Sky Full of Bacon


Sky Full of Bacon 05: There Will Be Pork (Pt. 1)

“Convey[s] the downright decency of all parties involved with a directness that’s difficult to achieve in prose. Listening to farmer Linda Derrickson talk from the heart about honoring and giving thanks for the happy lives of pigs is worth at least 100 pages of The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” —Martha Bayne

The phrase “farm to table” is used a lot in foodie circles. In this Sky Full of Bacon two-part podcast, I’ll show you what it really means— from the farm to the slaughterhouse to the kitchens of five of Chicago’s top restaurants.


Sky Full of Bacon 05: There Will Be Pork (pt. 1) from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

Mike Sula of the Chicago Reader has been writing about the rare mulefoot pig for the last year and a half. Now the Reader has enlisted award-winning chef Paul Kahan, of Chicago’s Blackbird, to plan an elaborate six-course dinner showcasing the meat of these pigs and the sustainable, humane way in which they’re raised. Kahan in turn recruited chefs Jason Hammel (Lula Cafe), Paul Virant (Vie), Brian Huston (the newly opened The Publican) and Justin Large (Avec), as well as Blackbird executive chef Mike Sheerin and dessert chef Tim Dahl, to each prepare a course utilizing different parts of the whole animal.

But no meal begins with the restaurant. In Part 1, Mike Sula and I visit the farmers who’ve raised these mulefoot pigs in southern Wisconsin, and consider the paradox of why eating an endangered pig breed could be the key to saving it. And as preparations for the meal get underway, we talk to Huston and Virant about why raising pork humanely from farmers you know and using the whole animal matters to them. (Warning: video does contain vivid footage of meatcutting.) It’s an epic tale with as much meat (pun unavoidable) as two or three Sky Full of Bacon podcasts, which is why it’s broken into two parts, the first of which runs 19:57.  Next week, in Part 2, we’ll complete the story.

Mike Sula’s account of the same events
Recipes from the dinner
The Chicago Reader’s complete “Whole Hog Project” archive
LTHforum posts on the dinner, and Chuck Sudo’s account at Chicagoist

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About Sky Full of Bacon
Sky Full of Bacon #4: A Head’s Tale
Sky Full of Bacon #3: The Last Brisket Show
Sky Full of Bacon #2: Duck School
Sky Full of Bacon #1: How Local Can You Go?

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14 Responses to “Sky Full of Bacon 05: There Will Be Pork (Pt. 1)”

  1. Jon in Albany Says:

    Great video. You were a little worried about the length…I thought the 20 minutes flew by.

    All the restaurants looked like great places to eat. That canning room was very impressive. I guess I have to put “Eating Tour of Chicago” on the list of things to do.

    Looking forward to Part 2.

  2. The Local Beet: Chicago » Blog Archive » The Local Calender Says:

    […] watch MikeG’s latest farm to table video–accompanying story here; backstory […]

  3. Neil Says:

    When is part 2???

  4. Michael Gebert Says:

    I believe it will go up next Wednesday, the 19th.

  5. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » Chef Portrait: Paul Kahan of Blackbird Says:

    […] Avec and The Publican.  The videos this goes with, of course, are There Will Be Pork parts 1 and […]

  6. stephanie Says:

    great video. think i missed out on a tasty dinner!

  7. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » Milestones Says:

    […] The first of the There Will Be Pork videos just passed 1000 too, and the second one is almost there.  (I knew those would draw a smaller audience because many would be turned off by the meatcutting and slaughter footage, but it’s satisfying that they’ve finally reached that milestone, or will shortly.) […]

  8. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » Top Ten For 2008 Says:

    […] unique perspective on this meal (well, unique to me and Sula), given the days and days I spent chronicling it and seeing it all behind the scenes, but besides being boundlessly impressed by the chefs I watched […]

  9. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » (Sky Full of) Baconfest Says:

    […] foodie, big congrats to Mike Sheerin of Blackbird, hog-breaker-downer extraordinaire (as seen here), who is Chicago’s member of the Food & Wine best new chefs for […]

  10. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » Back in Blackbird Says:

    […] a meal tragically lost to history, the only time I had been there to eat (as opposed to, say, butcher hogs in the basement) was for the mulefoot pig dinner. Mike Sheerin, the chef Paul Kahan brought in from WD-50 in New […]

  11. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » Sky Full of Bacon 13: Pie As a Lifestyle Says:

    […] World Sky Full of Bacon #7: Eat This City Sky Full of Bacon #6: There Will Be Pork (pt. 2) Sky Full of Bacon #5: There Will Be Pork (pt. 1) Sky Full of Bacon #4: A Head’s Tale Sky Full of Bacon #3: The Last Brisket Show Sky Full of […]

  12. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » Sky Full of Bacon 07: Eat This City Says:

    […] About Sky Full of Bacon Sky Full of Bacon #6: There Will Be Pork (pt. 2) Sky Full of Bacon #5: There Will Be Pork (pt. 1) Sky Full of Bacon #4: A Head’s Tale Sky Full of Bacon #3: The Last Brisket Show Sky Full of […]

  13. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » Sky Full of Bacon 11: A Better Fish Says:

    […] World Sky Full of Bacon #7: Eat This City Sky Full of Bacon #6: There Will Be Pork (pt. 2) Sky Full of Bacon #5: There Will Be Pork (pt. 1) Sky Full of Bacon #4: A Head’s Tale Sky Full of Bacon #3: The Last Brisket Show Sky Full of […]

  14. Sky Full of Bacon » Blog Archive » Airwaves Full of Bacon 4: The Beer Episode! Nathan Sears Revives the German Beer Hall • Jared Rouben’s Moody Tongue • The State of Chicago Beer with Karl Klockars • Golden Shrimp Mystery Solved Says:

    […] who I’ve known as Paul Virant’s #2 at Vie for years and years (he appears on camera in this Sky Full of Bacon video from 2008). He’s opening The Radler and DAS, a German beer hall and restaurant with a […]