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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Beverly Hogs 90210

Take Away - Cochon de Lait Sandwiches

Today is September 2, 2010.  To many, that may seem like just another day in the year of our Lord, 2010.  However, to those of us who were not in a coma during the 1990's, the numeric significance of today is a little more important....I'll explain more. . .

Written out in pure number form, today is 9/02/10 or 90210

Yes that's right, 90210!  To those of you who had even a portion of your youth occur during the 1990's, the theme song to a certain television show (which stimulated the obsession of every teenager in the country) may be running through your head at this moment.  And please, don't deny it.... 

Today is a day that inspires you to think back to your old friends at West Beverly High and the drama that inspired a nation to whip out tapered acid wash jeans, roll up its t-shirt sleeves and/or put on some flannel Tommy Hilfiger shirts and Z Cavaricis or Girbauds. 

I may sound crazy at this moment, but you know (if you think long and hard) that you can name about 10 things in your house from the 90's that should have been thrown away with Y2K. 

HOWEVER, deep down in places you don't like to talk about, you always wanted to have the chance to wear these throwback items again. Well, now is your chance. . .   

My friends Becker Hall and Rene Louapre were acutely aware that this day would come, and they have decided to take full advantage of its significance with a charity event that is not to be missed!!  It is called the Beverly Hogs 90210 Party.

Becker and Rene invite all of us to a 90's costume party like no other, and they have convinced the owners of Lucy's (New Orleans) to turn the upstairs into the Peach Pit After Dark.  I am not making this up.  Admission is free and Lucy's will be running drink specials with a portion of the proceeds to go towards Hogs For The Cause, a fantastic charity that raises money for pediatric cancer.  In fact, if you respond that you will attend the event on the following website, Lucy's will donate more money per head.

Let me tell you a little about Hogs for the cause.  In the latter half of 2008, Becker contacted Rene about roasting a hog.  This may sound like a spontaneous request, but Becker was waxing nostalgic for his college days when a cochon de lait (suckling pig roast) was a regular occurrence at his fraternity house during football season.  Coincidentally, Rene was already on the same page.  Being quite the chef, Rene was fully ready to once again feed the masses via el gordo cerdo.

Thus, the barrister and the investment banker struck a pretty simple and symbiotic win-win agreement.  Rene would cook the pig to feed the masses, and Becker would watch and consume massive amounts of alcohol.

A month later, the two started thinking about the uniqueness of the event and decided that they really should try to have a charitable ambition in mind and really evolve this idea into a non-profit.  Within days, Hogs For The Cause was created.
The name was unusual, but the cause noble.

In its first year Hogs for the Cause raised close to $10,000 for pediatric cancer patients.  Specifically, Becker and Rene were focused on Ben Sarrat Jr., who had just been diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric brain cancer.  Hogs donated all of the proceeds to the Ben Sarrat Jr. Fund. Along with an amazing response from attendees, Becker and Rene's relationship with Ben Jr. and the Sarrat family strengthened their education on pediatric cancer and became the the impetus to really progress Hogs For The Cause to the next level.

Rene (left) and Becker (right) with Ben Sarrat, Jr.

In its second year, Hogs reached out and included more of the community. The pig roast was opened to competitors from the city, state and region.  Over 27 teams competed for the title of Louisiana’s Pork Cook-Off Champion.  Teams were not only judged on their food, but also on how much money they could raise. The competitive desire to win led to initiatives such as one team creating a Lombardi Trophy made out of bacon and charging for people to take a photo with it.  Not a joke.  Hogs was able to raise close to $30,000.

Bacon Lombardi Trophy

Sadly, Ben lost his fight with his form of pediatric cancer a week before the 2010 event was to take place. However, the passing of their young friend only furthered Becker and Rene's resolve to do all they could to help families who are forced to handle such an immense burden.

The mission is now more defined and simple, to use Hogs for the Cause to help relieve the economic burdens imposed on families whose children are undergoing treatment.  Hogs now aims to become the premier funding source for pediatric cancer outreach services in the United States. In working towards this goal, Becker and Rene are shooting to raise revenues in excess of $300,000 in 2011. 

The 90210 event tonight will give Hogs a chance to warm up for their ambitious and fantastic 2011 fundraising season.  It will also give you a chance to really be a part of something fantastic whilst pulling out those "terrible clothes" that your wife has been telling you need to go in the garbage (sorry Mollie).

So come join Becker, Rene, Brandon & Brenda Walsh, Kelly Taylor, Donna Martin, Dylan McKay, Steve Sanders, David Silver and Andrea Zuckerman as we jam to 1990's songs with the Lucy's Crew and raise money for an extremely noble cause.  And please, don't bring any of these people...

Doors open at 5 p.m.  For more information, email Becker at

Cochon del Lait Sandwiches (courtesy of John Folse)

This is totally cheating, but when you don't have a whole hog on works. Try this recipe with either pork butt or a fresh pork ham cut to size by your local butcher. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the roast. Just remember to cook until fork tender. Cooking the pork one day in advance helps.

1 (5-6 pound) pork butt
6 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup sliced green onions
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 jalapeƱo pepper, chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 onion, quartered
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small mixing bowl combine garlic, green onions, thyme, basil, salt and peppers. Using a paring knife, pierce eight (1-inch) holes evenly across the roast and fill each with an equal amount of seasoning mixture. Season the roast completely on the outside with additional salt. In a 12-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown roast on all sides. Add onions, celery and carrots. Cover pot, place in oven and bake 2½-3 hours or until fork tender. When the roast is tender, remove the cover and brown 15-20 minutes. The next day, slice meat and serve on bread for a delicious pork sandwich.