It’s probably inappropriate of me, but I’m in the middle of reading a cookbook on Appalachian food, and attending a dinner featuring 9 different pork items on the same weekend meant that there were more than a few quotes from Deliverance being spouted at Jason Rees’ Porknography dinner at the Rusholme Park Supper Club this past weekend.
Jason and sous chef Jamie (aka. The Pork Ninjas) promised us a 3×3 dinner (3 courses with 3 different pork items at each course) and they did not fail to deliver.
We started with the weirdest bit first, as The Pork Ninjas served up pork cheek, something that carries a bit of squick value but is actually very delicate and tasty.
Pork cheek was diced and fried and served as guanciale in bruschetta (top) and in a spaghetti carbonara (left) on an edible Chinese soup spoon (think a spoon-shaped cracker). More fried cheek was added to Southern-style grits that were topped with slices of cheek and roast apples.
There was a bit of kitchen mayhem with some dropped toasts and slow plating, but it didn’t matter because we were all happy to wait for the entree, pulled pork 3 ways. Here Jason (right), sous chef Jamie (centre) and Depanneur/Rushholme Park Supper Club owner Len Senater (left) pull apart slow-roasted pork shoulder for the trio of sandwiches.
Served with coleslaw and macaroni and cheese, Jason sent out platters of pulled pork sliders in 3 different sauces, starting with a (South Carolina) vinegar-based sauce, then a (North Carolina) mustard-based sauce, and finally a sweet (BBQ competition style) sauce.
It was incredibly interesting to compare the flavours of the three. Most of the 20+ guests chose either the vinegar or mustard-based sauces as their favourite, but Jason told us that, to accommodate US tastes (especially for competitions in New York state), they had to use a super-sweet BBQ sauce in order to place. It’s pretty neat to see how our collective sweet tooth varies from region to region.
Finally dessert (most of us were stupid full at this point, and that’s with eating just the pork from the sandwiches and forgoing the buns). The darling piggy cupcakes contained bacon and beer, while the candied bacon cream cheese ice cream was incredibly rich. Imagine a cold cheesecake with bacon and you’ll be close to what it was like. And I think we were collectively confused by the bacon-wrapped chocolate bars. Made with a Crispy Crunch bar wrapped with bacon and baked, it was a combination of peanut butter, chocolate and bacon, but many of the guests deemed it to be too sweet.
Overall, it was a tasty but gut-busting experience, and we all rolled out of there stinking of bacon and planning to eat a week of salads to make up for all the cholesterol we’d ingested.
Check out the schedule of The Depanneur/Rusholme Park Supper Club for other upcoming events and dinners. A 1-day club membership is only $40, and the dinners are a great way to try new and interesting foods and meet new people.