar to salami; Spottle refers to Youkilis's cross-bred pig), served with Tierra Farm grits. Some textural contrast was needed, though—perhaps a sprinkling of chicharrones?
Bacon Bourbon Palmier
We loved the sweet, delicate construction of these miniature palmiers, subtly cradling minute slices of bacon. Served with an orange whipped lardo and absinthe strawberries, this was a lovely, refined spring dessert.
Punch King competitors
Serving up the goods.
Omri Aflalo, Bourbon Steak
Chef Aflalo and his duroc pig from Llano Seco Rancho were serving as the Pig Pen Diner. Appropriately, his menu featured comfort food classics.
Shown here is a classic Caesar salad, delicious and flavorful; a pork trotter pie, which was too dry; and a traditional Reuben, which broke no boundaries but featured some nicely smokey meat and quality pickles.
Pork Chili Mac
This mac and cheese was our favorite dish from the Bourbon Steak team. Rich with sharp cheese and nicely spiced ground pork, this was a rib-sticking classic that wasn't shy about big flavors.
A16, Christopher Thompson
Chef Thompson made a whopping nine dishes with his Jubilee Farm Berkshire pig—we wondered if his execution suffered a bit from it. While the menu was mouthwatering collection of Italian-inspired bites, often his pig parts were overshadowed by other ingredients, or overcooked.
This crunchy-thick pig skin, doused in chili oil, was a definite exception. Crisp, substantial, and rich, the slow-building spice made this a totally addictive bite.
Terrine, Crostini, Mortadella
N'duja crostini with sea salt and pickled radish; coppa di testa terrina with Meyer lemon, parsley, and peppercress; mortadella with green olives and scamorza affumicato.
Pork Shoulder, Porchetta, Polpette
Crispy shredded pork shoulder with mustard, favas, purple asparagus and potato; roasted porchetta with peas and carrots; pecorino and pistachio polpette in brodo.
Barbecue Assembly line
Hearty goodness from Dennis Lee and team, soon to be a part of Magnolia's new brewery.
Collard greens and macaroni salad with ham; more cubed ham on the side for good measure; pork rib with mustard sauce and sweet barbecue sauce. The ribs could have been more tender but that's a minor complaint considering the incredible flavors present on this plate.
Rich and spicy, the soup is cooked with smoked pork and topped with whipped tofu.
Tom Fink of The Whole Beast and Chef Thomas McNaughton
McNaughton won last year's Cochon 555.
Lamb Heart, soon to be tartare.
Lamb Heart Tartare
The heart, chopped with fried capers, fried chickpeas, fermented black garlic, mustard, and a whole other slew of ingredients, was unctuous, smooth, and wonderfully full of flavor.
Trophies, knives, whiskey
Heritage Breed Pigs
Perrin Clark of Jubilee Farm
Holding the freshly butchered head of his farm's guinea hog.