This Saturday, a cloud will be covering the city of New Orleans, but don’t fear: It won’t be a sign of impending doom, but just the rising smoke from the 60 grills and BBQ smokers that will be occupying City Park for Hogs for the Cause.
The annual pork cook-off raises money for families with children who are undergoing treatment for pediatric cancer, and with each year the outcome has been significantly more successful. With attendance tripling in size with each installment, the fourth annual cook off will include more teams, bigger musical acts, and an even bigger space in City Park.
This year, the event has moved to the Frisbee Golf Fields in City Park, just on the other side of the interstate and across the tracks from last year’s location. The bigger space should accommodate the anticipated growing attendance, accessible parking, the 15 additional teams, and the large appetites that will be entering the gates of “City Pork” on Saturday morning.
And large appetites you must bring, because the competitors represent the city’s who’s who of the pork persuasion, including renowned chefs, aficionados, and experts. With punny names, the teams are ready to dish out their concoctions for a good cause and for the opportunity to take home a prize from one of nine award categories, which include Ribs, Whole Hog, Butt, Pokpourri, Grand Champion, Best Booth/Presentation, Fundraising Champion, Best Sauce, and Fan Favorite.
Just to give you a sneak peek at the credibility of the teams, I present to you team FC Messi Swine. The Spanish-themed cohorts prove to be intimidating, with Brad McGehee of Ye Olde College Inn; a chef at a New Orleans private club, Justin Leblanc; and BBQ veteran and primary cast member of a new Louisiana food-related television show (which will be filming at Hogs for the Cause), Ed Douglass.
With a team of experts in tow, their food can be expected to be, as Josh Hudson so eloquently describes it, “inspired by Barcelona’s aggressive approach to pushing classical cooking to the limits. In other words, we’re doing things a little bit differently for better or worse.”
Hudson claims, with what he admits will elicit a collective eye roll, “We’re going to be the Ferran Adria of Hogs for the Cause.”
If that statement didn’t elicit a search on Google, then make sure to look for the FC Barcelona flag to check them out.
More hot competition includes Company Burger, The Grill Room (Windsor Pork), La Cote Brasserie, as well as chefs from Patois, Le Petite Grocery, and MiLa, just to drop a few names to get your stomach growling.
Besides the competitors, vendors will be in attendance with several non-pork goodies, including Sucre, St. James Cheese Company, Taceaux Loceaux, Orleans Coffee Exchange, NOLA Snow Snowballs, Neat Wines, and Big Wil and the Warden. The competitors will be giving out their food for donations to their piggy banks, but attendees can pay the vendors with cash, credit card, check (if you still use those), or Hoggy Dollars (worth $2 each).
In addition, beers will be available for 2 Hoggy Dollars, waters and sodas for 1 Hoggy dollar, wine for 3 Hoggy Dollars a glass or 10 for a bottle, and Cordina MarGOritas for 3 Hoggy dollars a pouch.
The musical acts will not disappoint, either, with a lineup that includes Grammy nominees and New Orleans favorites. This year, you can catch Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, 2012 Grammy nominated artist Marcia Ball, The Stooges Brass Band, Mississippi Rail Company, and Austin, Texas’ The Gourds on the NOLA Brewing stage.
And, according to the oracle of twitter, word of a collaboration between The Gourdes and Trombone Shorty may be in the works. My fingers are crossed for a Gin and Juice remix (hint).
I know there is no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than with a few pork tacos and brisket sandwiches, washed down with a can of NOLA Blonde and Trombone Shorty playing in the background…. all for the sake of a great cause.
Gates open at 10:30 am … see you there.
Tickets are selling quickly, so go to Hogsforthecause.com for more information or Ticketweb to purchase a presale ticket before Friday night. Although, I recommend a Boss Hog pass for judging privileges.
Adriana Lopez writes about the New Orleans entrepreneurial community and cultural events for NolaVie.