Friends and Hogs for the Cause teammates Aaron Burgau (of Patois), Bart Bell (formerly of Crescent Pie & Sausage), Justin Devillier (of La Petite Grocery), Dan Esses (of Three Muses), and Nathanial Zimet (of Boucherie) will be working together at Boudin, Bourbon & Beer on Friday with a pig pickin' party. Read on to find out how this collaboration came about and other pressing pork and beer related issues.
How did the idea for the pig pickin' party collaboration come about?
Aaron Burgau: We were all on the same BBQ team, Stand Up and Snout, for Hogs for the Cause, and last year me and Bart were talking that it would be cool to do something fun with the whole team, like a mini-boucherie, where each person did their own thing with a pig. We reached out to the other guys but they were doing their own thing, but when it came time for [Boudin, Bourbon & Beer last year] everyone else was running around like crazy, making plates and stuff, while me and Bart were all set up at the start and sat back and had fun.
Bart Bell: Yeah, last year we were all sitting around Justin's restaurant planning for Hogs, and I said, hey, Boudin, Bourbon & Beer is right around the corner, we should do something together for that. Only Aaron took me seriously and was like, I'll do it. The others were kinds laughing it off, I guess that's not how they wanted to represent their restaurants. But when we got there, we set everything up with tongs and serving spoons and rolls and were like all right, peace, we're outta here. It's self service. We wandered around, listening to the music, trying all the food. It's a social event, why are we stuck doing all these stupid canapes? No. Just, no. So we'd go to the other three's booths and they could see we were having a lot more fun and were super jealous. So this year, they jumped on the bandwagon right away.
Justin Devillier: Bart and Aaron did it last year, and it seemed like a great idea. As Boudin, Bourbon & Beer grows - it's one of the biggest chef events out there - we can grow too. We can offer a much better product if we work together.
Dan Esses: I guess it was because Aaron thought it would be a really good idea, since we were on the same Hogs for the Cause team last year. And it would be so much easier to put product out on a big table, and put out all of our collaborative efforts together and then be able to enjoy the event.
Nathanial Zimet: We just thought it would be a more fun and more enjoyable way to work the event.
How's it going to be set up?
Aaron: We'll have our big smoker there. The whole hog will be on top of the table with pork, like, pouring out of it. there will be sausages on the grill, and baskets of cracklin out. We've expanded this year, so each of us will get a table. It's a different way of doing it. It's like twice as much fun for half the work.
Bart: You know, if everyone teamed up like us and we had just like 9 or 10 huge teams at the event, it wouldn't be very exciting for the guests. But with just us doing something like this, I think it's more interesting for everyone.
Dan: It's going to be like being at a boucherie. We're going to be bringing it to the roots of Cajun country as best as we can.
Nathanial: We'll put the whole hog on the table, and it'll be a little less hands-on [for the chefs].
Who's contributing what to the party?
Aaron: Whole hog.
Bart: Smoked sausage, like an andouille or chaurice. But I bet when we get there, it'll be like, "oh sweet, we all made boudin."
Justin: A hundred pounds of traditional boudin.
Dan: I'll be doing my Jewish interpretation of boudin, "Jewdin," similar to what I did last year. It'll have corned beef, chicken liver, rye bread crumbs, matzoh. I'm going to deep fry the jewdin balls and serve it with pickles and mustard.
Nathaniel: Crackin and the backbone stew. It's gonna be really cool.
What beer are you enjoying these days?
Aaron: Honestly, give me a Coors Banquet beer any day. I lived across the street from the Coors brewery for about a year, and it's just a good beer for me. Beer often puts me to sleep, but I like the hard ciders. I'm not an IPA person, but I like [NOLA Brewing's] Hopitoulas.
Bart: I like darker sours or black lagers. In general, I like a darker beer. Out of habit, I drink them in the winter. The roux is darker, the gumbo is darker, and the days are darker.
Justin: Well, I've had a Newcastle Brown Ale in my fridge forever. When I do drink beer, I usually go for a brown ale - NOLA Brown is delicious.
Dan: I like Bayou Teche's LA-31 Biere Noir and Southern Prohibition's Suzy B blonde ale. I love drinking cans, and I'm also really liking Southern Prohibition's Jack the Sipper, too.
Nathanial: I tried some [Abita] Strawgator recently that was freakin' awesome. I'm also enjoying Yalobusha beer, I like their red ale [Copperhead].
What's your favorite Abita beer?
Bart: Purple Haze.
Justin: Amber. They have a lot of cool fun flavors now, but I just really like that classic amber.
Dan: I like the Abita Light.
Nathanial: Depending on the year, Strawberry. I really enjoy the Jockamo too.
Boudin, Bourbon, or Beer. Pick the one you couldn't live without.
Aaron: Ooh, that's tough. For me, it would be between Jack Daniels and boudin. Though, it's really hard for me to drive by a gas station that has boudin without stopping in. So, yeah. Definitely boudin.
Bart: Boudin. C'mon, you don't need to ask me that.
Justin: Boudin. No hesitation. Boudin.
Nathanial: Bourbon! Why make me choose?