Cochon 555 in Seattle: Sausage, Sliders, and Pork-a-Fours

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[Photographs: Leslie Kelly]

Cochon 555 is a traveling pork fest that launched last year to showcase heritage breeds. When it made its way to Seattle on Sunday, organizer Brady Lowe was limping on crutches after a now-famous food fight last week in Portland where he was assaulted after an afterparty. Talk about some feral pig!

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The unfortunate incident had tongues wagging last week, but the pork lovers in the packed room at Cochon 555 in Seattle were instead keenly focused on the pigs prepared by Chester Gerl from Matt's in the Market, Adam Stevenson from Earth & Ocean, John Sundstrom from Lark, Tamara Murphy who's opening a new restaurant in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood and Anthony Hubbard from Chow Foods.

Around the room, there were all sorts of sausages, sliders, two versions of chili verde and something called Pork-A-Fours, which was rillettes topped with pate and a thin piece of lard on top. There were pork "martinis" and pork-y cider. My very favorite bite was Gerl's mole ice cream on fried pork rind. Chef Murphy's pickled okra was a tangy palate cleanser.

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Sadly, I didn't get to try the winning dish from Lark because the line for it was crazy long and by the time I made to the promised land, the goodies were gone. Instead of pouting, I made my way to the front row of the pig butchering demo. Ryan Farr from 4505 Meats in San Francisco did a bang-up job on the Berkshire pig. The pieces were raffled off. I won a pair of shanks!

Next stop for Cochon 555 is June 6 in San Francisco before the Grand Cochon at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic June 20 when winners from all cities compete for top swine honors.