FOOD EVENT: Heritage BBQ at the Taste of DC

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There might be a debate about the significance of Christopher Columbus “discovering” lands inhabited by indigenous people, but there’s no question about what I most enjoy about this weekend, The Taste of DC.  And what’s even better than the Taste of DC is its newest addition, the Heritage BBQ presented by Goose Island Beer Co.

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Tucked just off of 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue was a hidden oasis for smoked meat purists. Kyle Bailey of Birch and Bailey, Joe Palms of Bourbon Steak DC, George Pagonis of Kapnos, Steve Drewno of The Source (two time Cochon 555 Winner), and The Couch Sessions very own, Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground & Maketto (2014 Cochon 555 Winner) competed against one another to be awarded the title, ‘Global BBQ King.’  Each chef received a 200 pound heritage breed pig, which are pasture-raised, family- farmed swine that bear the superior DNA of ancient bloodlines.  They composed 6 unique dishes based on the categories ‘pull’, ‘muscle’, ‘bone’, ‘stew’, ‘mayo/fat’, and ‘mustard/acid’.  Patrons nibbled on endless bites from some of the city’s top chefs while sipping on pours of cocktails comprised barrel aged bourbons as well as mezcal, wines, cider, and craft beer.  In addition to the competition, Haidar Karoum of doi moi, Ed Witt of The Partisan, Jeffrey Buben of Vidalia, Zack Mills of Wit & Wisdom, and Craig Hartman of The Barbeque Exchange also prepared dishes from their favorite global BBQ culture.

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Other notable happenings included the Pop Up Butcher Shop womanned by Erika Nakamura with Lindy & Grundy and Jocelyn Guest of Dickson’s Farmstand with 100 percent of the proceeds going towards culinary education, the Mezcal Bar featuring Fidencio and Mezcales de Leyenda, and the Ice Cream Social hosted by James Beard Award Winner, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

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My favorite dish of the day was a noodle dish and much to my surprise, it didn’t come from the crew at my favorite noodle shop on H Street.  The drunken noodle pulled pork was a  life-altering, perfect balance of savory with just the right amount of heat.  Apparently, the judges agreed crowning Steve Drewno and his crew from The Source, king.  Overall, this was an excellent addition to the ever popular Taste of DC and I hope to see it return for years to come.  Nom nom.

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