Overheard at Pig Island: “My goal is to eat everything here,” which pretty much sums up the sentiment of the day. Governor’s Island’s first annual Pig Island event was a definite hit, inviting over 20 renowned chefs from all over New York City to whip up their favorite pork dishes, and with an admission ticket, you had access to it all, as well as free reign over all the NY State wines and Six Point beer you can drink – including a Pumpkin Saison and a limited Pilsner. All ingredients were sourced locally, bringing in over 85 pigs from Heritage Farms, Violet Farms, and the Piggery. Top it all off with a few live bluegrass bands, a gorgeous 65-degrees-and-sunny day, and you have yourself a drunky good time.
As any good BBQ connoisseur knows, barbeque is not simply barbeque. Barbeque is a time-intensive process that requires smoking a pig for up to 18 hours, and whose outcome varies depending on the types of wood used, the smoking method, and of course, the seasonings, rubs and sauce. Hailing from North Carolina myself, I have yet to find a BBQ joint in the city that rivals anything I’ve had back home, but I figured that Pig Island was a pretty good place to start.
Some standouts of my pork-filled journey include:
–Waterfront Ale House (Sam Barbieri): Hickory-smoked pork sliders served with a mild, sweet barbeque sauce
–Porchetta (Sarah Jenkins): Although usually a go-to treat, Porchetta’s fare at this event was a little bread-heavy – so I peeled off the top bun, revealing a nest of super tender, deliciously seasoned pork
–Delicatessen (Michael Ferraro): Crisp little mini fried tostada topped with whole pig pork in a sweet and sumptuous Puebla mole sauce. The tostada was served with pickled stone fruit and shallots with fresh grated cheese on top.
–Print (Heather Carlucci): Maple bacon sticky buns. ‘Nuff said.
–Palo Santo (Jacques Gautier): Mealy and flavorful corn tortilla, topped with a chunk of tender pork which you could garnish with fresh cilantro
–Joe Doe’s (Joe Dobias): Homemade lard biscuit topped with pork and pâté
Since this was Pig Island’s first year, I’d say to expect an even larger turnout next year. The event was pleasantly populated – unlike overcrowded, insanely long-lined, stepping-over-people Brew Fest, held in the same outdoor venue. One patron asked me to give the event a negative review – “That way, next year, it will still be our little secret!”