When I heard Osteria Marco was hosting a pig and beer dinner, the southerner in me almost came out of m’boots. A bonafide roasted pig and beer? Shoot, I knew GABFers and pig & beer lovers alike would be clambering for a seat at this dinner. We’re talking 5-courses prepared by Chef Burton Koelliker paired with five of Ska Brewing’s flavor-packed, and sometimes robust brews. I wanted to get a quick glimpse into the mind of Koelliker before tonight’s dinner, and he obliged by offering up this short interview.
What inspired the idea for this dinner?
My inspiration for this dinner came not only from my love of cooking pig, but the great pairings that beer and pork have to offer. We thought it was a perfect opportunity to collaborate with Ska Brewing and showcase our strengths in the kitchen.
What is it about SKA Brewing that attracted you to their beer to pair with your food?
Ska Brewery has such a diverse selection of beers to work with, and the gentlemen from Ska were more than helpful with samples and insight into the flavor profiles. Working with Ska Brewing has been for fun for us, and its great to bring in a brewery with such a strong collection of beers.
Is there something about your roasting process that sets your meats apart from the rest?
We roast a whole suckling pig every Sunday, and what makes it special is that we slow-roast it in our pizza oven for 12-16 hours. For the Hooves and Hops dinner, I will be preparing a much larger pig, using a variety of cooking methods and techniques. I’m serving pork braised in duck fat, slow-roasted pork, sausages, cured pancetta, smoked porchetta, and head cheese (a four day process).
How big will the pig be for this dinner and what farm did it come from?
I will be using a 95-pound pig from a farm in Iowa that we procure from Shamrock Foods.
Why pork instead of beef or lamb to pair with beer?
Pork is king here at Osteria Marco. We work predominately with pork, and we do it with care and a sense of pride. By using a whole pig, I can really show our guests how amazing and versatile the animal can be, from stout to tail.
What should GABFers expect from your beer dinner?
GABF attendees who join us for Hooves and Hops can expect an incredible meal, expertly paired with beers produced here in Colorado. Everyone will learn something new, and they’ll definitely leave full.
From Pan Seared Head Cheese paired with Ska’s True Double Blonde to a Cherry Wood Smoked Porchetaa Stuffed with Kale paired with Ska’s Decadent Imperial IPA, Chef Burton Koelliker has pulled out all of the stops. Wagoners, Osteria Marco and Ska are a great reminder of the fact that Colorado will no doubt be representing during GABF this week. I mean, just check out the menu below.
Ciccioli cannoli with roasted garlic whipped potatoes, Euphoria Pale Ale-braised Brussels sprout slaw, pancetta-Dijon vinaigrette. Paired with Euphoria Pale Ale
Pan-seared head cheese with horseradish Parmesan fonduta, salsa fra diavolo, baby arugula salad dressed with True Blonde vinaigrette. Paired with True Double Blonde
Slow-cooked ribs and spicy sausage with fingerling potato salad and Gorgonzola, served with Pin Stripe Red Ale barbecue sauce and borlotti bean ragu. Paired with Pin Stripe Red Ale
Cherry wood-smoked porchetta stuffed with kale, roasted tomatoes and tart cherries, caramelized apple sauce, grilled mascarpone polenta Cake, Decadent IPA demi-glace. Paired with Decadent Imperial IPA
House-cured pancetta bread pudding with bittersweet chocolate, Steel Toe Milk Stout gelato and dulce de leche. Paired with Steel Toe Milk Stout