Each year, I go to a fair number of food-oriented events, whether they are markets, special tastings, or industry gatherings. For the past three years, the one marked on my calendar as a not-to-be missed feast is Pig Island on Governors Island, created by Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43. Last year, it turned out I was traveling the weekend this was held, which made me very sad.
I had volunteered for the event the first year it was held in 2010 and had had an amazing time. Great food, good music, plenty to eat and drink, relaxed atmosphere, fantastic vibe from the fellow attendees and chefs, and a wonderful location, all the key components just meld together beautifully. Jimmy himself is a welcoming host, greeting folks he knows and introducing himself to those he doesn’t. It’s like a giant, community-organized backyard pig roast.
This year, Pig Island takes place on Saturday, September 1, during Labor Day weekend. Last night, several fellow food folks and I gathered at Palo Santo in Brooklyn to sample a preview of their pork taco and to participate in a competitive taste test of several barbecue sauces that a few of the invitees had whipped up. This was a terrific way to get us all in the spirit of the upcoming event and to meet a couple of the chefs who would be there on the island to wow us with their pork prowess (of which I really have no doubt at all).
And the winner of the barbecue sauce tasting was, Justin Schwartz of JustCookNYC. His Black Plum and Bourbon Sauce was, as one judge said, “very different, very well-balanced on the end.” He had created a sauce that was spicy, sweet, tangy, bold, and with a nice texture (from only blending the sauce halfway) that clung for dear life to the meat so that you got a bit of sauce in every bite. Justin won a set of Wüsthof knives, and, of course, bragging rights. I almost raced after him at the end of the event to see if he had any extra to spare so that I could take it home.
Tickets for Pig Island are still available. Note that the ticket price is all-inclusive of food and drink. Early-bird pricing ends on August 27. For readers of this site, I can also offer you a $10.00 discount off of the ticket price. Type in “Blog Island” in the promotional code space. I hope to see y’all there!