Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Orleans' Own Hogstock

Although the mud was plentiful and the music excellent, I imagine the food today at Hogs For the Cause was better than Woodstock as well as the weather. I was bestowed a Media Pass (thanks again, Rene!) and I did my very best to live up to that responsibility and bring a story about this annual porktastic fundraiser to my... dozens.... of readers.

We ate and drank quite well for the cause. First thing was the porkgasm Vietnamese bahn mi with pulled pork, pork belly (which I liked for once!!!) and some sort of loose boudin pate awesomeness. Very rich, but went nice with a couple of NOLA brews. Also acquired: smoked pork tacos. pork, sauce, cole slaw. Really good.

Once sated with an initial dose of beer and pork, I made my way around the grounds and enjoyed the displays that the teams put together. The signs and the decor and the folks staffing it... you could tell everyone was having fun.

The guy on the left was heckling me every time I passed by to try their sandwich. 

This booth BREATHED FIRE. Or smoke, whatevs. Still cool.

Look at all the muddy people!


last year's winner

Next up on the agenda: some water, ribs, and pork skins. Passed by the stage where the Stooges Brass Band was playing.

Stooges Brass Band

Pig skin before and after. IT'S LIKE MAGIC I SWEAR.

I alluded to it above with my clever comparison to Woodstock, but even though the weather today was deeee-lightful, it has been pouring rain for the previous three days. Therefore:

My feet were filthy and my shoes may not recover- I was prepared for this possibility, but still... the sheer amount of mud was crazy! Don't think it stopped folks from having a great time though.

Stopped by McClure's tent and took a look at the pig he had on the smoker. Neil told me proudly it was the biggest pig in the park.

Next up: the pulled pork sandwich with the Benton bacon bun that I'd been heckled about while passing by their booth:

And mac & cheese with pulled pork!

The musical act after the Stooges Brass Band was Marcia Ball, who was great. We really enjoyed listening to her set while chilling in the shade with caterpillars dropping on us. Ah, nature.

I decided to see what kind of pull my media pass would grant me and went to check out the Boss Hogg area where the judging was taking place. There I witnessed several teams dropping off boxes of their pork and judges working hard.

Drunk with power (or, NOLA beer), I left the Boss Hogg tent without ravaging the open bar, but I did ravage Kirk Coco a little bit before leaving. Good to see ya, Kirk!

Returned to our shady oasis by the bayou and discovered that Tom was getting annoyed with the many caterpillars that seemed to love him so very much. Therefore, we packed up and took a final circle around the grounds for dessert and to prove to Tom that I was not exaggerating about the mud.

Pork dessert time!!

Bread pudding with candied bacon on the left side

The geniuses who brought us... bacon baclava

Bacon baclava- maybe the best thing ever.

We left after sucking down a couple of Flambeaux Reds, Sucre strawberry lemonades, and getting a "Jamon For the Cause" sandwich from the St. James Cheese Company to go. Had that as a snack after getting home, washing off feet and shoes, taking a shower, discovering the patchy job I did with applying sunscreen (**shakes fist at stupid day star**), and taking a nap.  What?!?! Having that much fun really took it out of me.

I got such a kick having the press pass. I talked to other media people, joked about it with some of the teams, and it made me really try to do a good job of writing this up. Sorry that effort ended up as, well, this! Here, have some crowd shots...

We left before the judging results were announced, but I heard on the Twitter that The Company Burger won the Grand Prize. They had pork tongue sliders that I sadly did not get to try. Maybe they will be on their menu next week... mmm.

In conclusion, I can't wait to hear: a) how much money was raised and b) when next year's Hogs For the Cause will be! Seriously, this is the second time I've been and it's always a stupid awesome amount of fun. And for a good cause! Win-win-win-win.

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