Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Other Fall Classic

With the World Series over, Basile still had teams locked in struggle to win the Swine Festival Pork
Cook-off. Local teams, often just buddies who enter on their own or get a business to sponsor them, cook up ribs, pork stews, and other swine delicacies, and serve up samples to the fairgoers. (Note: "Sample" in the Northeast means something on a toothpick or a dixie-cup-sized serving; sample here means the entire bowl in the hands of the guy top center.) This can be serious business, as in the case of Team le Porc Cuisine (top), who bought matching outfits, got glossy banners, and had the nicest tent. But they're so doggedly competitive, even some of their own loved ones went to work for other teams this year (including a team named "We Left the Pigs Looking for the Hogs"). The winners of the Grand Champion prize, were much more likably low-key in contrast: Todd Fontenot, JT Durio, and Walter Klump (representing Trappers Bar) cooked under a blue tarp next to a pick-up truck and wowed the judges with cracklin', boston butt roast, stew, and ribs. By the time I met them, they had also been consuming the product of their sponsor for about nine hours, so it would be judicious of me not to publish all of what they said in their post-cook-off condition.

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