As I bit into the perfectly crunchy piece of (what may’ve been grilled) bacon, wrapped around a tiny grit cake and a juicy shrimp, all I could think was “why would I EVER have given this up?!”
Far as the eye could see, pork treats galore!!
Brooklyn Brewery (a personal favorite of mine since I took the tour in the fall!) and the folks with the Food Experiments National Tour (check it out, coming to a city near you!) decided to visit Durham, NC to feature what Carolina chefs know best: PORK!
Goodness, did they respond!
19 different dishes, served in cups and on plates, consumed with a spork and, in some cases (ribs!) bare fingers! It was a pork-stravaganza! A porktacular! We enjoyed every bite.
For a paltry $10, spectators got to enjoy music at Motorco and try 19 different pork dishes. A Brooklyn Brewery beer was also included in the ticket price, but the pork ALONE tasted like it was at least worth $40.
My personal favorite was the “Bacon wrapped Bacon”, a tiny slider of bacon wrapped around (maybe) pork belly and served with a carrot ginger slaw.
The event sparked typical Durham mob-like mentality and, though we were the first in line (and thought that it was going to be barely attended), an hour after the doors opened, the line was down the street! We opted to grab the bites in shifts, so as not to risk dropping anything or overwhelm our tastebuds as the food got cold. Other folks waited in a massive line (that was sort of nonsensically snaking around the building) and loaded every single sample on their plates at once.
I would not recommend this method, as I saw a number of spills/drops and some sad, porkless faces.
If you’re wondering who I went with, it should be no surprise that I took my
only? favorite beer buddy, Melissa.
She liked it.
The bites were, for the most part, perfect, with only a few that had me shaking my head or wishing the pork was highlighted more (chocolate covered carrot skewer? No, thanks. I’m good.)
Since the audience voted for their favorites at the end, Melissa and I had to get our two favs a second time for a sudden death rematch.
The winner ended up being neither of our choices (the shrimp & grits/bacon wrapped bacon) but, instead, the Beer, Bacon, and Bean ice cream by You’re Bacon Me Crazy who will represent Carolina in the “finals” in Brooklyn, later this spring/summer.
For more results, check out the official Carolina Pork Experiment Results Page!
If you’re in DC (next weekend, the 22nd of April) or Philadelphia (May 6) check out what the local chefs put together. I think the DC theme is Chinese Take Out and Philly is SANDWICHES!! (I’m tempted to journey up just to try some of these goodies!)
As always, when you combine pork, beer, and Carolina, everyone left happy.
About an hour later, I had to lay on my tummy to cope with the pork coma that I’m still recovering from.
What would you make if your only requirement was a “Pork” inspired dish?