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Meaty Cupcakes, Bloody Cake, and 1,400 Pounds of Pork at Cochon 555 Heritage BBQ

Over the weekend, culinary notables including The Source’s Scott Drewno, Toki Underground's Erik Bruner-Yang and Kapnos chef and Top Chef Boston competitor George Pagonis barbecued more than 1,400 pounds of heritage breed pork. Even the desserts had a pork twist.

Cochon 555's Heritage BBQ made its final tour stop in DC on Sunday. After hitting up Chicago, Louisville, St. Louis and Austin, the nation's capital got some killer barbecue using heritage breed pigs as its pork supply, with the winner chosen via votes from the audience and panel of judges. Some big chefs came out to make barbecue dishes for the crowd, including this year's Cochon 555's Prince of Porc Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground, The Source's Scott Drewno, Birch & Barley's Kyle Bailey, Bourbon Steak's Joe Palma, and George Pagonis of Kapnos and Top Chef's upcoming Boston season. Fortunately, there was more than 1,400 pounds of pork for the Heritage BBQ chefs to work with so there was no need to skimp on the meat. Read on for Hangover Observations from this Sunday's BBQ.

1. Don't get punched in the face: A station with four punches greeted Heritage BBQ diners as they entered the fenced-off area along 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Although each punch packed plenty of flavor, the Four Roses Bourbon punch was particularly eye-catching. And for those who preferred beer, Chicago's Goose Island had a solid selection for guests.

2. Barbecue ribs are the new popcorn: A student from the L'Academie de Cuisine walked around hawking barbecued ribs, as if this was a baseball stadium. Guests just grabbed a napkin and went to town, and hopefully they had a toothpick.

3. Breaking down a pig is no big deal for these chefs. Because pig was the star of this show, a little education on butchering one was appreciated. At the pop-up butcher shop, Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest handled the massive heritage porker like it was nothing.

4. Some sibling love: One of the stars of the Heritage BBQ event was George Pagonis of the soon-to-be Kapnos Taverna in Ballston and the upcoming season of Top Chef Boston. "I'm excited for the new Kapnos to open up, he said, pointing to his older brother Nick, who also works for Mike Isabella, "He's always felt at home in the front of the house, and I like being in the kitchen."

5. Barbecue with a passport: Chefs took heritage breeds of pigs and created different barbecue styles from around the world. Zack Mills of Wit & Wisdom went for Carolina style, while Ed Witt of The Partisan wanted to give his dish some Southeastern Asian influence. Doi Moi's Haidar Karoum went for a Thai-style barbecue with sticky rice and tamarind chili sauce, which definitely had a lingering heat. But guests kept going back for another round.

6. Cupcakes get meaty: Because desserts shouldn't be forgotten, George Pagonis made red velvet cupcakes topped with pork cracklins.

7. Oh, and have a bloody bite of cake: Going even a step further, Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIsaac gave the crowd an epically pork-centric dessert — chocolate cake with pig's blood and lard icing. It looked like a regular slice of cake, but it tasted so much richer than what mom makes.

8. Chefs came out to show their support: Mike Isabella, minibar's Johnny Spero, Seng Luangrath of Bangkok Golden and the soon-to-be Thip Khao's, and Roofer's Union's Marjorie Meek-Bradley were all in attendance.

9. Drewno takes home the win. The man knows pork. Multi-year Cochon 555 winner, The Source's Scott Drewno, won the competition with his Cantonese style Char Siu pork belly.

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