A Class Reunion and a Pig Roast

Tom Giles at Whole Pig Roast

Pig Chef Tom Giles (left) readies pig for serving

My wife and I just attended a class reunion of hers in upstate New York which included a fun pig roast. The reunion committee hired a local farmer/ pig roaster to take care of roasting the whole pig for them. It was a wonderful event.

If you are ever in need of an event in the upstate New York region and don’t want to take it on yourself, contact Tom Giles with the Maple Valley Farms at 607-739-3215. He has a fruit stand and farm in Elmira, NY and raises his own pigs as well as beef for burgers and roast beef. It was a lot of fun exchanging ideas with Tom as he is quite knowledgeable and experienced. This isn’t really an advertisement for Tom’s services <grin> but since I was impressed with his operation, I thought I’d give him a shout out for anyone interested.

Grill for a pig roast

A stainless grill for roasting a whole pig

The pig was prepared in a large covered stainless steel grill built onto a trailer he tows behind his van. The roasting process was handled with propane gas instead of wood and I was very impressed with how tasty it was. Tom started the pig slowly roasting around 6:30 in the morning and serving took place around 2pm. Tom also had slowly roasted a slab of beef fresh from his farm. When the pig came off the grill, some burgers and hot dogs from his farm were quickly grilled for the hungry group as well. It was quite a feast!

Tom had an interesting carving table worthy of mention. It is a plastic box made out of those white plastic cutting boards encased in wood for more strength. One issue I always have in my pig roasts is that the pig juice and some of the pig slide off my table and onto the ground. Tom’s carving box keeps everything neatly contained. Seems like a good idea for those taking a serious look at frequent pig roast events.

The event was attended by over 200 people in a large park. Many guests brought side dishes (see my tips for pig roast side dishes). I forgot to ask the size of the pig that was used to feed 200+ people but I’d estimate the pig to have been around 100-125 lbs live weight. In addition to the pig, Tom had a large roast beef and 3-4 packages of his hot dogs and I estimate around 2-3 dozen hamburgers. Although the line for 200 people was very long, there was one person handing out paper plates and pushing people through the line, Tom was carving and overseeing everything, another person was serving the pig that Tom carved, and then someone slicing the roasted beef. This was several feet away from all the salads and side dishes and desserts to keep the line flowing. It seemed to have worked out well that way and no one seemed to mind standing in a long line since it moved along quickly.

If you plan to run your own pig roast, take a tip from Tom and if it is a hot day, make sure your carving station is tucked away in a shaded area because you will be standing there for quite a while. After all, comfortable conditions for you as the chef should be put into your plans too. After all, everyone including you should be having fun, right?

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