“A pig roast is a pig roast whether rain or shine”

Each time we have a pig roast, I put a statement in the invitation that it will be held “rain or shine”. For this summer’s pig roast (2012), it was put to the test. It was raining the night before while we were starting the cooking process. And it poured just as we finished serving when everyone was sitting down to eat. I’ll share some tips we’ve learned over time on how to prepare for that “just in case” chance of rain.

First, why not have a rain date? A large pig can take 20-24 hours to cook. By time the rain is certain, the pig is already cooking. Too late to postpone it then! Plus you will drive yourself crazy trying to decide whether it should be a go or no-go. Nothing worse than putting plans on hold only to discover the weather forecast was wrong (and around here, they are wrong a lot!). So just prepare for that possibility of rain and hope for sunshine!

Pig Roast tents

Tents for a Pig Roast

We have accumulated 10×10 foot and 12×12 foot tents from our local discount store over the years for less than $100 each. We put them up each year for the pig roast whether rain is forecast or not. They are good shady places on hot sunny days and work well for a passing shower. And as we found out this year, they work well for downpours as well. This year we saw some cheap tents at the local pharmacy store for $40 each. We got 3 of them. Two of those were the only casualty of the downpour. The water gathered on the top which made them sag. Guests kept punching the tents to dump the water out of them but after a while two of them collapsed from the weight of the water. Other tents were fine.

Our neighbor had a party the same day as ours. In comparing notes later, I found out that they empty their two car garage out before their parties just in case they need to head for shelter. I hadn’t thought of that but perhaps next year I’ll add that to my plans.

We had people inside, under all the tents, and under a tarp over our deck. In spite of the pouring rain for two hours, everyone made the best of it and many commented on how much fun they had even with the rain. Just try to make the best of it and others will do the same.

For our pig roast, we have a fire pit in which we burn wood and then when they are burned down to hot coals, we shovel them into the pig pit. The pig pit is covered with a wire mesh framework covered with aluminum foil. So the pig pit is protected from the rain but the fire pit is not. A couple of years ago, during an evening rain, my wife suggested we haul out some old scaffolding we had in the basement and set that up around the fire pit and cover it. I did so and covered it with an old sheet of plywood I had. The rain was enough to keep the plywood from catching on fire (we pulled it off when the rain stopped). And the scaffolding was all metal so we didn’t need to worry about it melting or catching on fire. It worked well so we automatically implemented it again this year. You probably don’t have scaffolding laying around your basement but I mentioned it to give you ideas of the kind of things that you might be able to scrounge.

One other thing is to prepare for the worst case scenario. If the rain is accompanied by close thunder and lightning, it is time to get everyone inside… no one should be under a tent if lightning is in the area! And no one should be standing under a tree. Lightning is too serious to ignore.

And finally, my wife once asked me if any weather problem would cause me to consider cancelling. Yes, if I saw a hurricane coming close, I would have enough time to put a last minute halt to the activities and try to contact the guests as to the cancellation or postponement. I lived in Florida where there was plenty of hurricane activity and even now that I’m living in Connecticut we get an occasional one. If it looks inevitable that it is likely coming, be responsible enough to make a change in plans. But never, ever let a little rain shower or storm dampen your spirits for a fine pig roast! Prepare in advance and set the mood for an adventure!

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