Few things fill my heart like the opportunity to admire the hard work of fellow chefs – and when those well renowned chefs are masters at the low and slow art of an open flame… be still my meat loving heart.
I was honored to be able to soak up the majesty that is the Heritage BBQ Cochon555 US Tour when they graced the capital city with the gloriousness that is an epic nose-to-tail competition. And I DO mean epic.
This is not your daddy’s BBQ cook off. The competition is fierce.
Each chef is given a 180- to 200-pound heritage breed pig and tasked to create, prepare, and present a “Judge’s Plate” of 6 dishes scored on utilization; influences; cooking techniques; and overall flavor. Heritage BBQ offers guests a way to sample food cultures near and far, expanding the notion of barbecue to put equal emphasis on local farm communities and global grilling traditions. The event also benefits a greater – and more delicious – cause in the form of Piggy Bank, a farm-in-the-making devoted to sharing free heritage breed genetics and business plans with small and family farms. Chefs Bryan and Ben from Salt and Time led a livebutcher demo with a pig donated from Amelia Farms, contributing to the $4,554 raised for Piggy Bank on the day.
Beyond the competition though, the smoke wafting from the event, filling your head with earthy aromas that make your stomach yearn for the magical delectables being prepared by artisans of their trade. It’s more than barbecue though – vendors offering their beverages, seafood, cheeses and other magical morsels to highlight their expertise in new and exciting ways.
Reality is that until they invent a way to transport tastes and smells through these here interwebs, you’re going to just have to take my word for it. OR – make a plan to attend the next affair.
Heritage BBQ was started in 2012 as an effort to bridge the gap between family farms and all categories of BBQ restaurants. The event invites existing restaurants into the local and sustainable food conversation nationwide, while circulating a hyper-local, globally-themed, farm-friendly strain of BBQ.
The Cochon555 US Tour executes a yearly host of authentic, hyper-local food events focused on raising awareness for heritage breed pigs. This epic nose-to-tail competition visits 16 major cities in North America annually, staging over 60 events. The tour is comprised of an array of expressions including Heritage Fire (live-fire) and Heritage BBQ (global grilling cultures). Cochon555 cultivates a long-term impact for heritage breeds raised by family farms in top US culinary markets. Both educational and inspirational messages are circulated among 16,000 guests; 2,200+ chefs; 150+ farmers; and 16 culinary schools. Since 2009, 50,000+ consumers have experienced heritage pork and over $750,000 has been paid directly to our farmers. Visit www.cochon555.com or follow @cochon555 on Twitter and Instagram.
With over a dozen cities participating in the world tour, there is bound to be one close enough to you to make the drive. Check out the the US Tour sites to find one near you and plan your next adventure. Trust me when I say your tastebuds will thank you.