Last night, Cochon 555 made its return to Miami at the Four Seasons and it was epic. Five chefs competed, showcasing five heritage breed pigs, The bourbon and beer flowed, a butchering pop-up emerged in the center and in total 1,200 pounds of pork were devoured.
The winner of the night was Pubbelly's own Jose Mendin, who put a lot of pork in our belly. Mendin prevailed with an Old Spot Pig from Cross My Heart Farms. The winning menu featured pig sushi nigiri; Neapolitan terrine, bacon and oyster; mofongo (with a crack-like chicharron powder); la tripleta with smoked ham; pork shoulder and head cheese on pan sobao, and bacon bottom cookies.
Mendin had some stiff competition, beating out defending champion Aaron Brooks of Edge Steak and Bar, The Dutch's Conor Hanlon, Michael's Genuine's Bradley Herron, and MC Kitchen's Dena Marino.
This win means Mendin heads to the Grand Cochon at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, where he could be named the "King of Pork!"
We thought we had seen pork every which way until one dessert blew our mind. Herron, from Michael's Genuine, used his pig's blood, liver and skin to make a chocolate, peanut and strawberry, chocolate bar. We know it sounds bizarre but trust us it was better than any Snickers.
Other special food tables were the late night sweets from Antonio Bachour from the St. Regis Bal Harbour and an Asian speakeasy table with more pork by Jason Pringle from db Bistro Moderne.
With a night like this, with so much food, balance is everything. Of course, we don't mean in terms of eating less. We do mean balance in drinking as much as we were eating. There were a variety of fine wines, but when it comes to pork, we wanted the two B's: bourbon and beer.
A Manhattan bar in the back and a variety of beer kept us hydrated as we attempted to devour more pork. We saw beer-tails with mint and lime and beer spiked punch, but it was the Belgian style beers from sponsor, Goose Island, that were our favorite pairing. Plus, drinking beer out of a wine glass is just classy. The Sophie and Matilda were the champagne of beers. We sipped on that as we ate the other white meat, as if no other meat had ever existed.
The winning food from team Mendin of Pubbelly.
Mendin serving up his mofongo with pork shoyu broth, ginger, shoulder and chicharron powder.
Marino making plates with a wine glass holder. Genius.
This plate from Marino featured gnocchi with pork ragu, a pork carrot cake, sausage ribolita and panzarotti maiale.
The pig at the Michael's Genuine table was real fancy and festive.
These chocolate bars made with pig's blood need to be packaged up and sold.
The defending champion, Aaron Brooks, brought his A game and his headcheese arepas.
The other dishes from Brooks' were a mortadella dog and an English breakfast with an egg, smoked loin, baked beans and black pudding.
Hanlon and the Dutch crew ruled dessert with a pork fat doughnut and bacon ice cream. Homer Simpson would approve.
Bachour in his natural habitat, surrounded by dessert.
Pringle serving Asian delicacies at his speakeasy.
The pop-up butcher shop. This little piggy turned into a market.
Miami's favorite Top Chef contender, Nina Compton made a cameo at the event.
This punch is drunk with Goose Island beer.
Small batch bourbon Manhattan in a mason jar.
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The chef Cochon 555 contenders before the big announcement.
Team Pubbelly tasting sweet victory!
Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst