On September 27, guests at Delmonico Steakhouse were introduced to the Templeton Rye Heritage Pork Project ... with a twist. The project raises Duroc pigs on spent grain from Templeton Rye production, and while chef de cuisine Ronnie Rainwater deftly assembled a quintuplet of individual dishes incorporating the swine, beverage manager Max Solano elevated the meal further by concocting a duo of fat-washed Templeton Rye cocktails to accompany the courses. The result was a piggy epiphany.
A pair of appetizers began the extravaganza: crisp-yet-tender boudin boulettes atop a caramelized onion emulsion and a rich, house-made head cheese (served on rye toast, wink wink), consisting of practically every pig piece not incorporated elsewhere on the menu. Entrée-wise, the lightly breaded pork chop with smoked, stewed butter beans and southern greens was a robust treasure, while the caramelized porchetta with Brussels sprouts offered a contrast in its subtlety.
To round out the meal, butterscotch bacon pudding with candied bacon and bacon shortbread layered sweet and meat in each smoky spoonful. To wash it all down, Solano prepared a Mesquite Manhattan and a Pomme & Swine, the former offering a smoky play on a classic and the latter delivering an apple-y riff on a traditional whiskey sour.
The dinner used only a single 170-pound hog, so portions were limited; in fact, cocktails were in high demand and ran out shortly into the evening. Don’t fret, though: It was a one-time event, but Rainwater hopes the response will warrant such special gatherings more frequently. Be on the lookout.