This past Sunday, September 6, 2014, NYC Foodscape made another late summer trip to Red Hook, Brooklyn for the annual festival of locally raised and masterfully cooked pork and other food and drink, called Pig Island. The event, now in its fifth year, 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.”
Thousands of pork lovers hopped the free Ikea ferry to taste culinary creations using pork from local farmers. “Pig Island pairs New York State hogs with New York City City chefs and showcases the best of New York State local hog farmers, NYC chefs, craft brewers and wine makers, all dedicated to bringing home the bacon,” says Carbone.
Here’s Jimmy with some of his crew, greeting hungry arrivals as they got off the boat:
The setting and the people were almost as essential to the fun as the food and drink.
The Chefs and their Pork Creations
Over 25 chefs prepared imaginative dishes, ranging from succulent to spicy to pickled, using pork from local producers, such as Flying Pigs Farms. Lines were long and the day was very hot, but NYC Foodscape managed to get through most of the line-up.
Here are the “official 2014 Pig Island Award” winners, as announced on the Pig Island Web site (with photos by NYC Foodscape).
Fearless Stomachs Only – Danny Mena and Ethan Smith of Hecho en Dumbo – Volcanes de Chorizo Casero
Best Nasty Bits – John Rattliff of Ends Meat – Pork Nuggets
Best Repeat Offender – Joe Dobias of Joe and Missus Doe – Garlic Pork Cemita
Best Naked Meat – Peter Giannakas of Ovelia – Kontosouvli (a Greek-style spit-roasted pork)
Most Refreshing – Chris Rendell of Flinders Lane – Pork Salad
Most Mayan – Davide Navarro of Jimmy’s No. 43 – Cochinita Pibel
Best Scrapple from the Apple – Evan Hanczor and George Weld of Egg – Scrapple Taco
Best on Buns – Thomas Perone a.k.a. Pig Guy NYC – Roast Pork Sliders with Lime Chimichurri
Best Sweet Cheeks – Michael Jenkins Butter – Bacon Banana Bread with Caramelized Bacon
(photo of their other dish, Chorizo taco with watermelon and Serrano chile sauce)
Best Toil to Table – Ben Schneider of The Good Fork and St. John Frizell of Fort Defiances – Mer-Pig (read more about how they made it here)
Most Succulent Sauce – Billy Durney of Hometown BBQ and Shane McBride of Balthazar – Tasso Pork Belly Taco (and their delicious pork bao)
Some of NYC Foodscape’s favorites included:
Chef Julian Alonzo and Paul Neuman (Neuman’s Kitchen) succulent “Three Little Piggies” (more like “Summer on a Plate”) with roasted pig, late summer Jersey corn, bacon, crispy pigs’ ears, and clams
Jon Bratton (NYC Hot Sauce Company) teaming with Justin Brunwasser (Friedman’s Lunch) to create a pork belly lettuce cup, with a peach chutney, a dollop of “hog’s head” cheese, topped off with pork skin crackle and the ever tasty creole-style NYC Hot Sauce
Jon Bratton and Jennifer Belcastro, the husband and wife team behind NYC Hot Sauce Company
Shanna Pacifico (Pacifico’s Fine Foods)’s Brazilian style Chicharone de Porco (crispy fried pork bits marinated in passion fruit and lime) served on top spicy late-summer slaw, topped with seasoned Farofa (crispy yucca flour)
William Kooper (Route 66 Smokehouse)’s smoked crispy pork terrine with pickled veggies was also a treat–the pickles were a nice way to cut the fat.
Bill Fletcher (Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue) grilled ham panini with gruyere was simple, but smoky and salty delicious.
Also in the running were two Danish twists on pork by Martin Høedholt and Pablo Ventura of Revolving Dansk and Dassara Ramen: their Copenhagen Street Dog, a mini grillpølser with danish remoulade, crispy fried onions, and salty Lakrids and their Danish-Asian crackling pork, topped with red cabbage and sweet Scandinavian pickles on a toasted baguette
These folks liked it a lot!
Jared Male (Randall’s Barbecue) served classic chopped whole hog sliders topped with Randall’s barbecue sauce and vinegar slaw — the bacon was a nice touch.
Other chefs included:
Tavern on the Green Chef Katy Sparks and Adam Shepherd served a number of dishes, including Glazed Pork Belly on Chilled Ramen Noodles, Braised Pork Shoulder Reuben-style Rillettes, Smoked Ham over Green Mango Sticky Rice, and Shaved Roasted Pork Loin
Tim Cavaretta and Isabelle Leighton (Bittergreen) gave the crowd a break from the rich pork fat with some healthy vegetable side dishes
Christophe Hille (Fleisher’s Meats)
Dishes missed due to popular demand, excessively long lines or otherwise MIA…
Smoked Pig Pizza: Emily in Clinton Hill, who apparently smoked a pig in their pizza oven and served it on homemade pizza dough
Sam Barbieri (Waterfront Ale House and Fuhgeddaboutit BBQ) whole hog sliders with crisp pork belly and mustard slaw looked mouthwatering
Chef Jesse Jones, pulled pork strudel with pickles and sweet Hannah’s BBQ sauce
Matt Deliso (Blue Ribbon Bakery)’s “PLT” Pork, lettuce and tomato w/ Pickled chilies and Basil Mayo on a Challah Bun — all gone!
Theme-based food events usually bring with it a slew of theme-based T-shirts and Pig Island is no exception (see last year’s Pig Island story for my personal favorite). Here’s a sampling of some of the attendee’s best porcine and other snappy T-shirts, starting with Mike Yezzi, owner of Flying Pigs Farm, which supplied the pork for Pig Island 2014, sporting an ironic message:
Other Food, Drink and Things to Do and See
Beer and Wine
Craft Ginger Ale
Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies were a hit
Rooftop Salt from NYC
Chefs and Staff Having Fun
Or Taking a Break
NYPD Enjoying the Crowd
A Red Hook Diversion En Route Back to Manhattan
Another summer ends with Pig Island…until 2015!