After all the invites had been sent, orders placed, deposits put-down, and planning accomplished. . . it was time to start the Pig Pickin' 2 Weekend.
Friday afternoon: drive the truck to Satriale's Pork Store,
get the 72 lb. (37.7 kg) pig, and put the pig cooker on the trailer hitch, and carefully take North Carolina Highway 54 all the way to Mebane.
Take the requisite portraits with the pig,
then into the action packer for the pig, and off to the store for some ice to keep the pig cold for 36 hours.
Saturday: More ice.
Sunday, 9 am. Pull the pig out of the action packer, lay it out on a table, dry it off as much as possible, and cover with foil to keep the flying critters away. Pose for more pictures.
Pull the pig cooker out from under the carport, remembering how I almost melted the carport roof last year.
Load it up with ~12 pounds of natural lump charcoal, and a good bit of lighter fluid, and toss in a match.
Let the coals burn down and lose that awful lighter-fluid smell,
replace the grate, and get your younger brother Andy to help you heave the pig onto the cooker.
and then pose for some more pictures, remembering to stop doing inappropriate things to the pig when the picture is taken, even if your brother doesn't.
Sit around for the next seven hours, manipulating the cooker's doors, chimneys, and fuel consumption to try to maintain a constant 225 - 250 F temperature inside, tossing in the occasional chunk of wet hickory wood, for a nice smoky flavor.
And then a lot of other stuff happens, like getting ice, borrowing stuff from the church, setting up the stereo and party lights, getting cleaned up and putting on some non-hickory-smoked clothing.
If one of your guests offers to bring a keg of Carolina Brewing Company's Spring Bock, you take them up on it, and encourage them to come early to allow the proper amount of Quality Assurance testing on the beer before serving it to the other guests.
About an hour before it's time to eat, the pig has to go on its back to a) crisp-up the skin, and b) create a concave surface to hold the Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue sauce.
You need two people to flip the pig, and at least two more to take pictures.
Close the lid for one more hour, and then you're ready for the Official Tester to declare the pig fit to eat. In our case, Stephen has fulfilled this role.
And that's it: Time to Eat.
For a whole bunch more pictures, including shots of nearly all of the guests, visit our Zooomr feed. Browse them all, or use the search term PigPickin2 to see everyones' pictures from the event. Click on each picture for notes, portals, to leave comments, or choose a size to download and print for yourself.
Special Thanks to Andy and Shelley without whose invaluable assistance this annual event probably wouldn't be possible, or nearly as much fun,
To Tom for bringing the beer,
To Mebane Presbyterian Church for the ice, coolers, chairs, and Presbyterians,
And to all the guests, who brought all that food and enjoyable conversation, and without whom this whole endeavor wouldn't be a party at all.
We look forward to seeing you all again next year on Sunday, May 25th, 2008 for The Traveling Roths' Pig Pickin' III: Triple Figures.
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