I was invited to help judge a Crockpot cook off last week by the American Pork Association. Who in their right mind would ever turn down an opportunity for free meat and drink? The event was held at the beautiful Hudson Terrace over on West 46th Street. The view from the building was spectacular and the crowd really had a nice relaxing vibe.

Since the event was all about using the Crockpot most of the food was already cooked and ready to go when I arrived. I was about to dive right in when a waiter walked by and handed me a Bacon Vodka, Jack Daniels and Maple Syrup cocktail to start.

Well this was certainly sticking with the theme of the event. I had actually been curious about the new bacon vodka and I have say it was pretty good. Unfortunately my drink tasted a bit too sweet from the maple syrup and I ended up only having a little before moving on. (Sorry the pictures aren't the best- the lighting was a little strange).

As I was trying out my cocktail the waiter kept coming back with delicious little items like cheesy pork sliders, prosciutto wrapped melon and mini grilled cheeses. I kept eating these not realizing until too late that I still had to try all of the dishes to judge!

In the end I did try everything and meet some wonderful cooks who were super friendly and very proud of their food. There was such diversity in the way the pork was cooked. One dish highlighted the use of figs (This Little Piggy Stayed Home- cute name!), one paired pork with artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes and another made pork meatballs with angel hair pasta and fresh parmesan cheese.

My favorite dish of the night ended up being the Carnita Tacos on a flour taco with guacamole and spicy slaw. The shredded pork was super moist and the slaw had a great kick that I absolutely loved.

I looked around to put my vote in for this dish and couldn’t find the box. Then I realized this wasn’t a dish to vote on! This was a special dish made by one of the guest judges Candace Cameron! That’s right- otherwise known as DJ Tanner from Full House!

Well I’m not sure what that says about me but she made some damn good tacos. So much so that I’m trying out her recipe this week! In the end the sweetest contestant I meet that night, Linda Cifuente from Illinois, Sauerkraut Beer Pork won the competition and she was thrilled.

It was a wonderful event and they even sent us home with a delightful bag filled with goodies like a Vosges Bacon Chocolate bar, some disposable Crockpot bags and all of the night’s recipes. It was an absolutely fabulous event that I think everyone enjoyed. Congrats to all of the contestants and the National Pork Association!