Snowmass to celebrate National Pig Day with outdoor cooking event |

Snowmass to celebrate National Pig Day with outdoor cooking event

Chef Sean Varga roasts a hog on a spit at Ricard on Tuesday, March 1. Part of an event previewing this summer's Heritage Fire and Grand Cochon celebrations, the outdoor cooking demonstration continues March 2 in Base Village.
Jeremy Wallace/Snowmass Sun |

National Pig Day was March 1, and the organziers from Cochon555, who brought two live cooking events to Snowmass Village during last year’s Food & Wine Classic, are here to beef — er, pork — up things during apres-ski this week.

With the help of Will Nolan, executive chef at Viceroy Snowmass; Jason Harrison, private chef and owner of Vail Valley-based Red Maple Catering and 2013 Cochon winner; and Bryan Nolt of Breckenridge Distillery, Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe is hosting live cooking events on the patio of Ricard in Snowmass Base Village. The chefs will prepare three pigs and one lamb total, paired with cocktails crafted by Nolt.

The celebration started Tuesday, March 1 and continues today, March 2. Similar to Heritage Fire, an outdoor cooking event that Snowmass will host again in June, the animals are being cooked outside, roasting all day while people are skiing. But the asado spits used in grass during Heritage Fire won’t work in either snow or on concrete, so Lowe is debuting a device he’s created that links the asado to a specific grill.

“It’s called asado to go,” Lowe said. “It’s totally a game-changer for chefs who want to do asado.”

Harrison said he and Nolan will make sure each animal has its own flavor.

“This should really give people an idea of what to expect from Heritage Fire on a smaller scale,” Harrison said.

For Heritage Fire, chefs cook whole heritage-breed animals of a variety of species, from pork to lamb to octopus, over outdoor fire pits. Held on the Base Village lawn last year, the 2015 event was a huge success.

“It was hands-down the coolest event of the season,” Nolan said.

Grand Cochon, scheduled for June 18 at the Viceroy Snowmass, is the finale event for the nationwide Cochon555 competition, which recruits chefs in cities across the U.S. to cook dishes from an entire heritage-breed pig in a bid to be crowned “Prince of Porc.”

“It’s an amazing competition,” said Harrison, who was crowned “King of Porc” at Grand Cochon in 2013. “It’s based on whole-animal usage, so you have to be really creative.”

The Snowmass events this week prelude the regional Cochon contest in Denver this weekend. All of the Cochon555 events seek to educate chefs and consumers about sustainable animal husbandry and higher-quality meat. Harrison said since Cochon555 started hosting events, he’s noticed a significant increase in the availability of heritage breed livestock and the quality of meat offered at restaurants.

The après-ski event is from 4 to 7 p.m. and is open to the public. In addition to the Cochon offerings, Ricard will serve food and drink specials.

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