Friday, November 11, 2016

Pensacola Eggfest 2016 VIP Dinner

This Sunday is the 2016 Pensacola Eggfest presented by Kia Autosport and I am happy to be a celebrity guest judge again with my co-horts, Big Green Craig, Moe Cason, Chef Travis Wilson, and a few more.  It's not too late to buy your taster ticket which supports a wonderful charity AND gives you access to sample all of the great dishes that the area's best Big Green Egg chefs will be serving.  

Big Green Craig was conscripted volunteered to cook the pre-event VIP Dinner for 200-250 people. Some of his planned help had to cancel on a few days notice so we changed plans and I brought in 3/4th's of Team Nibble Me This to be his support team for the event.  Here are some of the pictures from last night.

I have been in Orange Beach, AL all week for the World Food Championships and the Pensacola Eggfest.  The week started out a bit wet and grey but the Chamber of Commerce weather arrived just in time for our cook.

Orange Beach and the Gulf Coast are a great setting for these two events.  The events are killer on their own merits but the Gulf Coast just makes them "destination events".  You come for the events but extend your stay and bring your family for the beautiful beaches, astounding fishing, superb golfing, amazing restaurants, hospitality, and so much more.

The Pensacola Eggfest is held in the Blue Wahoo Stadium located smack dab on the water.  This is a beautiful, modern stadium and it is my favorite Eggest venue.  It's currently set up for the local football team.

Big Green Craig's menu was ambitious but we had a great team and we knew we could nail it.  Plus Chef Travis and his team were cooking a side paired for each dish, so that took a load off of us.

This is a Big Green Egg hatching ground, where Green Eggs reproduce in the wild.

We started early in the morning, firing up 10 large Eggs for our day's work.

Pork bellies and pork butts for the first round of dishes. 

Doin' work!  What a great location, right?

I LOVE any time that I get to cook in a commercial kitchen OR with one of my BBQ brothers.  This was a double whammy!  Craig and I cooked together for one of the first times and Chef Travis and his team were so accommodating to put up with us in their kitchens all day.

We cooked 4 whole ribeyes for prime rib.  We crusted them with a dynamic garlic/black pepper (and more) crust.
Video of us during prep time.

Alexis wasn't planning on it but flew in on one day's notice.  Here she is making the fire roasted salsa verde to go with the carnitas.

Rhonda drove 370+ miles and as soon as she got into town, she was in the kitchen with us working. She didn't even get to her room until near midnight.  Here she is cutting up smoked pork bellies to be used in the piglet poppers.

An army has to eat, so Craig grilled the trimmings from the beef ribeyes and we cubed that meat up for beef tacos for the crew to eat.

We smoked the pork butts for several hours and then braised them in Pensacola Bay Brewery's Riptide Amber ale.

Brown paper bag?  Nope, it's an insulated coozie just for this event.  Come out Sunday and you can get one.

Of course, we never go to a professional cook without professional equipment.  Here my Thermoworks TimeStick Trio is showing me how long since the tritips went on, how long since the rib roasts went on, and how long until time to check on the carnitas.  Of course, the Thermapen was there for checking temps.

This is NOT a recommended use of a Thermapen....we had to run to our vehicles for our fresh clothes and didn't want to get locked out of the stadium.  Big Green Craig's Thermapen took one for the team.
I could get used to cooking with this scenery every day, couldn't you?  The stadium, the water, the's just amazing.

Getting close to time for dinner service.  Craig and I checking on the beef rib roasts.  Photo by Rhonda.

The shadows are getting long and the guests will be coming in soon.

Rolling in the prime rib roasts.  Having a commercial kitchen means having holding ovens which makes life MUCH MUCH easier for timing! 

We slow roasted the tri-tips, let them rest, and then seared them off at the last minute.

Searing off the tri-tips at about 1 million degrees.  Maybe a little less.

Slicer didn't work so Craig and I hand sliced the tri-tips.

Piglet Poppers - winning recipe of the 2015 Eggtoberfest.  Pork belly seasoned, smoked, rested, cubed, battered, and deep fried.  Yes....deep fried pork belly.

Chef Amanda was a culinary bad ass too.  She prepped/cooked all day long.  These are her cupcakes with candied bacon.  A-freaking-mazing. 
I didn't get any plated pics because we were busy serving but we had 200+ very happy guests.  I'm proud of what we plated and got some fantastic feedback from guests and the organizers.  Craig put together a perfect menu and we all nailed it.

This morning, Craig and some of our team are out fishing for reds.  This is my first day off in about 2 weeks so I stayed at the condo for a little relaxation.  

So there is a LOT going on at the Gulf Coast this weekend.  The World Food Championships are going on at The Wharf in Orange Beach, you should check it out.  I'll be judging at the BBQ category for the WFC on Saturday. 

The Pensacola Eggfest is this Sunday (SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY - MONSTER TRUCK JAM! ...sorry, couldn't resist) at the Blue Wahoo Baseball Stadium in Pensacola.  You can buy taster tickets here that will let you sample the food.  The money goes to support Chain Reaction, a very worthy charity that mentors young people.  

Come on out!