There is an undeniable king of tacos in Marquette. There is an undeniable master of barbecue in Detroit. Luckily for those who love both, the two are pairing up for a rule-them-all food event in Marquette this week that's not to be missed.
The essentials: Go to Blackrocks Brewery from 5 p.m. onwards, Saturday August 13, and eat on-site-hickory-smoked-whole-hog tacos. The people making this happen are Mike Walker, owner of Dia de los Tacos
in Marquette, and Michael Metevia, partner and chef at Slows BarBQ
The whole thing (no pun intended) started quite a few years ago. Walker was one of the first employees hired as a cook at Slows when it opened in 2005.
Since then, Slows has expanded to locations in Detroit and Grand Rapids, and become a top name in Michigan barbecue. And since Walker opened Dia de Los Tacos in 2013, his street-style taco truck has touched off a food truck revolution in the U.P.
"He had that rock 'n roll cook attitude that I like so much," says Metevia. "The idea to work together this time came as a result of an Instagram post of a whole hog I was smoking. Mike commented that he wished he had that in Marquette and I jumped on the chance to travel to the U.P."
Metevia and Walker will be smoking three whole hogs at Blackrocks this weekend for the event, and plan to start serving up tacos about 5 p.m. outside the brewery
Walker says it won't be the usual menu from either chef, but rather a collaborative effort.
"We'll be stripping the menu to just this one item for the day. It'll be a tortilla with smoked pork, one of the unique sauces we're making for the day, and our jicama cabbage slaw. That's it. Simple, clean, delicious!" says Walker.
Both chefs say future collaborations are definitely a possibility, depending on the success of the Whole Hog Tacos event
"If this works as well as we think it will, I'd love to do more food collaborations in the future," says Walker, who suggests maybe a Korean take on his tacos with the help of another chef friend, or partnering with other U.P. chefs and barbeque cooks. "There seem to be a lot of breweries that play that collaboration game; I think it would be fun to do it with food, too."
Blackrocks is located at 424 North Third Street in Marquette, although the area's likely to be quite busy, as it's also the day of the Ore to Shore bike race downtown, so plan accordingly.
Kim Eggleston is a Marquette-area freelance writer and editor.