Porkopolis: A Cincinnati BBQ and Whiskey Tasting Event


Summer is a time for outdoor fun. Over the weekend, we were lucky enough attend a fun event called Porkopolis at the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati, Ohio. We loved the concept of the event from the minute we heard about it. First, it had BBQ vendors selling samplings of their delicious food. Second, there was a tent dedicated to whiskey tastings. Barbecue and whiskey. My husband’s eyes lit up like Christmas morning when I told him what was on the agenda for the day.

The event was held in the outdoor space at Horseshoe Casino. We parked in the casino’s garage (free of charge) and walked through the entire floor of the casino to get to the other side where we exited doors into the outdoor area where Porkopolis was taking place. We had never been inside Horseshoe and we kept comparing the look and vibe of the interior to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. (Later, we discovered that Horseshoe is owned by Caesar’s.)

Upon exiting the air conditioned casino with the summer sunshine assaulting our eyes and after taking a minute to adjust, we found ourselves in a little green space of adult heaven. Admission to Porkopolis was free, the only cost being drink tickets and food samples. Tents lined the perimeter of the festival and our nostrils were filled with the delectable scents of BBQ. There were various restaurants and catering businesses cooking up some divine goodness. Our eyes quickly scanned the area and found the holy grail: the whiskey tent. We got in line and purchased drink tickets. Inside the tent, we found Ole Smoky’s Moonshine, Jack Daniels, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, Old Forester, Town Branch and Bonnie Rose. Each vendor had a variety or whiskey and bourbons, mixers and there were even a few signature cocktails. My husband first tried the Woodford Reserve Double Oaked bourbon. After the first sip I saw a sly, contented smile appear and then another sip followed. Needless to say, he was very happy with his selection. I meandered over to the Jack Daniels table and selected their Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey mixed with ginger ale and topped with a squeeze of lime. The warmth of the whiskey combined with the sweetness of honey, mixed with bubbly ginger ale, topped with a tart squeeze of lime make for a very refreshing and delicious cocktail.

After happily sipping our cocktails, we decided it was time to sample some BBQ. There was quite a bit to choose from, but we settled on Velvet Smoke BBQ, who proudly advertised their championship awarding-winning barbecue. We split their sampler ($10) with cole slaw, pulled pork and burnt ends. I was unfamiliar with BBQ burnt ends, but my husband was quite excited when he saw this offering on the menu. Let me tell you, these burnt ends were probably the best barbeque that I’ve ever tasted. And that’s saying a lot because I’ve consumed quite a bit over the years because it is one of my husband’s favorite foods. Burnt ends are flavorful pieces of meat cut from the point half of a smoked brisket. A traditional part of Kansas City barbecue, burnt ends are considered a delicacy in barbecue cooking. Take it from me, if you see burnt ends on a menu, order them. Your mouth will thank you.

While we ate, I couldn’t help but look around and take in the atmosphere of the day. The weather couldn’t have been more cooperative as it was sunny and a pleasant 80-degrees. People were eating and chatting at the picnic tables and high-top tables. Music was playing from a live band on a large stage. A game of cornhole was being played. Whether it was the sun, music, BBQ, whiskey, or a delightful combination of it all, everyone at Porkopolis looked relaxed and happy. It was a beautiful sight to see.

After finishing our BBQ we decided it was time to spend the remainder of our drink tickets. Back in the whiskey tent I selected a sample of Four Roses bourbon. It’s one of the smoother bourbons that I’ve tried. My husband ordered 1792, a bourbon he’s wanted to try for a while. He loved it so much he stated that it will be the next bottle he purchases.

Porkopolis was simply a fun event. The event stayed true to its concept and allowed guests a satisfying offering of whiskey and BBQ samplings. We enjoyed ourselves and look forward to attending if Horseshoe Casino holds this event again next year.


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