Apples + Pig Fat = Heaven

Il Buco's Porcine Picnic

This weekend Edible Manhattan set up a stand at at il Buco’s sixth “Sagra del Maiale,” the restaurant’s annual outdoor pig roast and apple fest on the cobblestones of Bond Street. The piggies (and the panzanella, and the mint tea, and the arugula salad, and the apple-pork sausages and the porchetta/blueberry mostarda sandwiches) were all amazing, natch.

But the most revolutionary thing we tasted was courtesy of Bev Eggleston, the Virginia farmer/cutting-edge slaughterhouse creator who brought up the two animals from EcoFriendly Foods that il Buco chef Ignacio Mattos roasted into sublime porkiness.

Once those pigs were done, Eggleston smothered apple slices with pig fat and little crispy bits of pork and passed them out to the crowd. Best. Thing. You. Ever. Tasted. (Actually that was for the customers. For himself, he just shoved a whole apple in the fatty, crispy side of the pig, which works awfully well, too.) I decided to get all fancy-pants with the concept and turn it into a sandwich: I slow-cooked some Flying Pigs farm bacon so it was juicy, and plunked it down on top of some thin red apple slices plus some green tomato mostarda and pickled shallots that I got from Bklyn Larder on some ciabatta bread, all of which I pressed under a cast iron pan in the oven. Then I really really thanked the lord of food I’d met Bev Eggleston and that he’d met Ignacio. But seriously, plain old bacon and plain old apples on bread was awesome, too. I tested it. And if you missed the feast on the cobblestones, by the way, no worries: We’re hosting our own next Saturday at South Street Seaport for our year-anniversary party. Be there!

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.