Bubba Gump had his shrimp, but for the lip-licking carnivores of the sold-out, all-you-can-eat-and-drink Pig Island II at Governors Island on Saturday, it was all about the pig. There were maple bacon sticky buns, pig’s head tacos, stewed pork crackling, even a VIP stash of bacon “crackerjack” courtesy Stephen Yen of the Clerkenwell. Every porcine concoction was carved and created from 80 pigs, about 50 pounds each, sourced from Autumn’s Harvest Farm in upstate New York to be served at the 23 stands to 1,500 hungry guests.
Lines of guests — some reaching over a hundred deep — snaked around the stands. Chris Rendell, executive chef at Mary Queen of Scots, slicing his pork schnitzel sandwiches and keeping his An Cnoc–scotch-laden “pork totty” hot, was fired up: “My head is all pork belly mush!”
Also sharing their pig’s tales: The Darby’s Michael Jenkins has a palate for “things that are sweet and spicy,” and thus accompanied his spicy pork sausage with plum jam; Umi Nom and Kuma Inn’s King Phojonakong doled out his favorite childhood dish, the Philipphine lechon adobo, while his mother looked over his shoulder; and Will Horowitz of Ducks Eatery was deliriously energized from pulling an all-nighter to smoke his four pigs, weighing in at 176 pounds.
Yet, despite the tremendous offering, the adventurous palates of a few guests left them seeking more. Right in front of JoeDoe’s grill, a tug of war nearly ensued for one part of his so-called “face bacon”: the snout. “Hey, man, you took the last snout,” Tak Yan called out to Eric Fell. To their rescue, chef Joe Dobias quickly split the rubbery snout.
So what’s on the menu for next year? “Maybe one more pig for each restaurant,” organizer Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43 told Grub Street. “I just hope I can find a farm that has all those pigs for me.” We have our greasy fingers crossed, too; until then, scope this year’s carnage in our slideshow.