Last year, Mother Nature tried to take the piss out of Feast’s very popular Smoked! event by taking a literal piss on it.
The annual al fresco event—which brings together chefs from around the nation who show up to show off their grilling skills—is held at the Fields Park which, because of some uncooperative weather last year, was turned into a muddy fairway that almost made it unsuitable for an evening of snacking.
Thankfully, Mother Nature spared the event this year—even though the Gorge wildfire cast a somber gloom over the event, and all of Portland in general—which gave you more time to savor these chefs’ one-time culinary treats. That’s good news. Even better? A lot of these one-time dishes might eventually make guest appearances on local menus, which means everyone who didn’t or couldn’t afford to attend Feast might have a chance to try them down the road.
Here’s what’s coming your way. Probably. Maybe.
Mediterranean Exploration Company’s John Gorham and Kasey Mills trotted out a big oven to heat homemade pitas which they stuffed with homemade pickles and animal hearts which had been marinating since at least Thursday and possibly Wednesday. They were superb.
Per usual, Departure’s Gregory Gourdet dazzled eaters with boneless turkey wings that he’d glazed with a sweet—but not too sweet—Korean-inspired wing sauce. The guy’s a maestro, but we all already know that.
But if you were forced to name the star of the show in this collection of culinary luminaries, its name would be bone marrow.
The Country Cat’s Adam Sappington rolled out grilled tomahawk steak rolls that were slathered in a thick creamy bone marrow spread. St. Jack’s Aaron Barnett offered up grilled bone marrow which came topped with sprinkled beef tartare and freshly grated horseradish.
But Smoked’s showstopper came from Langbaan and Hat Yai’s Earl Ninsom, who doled out tiny plates comprising garlic rice, tomatoes and peaches, and brisket from Matt’s BBQ, which was glued together by a marrow-y sauce that Ninsom called “jungle curry,” which he poured from a wood-fired teapot. That velvety brisket was no joke. You could found a cult on it. Maybe even a religion. And that jungle curry tied everything together like a satisfying happy ending to a novel you’ll never forget. Here’s hoping he finds a place for it on Hat Yai’s menu, because it could definitely rival Ninsom’s already unimpeachable Thai fried chicken.