Monday, May 16, 2011

Memphis in May Summary

I just got back from Memphis in May. Our team, the Fatback Collective, competed with two Mangalitsa pigs in the whole hog competition. We did very well, taking 3rd.
Team preps pig for smoker

The team all worked together, with chefs and barbecue experts turning the pigs into barbecue. My job was easy as I wasn't responsible for the cooking. I did set myself the challenge (see below) of eating a big plate of Mangalitsa barbecue.

The lucky pigs.

Nick Pihackis of Jim n' Nicks Barbecue organized a historic team of pitmasters and chefs. The team chose to use our Mangalitsa pigs, which is what got my pigs and me there.

Chef Donald Link

We ate a bunch of awesome food. Donald and Sean Brock brought crawfish, oysters, stone crab claws and softshell crabs. Many of us brought our best moonshine to share with the others.

One of the Mangalitsas

Our chefs took a very culinary approach. The team chose to put a rub on some Mangalitsa pigs and smoke them. Very simple. We didn't serve a sauce with the pig - that might have cost us 1rst or 2nd. People said Memphis judges like molasses on their barbecue.

Drew Robinson on the rig

The pigs tasted fantastic. Other chefs, competitors and guests were wowed by the flavor and succulent meat and fat.
Nathan enjoys some Mangalitsa ribs

Almost nobody had ever tasted a pig this good. It was fun to share stuff with people.

Nathan, pictured, is a personal trainer with 9% body fat. He talked to me about insulin, carbs and fat storage - and wolfed down a bunch of very tasty and fatty Mangalitsa ribs. It was great to watch people enjoy the succulent meat and fat.

To celebrate, I purposefully didn't eat much the day we'd present, so I was able to enjoy a big plate of barbecued Mangalitsa.

My thought was, how many times in your life do you get to eat your winning Mangalitsa, turned into barbecue by some of the USA's best pitmasters and chefs, and win at Memphis in May? Might as well really enjoy it.

Which I did.

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