Ah, the mighty pig. It is such a fascinating creature. They can use their keen sense of smell to detect truffles. If released into the wild the males will regrow tusks and fur and become more like the wild boar. The pig also tastes amazingly freaking delicious. Aside from vegan/vegetarians and those with religious dietary restrictions, you'll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't like pork. After spending the spring/summer at bacon themed festivals such as Bacon Beer Classic and The Great Big Bacon we were thrilled to close out the summer with Pig Island.
While the event was fun, I do have one major criticism. The event featured several dishes that all included pork. Pork can get salty if prepared deliciously. They had unlimited beer from Brooklyn's own Sixpoint Brewery and various liquor sponsors as well as samples of cold brew coffee. The weather proved to be most humid and one key beverage was in short supply. I'm talking about good old lady H2O. Some stations had very tiny water bottles but they were limited and after a single sampling you'd be ready to down 7-10 of those tiny bottles. Water aside, I have very few negative things to say about Pig Island.
The Erie Basin Park Waterfront was a lovely venue choice. Coming from Queens, the journey did seem arduous but thanks to the nearby Ikea we were able to board a shuttle from the F train that took us right to the venue. There was a massive grass area where people placed blankets and even tents(pro-tip BRING A BLANKET). The event definitely kept the tickets limited. There was plenty of room to breathe and few long lines. I would have liked a second beer sponsor but Sixpoint offered three brews (Sweet Action, Bengali and The Crisp) which created enough variety. Queens Courage made us feel right at home by serving up some Astoria gin. They had a good selection of available cocktails but I ended up with the honey based one considering it was still Honey Week. The honey was made by Astoria bees.
Beer, gin and water are great but let's talk pig! All of this would be a huge waste of time if the food sucked. Luckily the food was great! I was able to try a lot of food but few really stood out to me. Sotto 13 Chef Ed Cotton had these Pork-Butt Corn Dogs which were more like egg rolls on a stick. They also didn't expect fans to devour them so quickly. They ran out with around 2 hours left in the festival. Ends Meat – Chef John Ratliff served Pork Nuggets and Bratwurst. The Pork Nuggets were similar to the Pork-Butt Corn Dogs but were a little crispier. Ends Meat also generated a lot of positive feedback thanks to their spreadable sausage. I caught many attendees proclaiming it as the best thing at the event.
There was even a vegetarian dish for some reason. Bitter Green served a combination of grilled corn,squash,radishes,peaches and watermelon. It was good and was a fine intermission meal between pork dishes. They even garnered a rather long line. I long line for a meat free dish at a pork fest must have been a great ego boost. There was also a live band covering some great classic rock. They played it at the perfect volume where you can hear the song but it doesn't drown out your conversation.
Would I go again? Most definitely. I arrived one hour late so I feel like I missed out on some parts. I just hope they bring more food next time. Did you attend Pig Island? Feel free to share your favorite dish.