The pet project of top chefs across the country, roasted pig makes for playful wine pairings.
Naomi Pomeroy, chef/owner, is something of an authority on pig roasts. Pomeroy won the pig-roasting competition Cochon 555 in Portland in March, and was a judge at the competition in New Orleans in May. There, she fed 30 staff members and judges, “since chefs never want to eat their own food.” And while “it’s not my style to adapt something,” the pig dish she created riffed on Buffalo wings.
Pomeroy took a milk-fed suckling pig and rubbed it with chaff from the chilies of the nearby Tabasco facility, along with brown sugar and spices, then slow-roasted the pig for 9–10 hours. The result: spicy pulled pork sandwiches topped with crispy pig skin, blue cheese sauce and celery shavings.
While wine was not paired with the dish at the competition, BEAST’s sommelier David Round would look to a rosé for such a pairing: Château de Trinquevedel’s 2010 Les Vignes d’Eugène from Tavel. “This is a red-wine drinker’s rosé, and aptly named, as Trinquevedel means ‘veal hammer’ or ‘place where veal were butchered’...the winery building used to be a veal processor,” says Round. “This has a lot of rich red fruit to it, and while it’s dry, it should be able to hold it’s own versus such a spicy, vinegary dish.”
So why have pig roasts become so popular? Pomeroy says, “There’s a lot of interest in heritage pigs right now, [and] how important it is to farm heritage breeds. They’re being destroyed so fast with mass commercial breeding. Plus, the milk-fed ones, who have never been grain-fed, are so delicious.”
Pomeroy also cites economic factors. “After the economy tanked, people started taking [butchery] courses at the [Portland] Meat Collective,” she says. “There is an emphasis on using the whole animal. Plus, [pig roasts] feed a lot of people. And it gets people together.”
“What’s not to like about roast pork?” asks Tony Maws, chef/proprietor. “I know some people think they’ve had enough of pork, but I think they’re crazy.”
The Confit and Roasted Milk-Fed Pig’s Head comes with Peking pancakes, pumpkin sambal and boudin noirhoisin sauce for dipping. “The idea is you roll up your sleeves, dive in with your fingers, pull off the meat and enjoy!” says Carl York, general manager and sommelier.
Wondering what wine pairs with pig’s head? “We suggest a beautiful Swiss white from Cave les Ruinettes that is off-dry,” York says. For a red pairing, York looks to Beaujolais, particularly the “awesome” Lapierre 2010 Morgon.
Troquet’s Roast Suckling Pig is a signature dish, with its perfect wine partner being a Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
“We prepare each part of the pig differently,” says Executive Chef Scott Hebert. “We confit part of it, and we roast or sear the other parts, so the complexity of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape works beautifully.”
Beer and spirits lovers also have pig pairing options: “We’re a wine-focused restaurant,” says Hebert. “But a Cuban Manhattan with dark rum instead of Bourbon would be savory and complex. For beer fans, Corsendonk Brown Ale’s roasted malts and Belgian yeast pair beautifully with the pork and celery root coleslaw.”