Another Successful Pig Roast – July 2012

July 28, 2012 — Another annual pig roast has come and gone. It was a wonderful success even though we got a major rain storm as guests sat down to eat. To the right is a very brief video someone (thanks Mike!) took of the processional march from the pig cooker to the carving table.

We started the pit fire around 4pm, the day before the event. The skies opened up and it was pouring rain which made it a challenge to get the fire going. I used an old metal scaffolding with a sheet of plywood across the top of it to keep most of the rain off. With enough newspaper, the kindling dried out and the file slowly came to life.

I usually try to get the pig on by 5pm but due to the rain, it was around 8pm when we finally got the pig on. It was a 160 lb pig (live weight) and enough to feed the 75-100 anticipated guests. As soon as the wood in the fire pit burned to coals, we took shovel’s filled with hot coals and put it in the pig pit. The key to cooking the pig evenly is to put the heat in all four corners of the pit to cook the hams. Enough heat will radiate to the other sections that cook much faster.

As the evening progressed, the rain stopped and the pig was on its way to being the center of attention the following afternoon. With 3 helpers tending the pig overnight by the next day, there was a wonderful aroma of smoked pork blanketing the neighborhood (yes, we try to invite any of our neighbors we see!).

By 3pm, the pig was done and guests were happily hors d’oeuvre-ing. But the rain forecast was for a major storm moving in. No scattered showers — a big bad downpour was coming. Normally I cook a pile of chicken breasts that I’ve marinated and I grill some burgers and hotdogs for those not partaking in pig. Because of the impending storm, I quickly cooked half of the chicken, half of the burgers, and a few hotdogs.

We started quickly putting food out on the tables we had set up. No fancy garnish, no pretty arrangements this time. Just a frenzy of putting food out to try to beat the storm. For the most part, the guest didn’t know that we were taking so many short cuts. They were hungry and happy to see the food being set out.

We marched the pig across the lawn (see the video above), and put it on the serving table without the bed of kale that we usually use. My wife and others started ushering folks through the line and I carved the pig and we served the crowds of people while watching the sky.

Just as the last guest got served, the rain began. Not a trickle at first but right from the beginning it was a downpour! Everyone hunkered under tents, inside the house, under the deck, and anywhere they could find to stay out of the rain. And it did rain!

Because we had tents over the food, guests would dash back over to help themselves to more. Brave souls would run from one sheltered area to another to visit with one another. For hours, we got pounded with the hardest rain I’ve seen there. And for hours, people ate, chatted, laughed, and had a wonderful afternoon. And now I know what they mean when it is said that “A pig roast is a pig roast whether rain or shine!” We had a wonderful afternoon in spite of the rain. Of course next year I will much prefer a nice sunny day!

 

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