Pork-A-Palooza: Part Two


The National Pork Board hosted Pork-A-Palooza: Part Two at the iconic James Beard House in New York, NY on October 10. The event was a celebration of pork for James Beard Foundation (JBF) members and guests. Swine enthusiasts enjoyed hors d’oeuvres al fresco followed by a five-course feast, washed down by perfectly crafted drink pairings from Buffalo Trace and Maison Noir Wines.


The legendary Beard House is a “performance space” for America’s best chefs, established by the JBF. The chefs behind the exquisite experience were National Pork Board Partners, Chef Matt Abdoo of New York, NY, known for his smoke-centric culinary destination, Pig Bleecker and award-winning barbecue at Pig Beach; Chef Adam Sappington of Portland, OR, an established cookbook author, James Beard finalist and owner and head chef of The Country Cat, a cozy restaurant that blends Midwest and Northwestern cuisines; Chef José Mendín of Miami Beach, FL, a five-time James Beard semi-finalist, founding partner and chef at Pubbelly Restaurant Group, including Pubbelly Noodle Bar, an Asian-inspired gastropub. Chefs Abdoo, Sappington and Mendín were joined by Chef Stephen Gerike, Assistant Vice President of Channel Marketing at the National Pork Board, and Chef Jackie Sappington, pastry chef and co-owner of the Country Cat.


The night began with hors d’oeuvres from each chef. Chef Mendín served an Asian-inspired Kurobuta Nigiri with buttermilk apples, pork soy, crispy garlic and tobanjan. Chef Adam Sappington prepared pastrami headcheese with pickled Walla Walla onions, trout roe and clabber cream, served on a salty Ritz cracker. Chef Abdoo put his own spin on a childhood staple with Pigs in a Blanket served with his classic barbecue mustard sauce. To round out the perfect pork themed hors d’oeuvres menu, Chef Gerike made Frikadeller, a classic Danish dish, with lingonberry jam and tarragon remoulade.


Pork-A-Palooza continued with a five-course meal and a collaborative amuse bouche. The amuse bouche was centered around Chicharrónes, served with Chef Sappington’s Judy Cheese, his own take on a pimento and pub cheese, and Chefs Gerike and Abdoo’s accompanying dips – pepper jelly and barbecue labneh.


The first course began with Chef Mendín’s Suckling Pig, which was slow-roasted, picked, pressed and served with crispy skin, accompanied by pumpkin romesco, chanterelles and tamarind. Next, Chef Adam Sappington prepared a tender Roasted Pork Shank over dried tomatoes, quahog clam vinaigrette and sweet corn grits. Chef Gerike delivered the perfect palate cleanser with his citrus-forward Pig Ear and Pennywort Salad. The pig ears were braised and fried until crispy, which was a perfect complement to the coconut, tomato, shallot, bean paste and lime that topped the salad. Chef Abdoo brought the smoke with his Smoked Pork Lasagna, served with ricotta salata and garlic breadcrumbs. Finally, Chef Jackie Sappington brought the evening to a close with her Pear Gingerbread Upside Down Cake. Served with bacon mincemeat compote and a cider sabayon to create a perfect savory and warm fall spice dessert.


“We’re honored to bring this group of chefs together to cook at the prestigious James Beard House, helping to raise funds for the Foundation,” said Stephen Gerike. “The chefs curated a night of pure pork perfection from snout to tail that left guests with a deeper understanding of pork’s versatility and a greater appreciation for its incredible flavor.”