Pig Island 2013: Best Pork Fest North of the Carolinas…or Maybe Anywhere

For pork lovers, there was just one place to be this past Saturday and that was the 4th Annual Pig Island in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Hungry New Yorkers rode a free New York City Water Taxi ferry from Manhattan or came by foot, bike or car to the waterfront to enjoy pork in creative, unique and delicious ways.

The event is the inspiration of Food Karma Projects, the socially-enterprising food event company, founded by Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s 43 restaurant in the East Village. Food Karma Projects’ mission is to build community “by creating unique events that showcase the best local food, chefs, beer and wine, and create a social impact that benefits worthy non-profit groups.” The event moved to Red Hook this year after three years on Governor’s Island, hence the name, Pig Island. The atmosphere was still just as festive, and the day just as glorious as past years, at the new location.

Food Karma partnered with heritage pork farmers, Flying Pigs Farm, Møsfund Mangalitsa, and Bobolink among others and gave 25 chefs from all five boroughs a pig and encouraged them to use their imaginations to tempt a growing and loyal Pig Island fan base.  (Indeed, the famous “Pig Pickup” three days before at Union Square Greenmarket is an event in itself ). The $75 ticket gave attendees all they could eat and drink. In addition to the food, there was music and beverages, including:

• Great local craft beer by Sixpoint;

• Wines from the Finger Lakes region of NY State; and

• Hard ciders from the Hudson Valley


Here’s the list of chefs and their dishes from the Pig Island Web site.

  • Bob Devine (pitmaster collaborating with Vittorio’s) – Smoked Autumn Spiced Fresh Ham with Apple Maple Syrup Sauerkraut;
  • Will Horowitz (Ducks Eatery) – Crispy Pig Ear Lettuce Wraps with Smoked Liver and Fermented Chow-Chow;
  • Jacques Gautier (Fort Reno) – Pulled Pork Sliders with House-Made Slaw and Pickled Vegetables;
  • Peter Giannakas (Ovelia) – “Kontosouvli” Slow-Roasted Rotisserie Pork;
  • Danny Mena and Ethan Smith (Hecho en Dumbo) – Grilled Meatballs in Burnt Chile Sauce;
  • King Phojanakong (Kuma Inn and Umi Nom) – Umi Nom Lechon and Pulled Pork Adobo;
  • George Weld and Evan Hanzcor (Parish Hall) – Spicy Sausage over Pig Skin “Noodles”;
  • Joe Dobias (JoeDoe) – “Gringo Burrito”;
  • Jimmy Carbone with David Navarro and Dave Miss (Jimmy’s No. 43) – grilled corn, avocado leaf steamed pig, plus collaboration with East Village Meat Market (cured local hams) and grilled sausages from Flying Pigs Farm;
  • Michael Jenkins (Butter) – Oink McMuffin, Bacon Cinnamon roll;
  • Clay Gordon (This Chocolate Life) – White Chocolate, Bacon, Buttermilk Biscuit Topped with Peach Compote and Grilled Peaches.;
  • Justin Brunwasser (Friedman’s Lunch, Teaming with Jon Bratton of NYC Hot Sauce) – Pork Milanese and Pulled Pork with Chicharones;
    Jesse Jones and Doug Keiles (Ribs Within) – Pulled Pork Strudel with Carolina Slaw and Sweet Hannah Sauce;
  • Jacqueline Brooks – Sausage in BBQ Sauce;
  • Zarela Martinez and Tyson Ho (Arrogant Swine) – Puerco Relleno Estilo Istmo de Tehuantepec, Oaxaca;
  • Bill Fletcher and Matt Fisher (Fletcher’s Brooklyn BBQ) – Ginger & Soy Pork with Chick Pea Salad;
  • Neuman’s Kitchen: Events & Catering;
  • Jonathan White (Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse) – Whey-Fed Old Spot Pigs in Caja China with Haggis;
  • Bill Kooper (Route 66 Smokehouse) – Smoked Porchetta Sandwich;
  • Michael Clampfer (Møsfund Mangalitsa);
  • Fort Defiance/The Good Fork (Red Hook chef collaboration) – Mer-pig: seaweed wrapped hog with secret mer-sauce;
  • Tim Cavaretta and Isabelle Leighton (Bittergreen) – Veggie Sides.


Event Photos

Chefs putting their heart and soul into their work…











Chef Zarela Martinez and Tyson Ho of Arrogant Swine served right off the whole pork



A few highlights of the chef’s creations:


Chef Jesse Jones’ Pork Strudel was truly inspired.






This seemingly ordinary burrito was extraordinary in flavor and fresh taste.



NYC Hot Sauce Company teamed up with Chelsea Market’s Friedman’s Lunch to slow roast a 200+ pound pig from Flying Pigs Farm,  and served it with a healthy bit of cracklings. The secret to its complex flavor was a seasoning mix that NYC Hot Sauce founder Jon Bratton created using the mash leftover after he makes the hot sauce. He strains and dries the mash, which is full of vinegar and pepper flavor, and then adds salt and other seasonings. The pork was flavorful and didn’t even need a shot of hot sauce, but the hot sauce itself is worth tasting, so the customers, even a few brave kids, poured it on.
















Here are NYC Hot Sauce owners, Jon Bratton and Jennifer Belcastro, enjoying the beautiful day between customers.











And a few more restaurants and their pork inventions:






Here’s the Impresario himself, Jimmy Carbone, in his signature pink party jacket, getting interviewed about the event for a local news segment. The event even attracted Mayoral Candidate Christine Quinn, who stopped by and chatted up the crowd.



And what’s dessert without bacon?




Our sentiments exactly!
































Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *