Graham Kilmer

Iron Grate Chef Returns for Central Standard Winter Luau

Chef Aaron Patin will smoke a whole pig outdoors in Downtown.

By - Feb 6th, 2023 03:39 pm
Evan Hughes and Pat McQuillan, co-founders of Central Standard, with chef Aaron Patin. Photo from Central Standard.

Evan Hughes and Pat McQuillan, co-founders of Central Standard, with chef Aaron Patin. Photo from Central Standard.

The former chef behind Iron Grate BBQ and the inventor of the ‘Milwaukee Rib’ is returning to the pit on Feb. 25 for a pork-centered soiree being held by Central Standard Craft Distillery.

The Milwaukee-based distillery is hosting its first-ever Winter Luau at the Central Standard Crafthouse & Kitchen, 320 E. Clybourn St. The main event for the luau will be a “parking-lot pig-toast” conducted by the capable hands of chef Aaron Patin.

“When it comes to winter here in Milwaukee, late February is just the worst,” said Evan Hughes, Central Standard co-founder, in a press release. “We’re past January and the days are getting longer, but the freezing temps just linger. We wanted to do our part by throwing a parking-lot party to celebrate that the end of the cold and snow is finally in sight.”

Patin was the mind behind Iron Grate BBQ, the popular and critically lauded former barbecue joint at 4125 S. Howell Ave. Iron Grate closed in late 2022, and the winter luau will be the first time Patin returns to barbecuing since he closed the restaurant, according to the distillery. “Every time I’ve BBQ-ed a whole hog at Iron Gate, we had to turn people away at the door,” Patin said.

The event begins at 1 p.m. and runs until 5 p.m. Early tickets can be purchased online for $35 through Feb. 19. After that, tickets will be $45 or $50 at the door the day of the event. Tickets will cover attendees’ first drink.

The event is also sponsored by Smokey Woods BBQ Products, based in Crivitz. Patin will be using the company’s wood to smoke the pig.

The distillery will have a menu of tropical specialty drinks for the party, like the “Rye Tai” made with the distillery’s Washington Rye, orgeat, pineapple juice, lemon juice and angostura bitters.

A portion of proceeds from the luau will go to the Milwaukee Police Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that uses its resources to increase mental health support for police officers, support diversity training for officers, purchase equipment that “increases officer accountability” and provides help for victims of crime.

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