Cochon Heritage BBQ is returning to Memphis on Labor Day weekend with a new venue at the recently opened Beale Street Landing and an impressive line-up of local and regional chefs.
This year’s cooking teams include Memphis chefs Ryan Trimm of Sweet Grass, Jackson Kramer of Interim, Craig Blondis of Central BBQ and Rick Farmer and Miles McMath of St. Jude, along with visiting chefs Chad Clevenger and Nick McCormick of Alma Cocina in Atlanta and Travis Grimes of Husk Restaurant in Charleston.
Most of the Cochon activities will center on the Friday night competition August 30 between cooking teams instead of the three-day format followed for last year’s inaugural event.
“We are stacking all my favorite moments from last year into one day, and putting everything on historic Beale Street,” said Cochon 555 founder Brady Lowe. “We wanted to be on the river and make a big statement. It’s going to be awesome.”
In addition, a limited number of tickets will be sold for a tour on Saturday that will include music, trivia and stops to eat at popular barbecue restaurants. “We’ll fill up the bus with 70 people, have a hoot and end up with a party at Central BBQ’s new spot downtown,” Lowe said.
A pied piper for locavores who love to eat, Lowe started Cochon 555 in 2008 to help educate consumers about small-scale farmers and sustainable heritage breed pigs. Today, the Cochon 555 competitions take place in 17 cities across the country.
Cochon Heritage BBQ started last year in Memphis as a spin-off event that ties into National Bourbon Month. The competition follows a similar Cochon format. Cooking teams create six distinct dishes (four meats and two sides) utilizing all parts of a whole hog. Dishes from the head-to-toe cooking are unexpected and delicious. (Think chocolate blood tart or pig head gumbo with dirty rice calas.)
At the event, participants get to dig into a tasting-style reception after the judging. The spread is plentiful, offering, in addition to pork dishes, craft cheeses and beer, Rappahannock River Oysters and a bourbon bar from acclaimed distilleries such as Buffalo Trace, Four Roses and Eagle Rare.
VIP tickets for early entry are $200, and general admission tickets are $125. Click here for more information on the Memphis event, as well as on Cochon Heritage BBQ competitions in St. Louis and Louisville. The additional venues are new this year, offering opportunities to “young, energetic and upcoming chefs,” Lowe said.
Cochon Heritage BBQ, August 30, 5 p.m. Beale Street Landing and Rooftop Terrace