At a New Jersey Fête du Cochon, 200 guests meet one 550-pound pig. Plus, tips on how to throw your own pig roast.
"Jean-Louis Palladin participated in many Falstaffian events," New York City restaurateur Drew Nieporent says, "and the pig roast captured his larger-than-life spirit." When the legendary chef was diagnosed with cancer, Nieporent bid $12,000 for a Fête du Cochon at a fund-raiser to help with medical expenses. New York chef Daniel Boulud had donated the party and the pig, specially raised at Four Story Hill Farm in Pennsylvania on apples, chestnuts and buttermilk; F&W was the cosponsor. The 200 guests gathered at Perona Farms in New Jersey to dine on the 550-pound porker, half of which had been slow-roasted for a day, the other half of which had been hot-smoked Texas-barbecue-style for two days. Almost two dozen other Manhattan chefs donated side dishes: Aquavit's Marcus Samuelsson brought apple-potato gratin; Harold Moore of Montrachet arrived with leeks vinaigrette. And Stéphane Motir of TriBakery baked 10 pig-shaped raspberry roulade cakes covered with pink marzipan.
The 200 guests at the roast sat at a huge banquet table in a former dairy barn and passed around platters family-style. A folk guitarist provided the afternoon's entertainment. To create a playlist for your own pig roast, consider Townes Van Zandt's album Flyin' Shoes and traditional blues albums like the boxed set of Robert Johnson's The Complete Recordings or Leadbelly's Where Did You Sleep Last Night.