P.I.G. 8, chef Jeremiah Bullfrog's annual tribute to pork, will return Saturday, November 18.
The Miami food fest, whose name is short for "Pork Is Good," will bring together local and national chefs to churn out everything from chicharrones to smoked pork belly bao buns to and bacon ice cream, all using heritage-breed pork.
Participants include P.I.G. regulars such as Taquiza's Steve Santana, the Dutch's Josh Gripper, Strip Steak's Will Crandall, and Ms. Cheezious' Brian Mullins, along with Ghee's Niven Patel, Coyo Taco's Scott Linquist, and Mandolin's Roel Alcudia. Bullfrog has also recruited out-of-state culinary talent from New Orleans, New York, and Madison, Wisconsin.
Unlike past iterations, this year's edition will not feature a single source of pork. The menu is not yet available, but standouts from P.I.G. 7 were pork cheek jerky, Quahog clams stuffed with applewood-smoked bacon and Chinese mustard, and black-olive-and-blood flatbreads with pork belly.
P.I.G. 8's chef lineup is entirely male. An all-female bar staff will be led by Abigail Gullo of Nina Compton's New Orleans restaurant, Compère Lapin.
"It was hard for us to get female chefs this year, so it's just kind of how the cards fell," Bullfrog says. "To me, men and women are equals in the kitchen, and there's no reason why it turned out this way. I was stoked when Abigail signed on to help bring the whole thing home. She's a beast behind the bar."
The event, which debuted in November 2009, began as an informal gathering between Bullfrog and a few friends at Harvey's by the Bay. They feasted on a whole pig roasted in a caja china, along with chicharrones and smoked pork shoulder nestled in fluffy bao buns. The day was nicknamed Pork Is Good, and the rest is history, he explains.
Bullfrog credits P.I.G. 4 as a turning point in the festival's evolution, when he invited other chefs to whip up more food.
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"For the first few years, it was really just me showing what I could do with a pig," he says. "Then I was like, Why am I doing all the work? That's when I started to expand P.I.G.'s potential."
This year, he'll host the event at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex to accommodate nearly 1,000 attendees, marking this P.I.G. the largest one yet. Bullfrog, however, remains adamant that the festival is staying true to its roots as Miami's "anti-food-festival festival."
"It's the one time of year that we all get to kick back and have a good time," he says. "There's no competition, and we're not raising money. It's just a bunch of chefs that I really respect and want to have a chance to work with."