I think people will have to start taking note, if they haven’t already, of the food happenings in North Carolina. North Carolina is moving quickly to become a state that is not only home to a thriving local fork to table movement but also delicious food. No longer will the stereotype of Southern food apply to the cuisine of the Triangle. From Chad McIntyre to Ashley Christensen, the Chefs from the Triangle are either changing the rules or going back to basics, depending on your perspective. But I will write about that later, first we need to talk about sweet, salty, tasty pork!
The Carolina Pork Experiment was everything you thought it would be and more. What an unbelievable day! The sun was shinning, the competitors were smiling! Twenty of North Carolina’s finest amateur chefs came to Motorco on Sunday, each with a shot at victory. The dishes ran the gamut from Porchetta to Jerk to Asian to Curry to BBQ. Yet, a list of the winners will not be able to tell the tale of an event where not one dish could hang its head in shame. More impressive than the food, were the amateur chefs themselves. I admire the chefs’ perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds. We rewarded them with as much Brooklyn Brewery beer as they could drink. What I enjoy most is watching all the chef become friends, and I feel that when I come back next year there will be an Experimental community.
By the time noon rolled around, the crowd outside had already formed. We had people come out from all three halves of the Triangle, making this a porky love fest. I cannot imagine being here during college basketball season. You all are so close together. As I said, the Carolinian’s put aside their team colors in the name of Pork and created a collective team spirit. As you entered Motorco, the smell of victory, a.k.a. bacon, was in the air.
We had a fine panel of impressive pallets judging the proceedings. Chef Walter Royal, the Iron Chef with a warm heart, Kitty Kinnin, the smooth morning radio host of 100.7 the River, and Johanna Kramer, THE Durham Foodie who packs a trove of local food knowledge. They weren’t messing around and after 19 intense porky bites a winner was chosen. Howard Manning with his Carolina Triple Trio won. I am curious, if it is a “Triple Trio” shouldn’t there be nine different bites?
Then there was the crowd favorite. The audience and the judges often do not agree, and Carolina was no exception. The Food Experiments is a democracy, or in other words, mob rules! The winner of the Grand Prize trip to Brooklyn courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery is You’re Bacon Me Crazy! with their Bacon, Beer, & Bean Ice Cream. It is hard to find fault with their pick. The ice cream was delicious with the brilliant addition of beans. It created a different texture than the usual bacon ice cream, almost “creamier.” Plus, I have a sweet tooth.
I feel everyone who went home almost empty-handed (remember the T-shirts!) deserves a shout-out for making something delicious. In competition, there always has to be winners and non-winners, but it doesn’t mean they lost by much!
Sloppy pig kisses were terrific and I would have another one right now. You make great baked items at the Farmer’s Market!
Porky and Bess was a curry musical in my mouth. I bet if you have any leftovers the sandwiches you could make would be killer. Paul I expect to see you next year!
Panic State BBQ jerk pork was really moist and tasty, please do not forget how good the pineapple went with it! Keep making records, who doesn’t love vinyl!
The Fermented Gourmet makes incredible homemade jelly
The Meat Sweats belly was the best belly, cooked perfectly. Definitely winner of Best T-Shirt! I am a size med/large.
PorkFavor I would eat your dish for brunch any Sunday! It was sooo pleasing and comforting and savory. Good luck with the change of scenery.
Bacon Wrapped Bacon was an unbelievable sandwich, the textures made it. Such elegant presentation!
Dr. Frank & Swine had absolutely the best looking food packages I have ever scene. You guys got serious style and patience.
Team Bacon, I am so sorry I got to your table late, but it was THE complete bite! Plus, your Bloody Mary ain’t bad.
Greasy Pig, perfectly cooked pork! and thanks for watching my car.
I will miss North Carolina. I cannot wait to make it back next year.
The Final Results
First Place/Grand Prize: You’re Bacon Me Crazy / Beer, Bacon, & Bean Ice Cream
Second Place: Guisto Gusto / Vesta Porchetta
Third Place: Redneck Scientific / Menage a’ Pork
First Place: Howard Manning / Carolina Triple Trio
Second Place: You’re Bacon Me Crazy / Beer, Bacon, & Bean Ice Cream
Third Place: Bull City Red BBQ / Bull City Red BBQ
Theo’s Award for the Achievement in Experimentation:
Fallout Durham / Southern Pastrami on Rye