Scrolling Facebook for the hundredth time one boring afternoon I found the most amazing post. Nestled between some fool complaining and yet another picture of someone’s new baby was an advertisement for “The Great Big Bacon Picnic”. I hadn’t even visited the website and I knew I had to go. In the time it took to get to the official website I already had an outfit picked out and a companion in mind. Williamsburg was going to be hell to get to from the Bronx, on a weekend but this was bacon and bacon is always worth it.
Just to be sure this was the right kind of function I perused the FAQ and yes they were serving up bacon, real bacon! Not pressed turkey parts or dried out veggies, the real deal. This event was created by Great Big Food Events, a Brooklyn based company whose goal is to create fun, memorable food based gatherings. The Great Big Bacon Picnic is the first of its kind in New York and brought together over 100 chefs, restaurants and brewers for a weekend of drinks, music and most importantly bacon! Vendors were also competing for prizes and of course bragging rights. Dishes were judged on creativity, presentation and deliciousness.
The Great Big Bacon Picnic wasn’t just about eating and competition, the event also gave back to the community by donating a portion of their proceeds to City Harvest. City Harvest is a non profit organization that feeds thousands of New Yorkers each day by collecting food from a variety of sources all over our fair city. In the weeks leading up to this event my partner in crime and I, tried our best to avoid bacon so we would be ready, and we were so glad we did. The event was stretched over 2 days and held at the Old Pfizer plant in Brooklyn. Vendors were set up outside in the parking lot as well as inside, in the loading dock waiting for hungry party goers. The days were broken up into sessions to allow everyone an opportunity to graze without the threat of crowding.
One of our first stops was the bacon bar. As you can probably guess it was a bar offering nothing but bacon. Imagine a salad bar with no croutons, veggies or dressing just several different varieties of salted cured happiness. We explored everything every flavor from sweet Maple smoked to peppery black pepper.
After the bar we headed to the real bar in the VIP area for a shot of Bacon flavored vodka. Also being served at the bar was a Bloody Mary featuring BaKon brand Vodka with Tabasco brand bloody Mary mix. It was like a spicy BLT in a glass.
Next we found our friends from URBO, a midtown eatery we reviewed a few months ago. They were serving up mini oreos with smoked bacon cream filling. A crowd favorite and winner of the Judges Award for Creativity.
Another big award winner and personal favorite was the “Streets” Tuna-Bacon-Truffle Roll. The roll was served with Roasted Jalapeño- Avocado Creme Fraiche and a Kimchi Aioli. The delicious combination of fresh tuna sushi and crispy salty bacon was a hit, and one of the most popular tables at the picnic.
One of the most creative dishes we discovered was from Elizabeth’s Neighborhood Table with their Panko/Bacon Encrusted Lobster Bacon Spring Rolls & Tomato Bacon Chutney. This was a delicious hand held interpretation of classic surf and turf.
The highlight of our evening was the Nawlinz table. Though they didn’t win any awards at the event, their bacon was head and shoulders above the competition. We ate plenty of bacon that day but theirs was the most memorable. Nawlinz served up Apricot Belly Bacon and Hog Jowl Bacon two unique and distinctive items you can also have at their East Village eatery.
The sound of happy munching wasn’t the only entertainment for the night. Guests enjoyed the joyful sounds and exuberant energy of the High and Mighty Brass Band who brought their unique brand of funk to the party.
This year’s Great Big Bacon Picnic may have been the first but it surely won’t be the last. After such an amazing turnout this year we’re already looking forward to 2016. If pork isn’t your thing (shame on you), feel free to visit GreatBigFoodEvents.com and see what else this fab new company has in store. We hope to see you at the next one!