The Duck Dive’s “Three Lil Piggies” trio of pork, applewood smoked bacon, roasted pork loin and pork belly with Cider Jus
On Tuesday afternoon, I – along with Troy Johnson, Andrew Spurgin and Stacy Poon-Kinney — had the opportunity to judge the “Jefe del Porko” culinary competition, a part of the inaugural Bacon & Barrels festival taking place this Saturday at Embarcadero Marina Park South. A VIP dinner featuring Top Chef finalist Brooke Williamson takes place Friday night at BassMNT (919 4th Avenue, San Diego).
The winner of the competition was a bacon-wrapped duck fat dish entered by Barleymash (600 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp) that defied the laws of modern health-consciousness, if not gravity. But there really is no substitute for taste, is there? The
Competition was fierce, in part a tribute to the fact that bacon makes absolutely anything better, in part a tribute to the versatility of bacon and in large part a testament to the devotion of San Diego chefs to the bacon arts. Honorable mention, in my view, was owed to Tavern’s superb take on the BLT. The “B” was represented by bourbon roasted tomatoes, the “L” by lamb bacon and the “T” by tzatziki sauce. It might well have been the winner in my book if I could figure out how to explain that the winner of the “Jefe del Porko” competiton cooked lambo instead of porko.†
Andrew Spurgin, Troy Johnson, Michael Gardiner and Stacey Poon-Kinney judging the Jefe de Porko competition
In addition to a series of chef and mixology demos, the Bacon & Barrels festival will give attendees the opportunity to taste most of the entries themselves and vote on a People’s Choice award which will be announced at 4:00 p.m. from the Culinary Stage. The festivals gates open at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday for general admission ticket holders. For more information go to: http://www.baconandbarrels.com/schedule-1
† Also worthy of note was Eureka UTC which did their best to attempt to improperly influence†† the judging panel by submitting a Bacon Old Fashioned. While it did not get them the victory I definitely like their style.
†† Eureka UTC was not really doing — or trying to do — anything untoward. Their Bacon Old Fashioned was not officially an entrant in the competition, they had actually won the Mixology portion by default (since no other mixologists participated) and simply brought the drink for the judges to enjoy. It was, in my view, a rather nice gesture. Personally, I would not want to do anything whatsoever to discourage future such gestures on their part. Indeed, if they would like to contact me through this website I would be more than happy to give them my work address so that they can engage in such gestures on a regular basis.