In what was, with out a doubt, the most unkosher thing that I have ever done, I had the opportunity to spend this past Sunday evening at SloPig Milwaukee along with my lovely wife, Jessie, and our good friend Mandi Lindner. Having only heard of it a week ago, I can honestly say that I had no idea what to expect other than lots and lots of pig, along with alcohol of some sorts. I’ve never been one to stay strict to the laws of keeping kosher, but I’ve also never actively sought out and eaten pork beyond the standards: bacon, deli ham, and various forms of sausage, so I wasn’t entirely sure what delicacies I might enjoy.
SloPig Milwaukee was amazing. Six of the top chefs in Milwaukee were each given a whole heritage breed hog which had been sustainably raised right here in fabulous Wisconsin. As I understand it, each chef was tasked with making a handful of small plates however they wanted, as long as it included the pig. As if that wasn’t enough to make for a great evening, added to the mix were 8 local bartenders tasked with making their best punch. The combination was fun, tasty, and quite memorable.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably note that we were supposed to vote for our favorite bartender as well as our favorite chef. I did not vote. I just couldn’t decide on a “best” selection. I was able to narrow the punch to two options and, as such, will tip my hat to the fine folks over at Burnheart’s for their liquid jerk spice punch as well as whoever made the tangerine punch. I’d love to give credit for that one where it’s due, but I was honestly already too inebriated by that point to remember.
The food itself was an even more difficult decision. I ate as much as I physically could, but I can honestly say that I didn’t get to try everything. Despite my drunken state, I at least had the sense to snap some photos of most of what I had, with a few of my favorites pictured on the right (click it for a larger version). Just to make you jealous (or disgusted, depending on your dietary practices), here’s a break down of what you’re seeing in that picture. In the upper left, is a perfectly portioned spoon of what I believe was truffle gelato with bits of bacon. If that sounds good to you, believe me, it’s even better than it sounds. If that doesn’t sound good to you, well, frankly I’m surprised you’ve already read this far in. Right next to that is one of the true stars of the evening, a whipped lard filled donut dipped in maple-infused lard glaze. I’ll admit that I ate two of those; The two years that it took off my life were completely worth it. In the lower left of the picture was an assortment of different treats, all from the same chef, with an added bonus of that tangerine punch I mentioned earlier. I couldn’t tell you what most of that is, but it was all delicious. Last, but certainly not least, the bottom right frame shows the desert bar. Ice cream, peanut butter, marshmallows, carmel, whipped cream, and some sort of chocolate crispy thing, all made with bacon. Except, of course, for that burbon-soaked maraschino cherry on the side.
Suffice it to say, I would gladly do this again if given the opportunity and would urge anyone reading this who is around for the next SloPig event to do the same. That said, I’m not sure that my liver and colon can handle much more than maybe an annual event.