The Whole Hog session of the recent Beer, Bourbon & BBQ event this past weekend at La.Venue in NYC promised "unlimited samplings of beer, bourbon, food, and a pulled pork BBQ dinner plate with fixins"--so how could any foodie pass that up?!? Four different BBQ joints--Hill Country, And...The Little Red Pig (Marshville, NC), Kloby's Smokehouse (Laurel, MD) and Blacksauce Kitchen (NYC)--served up every part of the hog (you probably could have asked for the snout or feet if you really wanted them)! And if you wanted bourbon, hard cider, booze and whiskey--it was unlimited and all the big and small makers were there...but we have to admit, we got some "small to medium" pours in the designated BB & BBQ glasses we got on the way in.
The event was totally sold out, with a line going all away around Eleventh Avenue from 28th to 29th Streets more than an hour before the doors opened (who ever said that New Yorkers live on cigarettes and Tic Tacs)? It appeared that about 1,000 booze and BBQ lovers were in attendance…so my friend Gail and I snagged seats as soon as we could get in the door (there seemed to be seating for only 80 to 100 people). Each food ticket allowed you one plate featuring a pork item, side (such as spicy baked beans) and hush puppies or maybe even some cole slaw or collard greens...depending on what table you went to. Additional items, including a juicy plate of ribs or about 12 ounces of brisket, cost an additional eight dollars (despite the $85 dollar ticket price to enter). Hey, at least the portions for generous!
Thousand Oaks Barrel Company sold working oak barrels for aging homemade wine, whiskey, bourbon, beer, brandy and tequila--and all their barrels had hand-etched designs including the one we have pictured featuring Jimi Hendrix on the front! Jimi was probably more into psychedelics than booze, but we think it's a neat rock memorabilia item anyway.
Torchbearer Sauces had a display with dozens of hot sauces and salsas of pretty much any level of intensity including Annihilation Sauce (the name speaks for itself). Their colorful labels that are reminiscent of R. Crumb art from the late 60s drew a lot of attention from the festival goers, and the looks on their faces when they dipped a cracker in a particularly hot sauce was priceless!
www.beerandbourbon.com to check out their festivals in your cities. We suggest that if you do a Whole Hog Session, dress warmly, wear comfortable shoes and come with an empty stomach--and hit the BBQ before you start on the booze! (By the way, you get to keep the cute logo beer glass they give you on the way in as a souvenir.)
Photos: Anne M. Raso