This blog contains images of a real live PIG ROAST! If you don't want to see pics of our porcine friend - in his pre and post cooked condition - don't read on. If this offends your vegetarian/vegan sensibilities, please stop reading. But, if you want to smile and laugh at our hilarious, certifiable "Miracle of the Perfect Pig"...then read on and join the fun!
It all began innocently enough several months ago. I'm the "social chairman" for our Sunday school class at church. I was asking for some ideas on future events. The one thing we always agree on - events involve FOOD. We started with the idea of a luau, and some tasty grilled foods on sticks. Then the discussion leaped forward when Eddie suggested "let's roast a whole pig!".
Of course, no one in class had ever roasted a pig! A few had eaten at real pig roasts, but we had no documented pork experience. Fast forward to this weekend, after months of online pig roast research, we found ourselves on Friday evening at the Mack's rural home with a giant cooler in Eddie's pickup. Inside was our 90 lb. suckling party pig, very pink, hairless (shaved) and slightly deflated looking. I cautiously raised the cooler lid to get my first look at my new buddy, and he was.....EWWWWW!!!! (I have pics, but I'm not posting the cooler shots, in hopes that you will keep reading).
The first big job was digging the pig pit! Six manly men took up the challenge and got to work with shovels in the hard, drought-stricken Kansas soil. Thankfully it was a cool evening, and they dug and measured until the hole fit our pig's proportions.
They lined the hole with a layer of bricks, and put large rocks in the corners to hold the pig away from the fire. My husband, Alan, (inexplicably dressed in his Gilligan's Island hat) tested the pig pit for size and comfort. Then they loaded the pit with wood for the fire later that night.
Meanwhile, in the garage, another crew was prepping the pig for his big night. He was lifted on his special (never to be used again) table cloth. Then he was (and we're not picturing this!), laid out flat, stuffed with seasonings, rubbed with olive oil, more seasonings, an apple in the mouth, and then wrapped "to go" in lots of aluminum foil. Turns out...it takes a lot of foil to fully wrap a pig!
We lifted him and slid a specially made (thanks, Eddie) metal pig roast grate underneath him. We wired him to the grate (in case he had a restless pre-pig roast night), packed him in ice, wrapped him securely in a tarp, and said goodnight.
At 2 AM, the faithful homeowners, Linda and Stuart, went to the pig pit and started a roaring fire. Stuart had already OK'd this with the fire department. They enjoyed watching the blaze so much, they spent the night chatting around the campfire like kids, spinning tales of future pig roasts, while the rest of us slept. Later, at 6 AM, reinforcements arrived to escort the pig from his garage hotel to the pit in the pasture. The pig was carefully lowered into the pit, covered with wet burlap and cardboard, and sealed with a piece of corrugated tin, then more dirt and rocks. No turning back now!!!
Later in the afternoon, before the party goers began coming, we arrived to inspect the pig, still imprisoned in his underground pit. We cautiously peered and sniiffed. (That's our shadows, in above photo.) I ran through several scenarios in my head 1) the fire went out and pig is still raw, 2) pig is done beyond recognition, and is now crunchy pork toast, and 3) pig is edible, tender and delicious, and I am a social chairman "rock star"!
The guys uncovered the pit and pulled the hot critter out, using the chains and wires we had left exposed.
The men cautiously smiled as they loaded the pig for the trip to the house and his date with his adoring, carnivorous fans.
Just like all those reality shows...it was time for the big pig REVEAL! In front of all the guests, we slowly opened the foil. He definitely wasn't raw, and he wasn't crispy either. Our party pig appeared to be entirely edible!
While the party-goers waited, we recruited some extra hands to "pull the pork"! WOW...pork really is the "other white meat". After we pulled back the beautiful browned skin, there was a pile of tender, white meat just waiting for our forks.
We lined up to fill our plates with pork and all the covered dish fixings....
and the verdict was in. Our great pig experiment/adventure got "thumbs up" all around!
After dinner we had a little added entertainment with some pig-related contests. I coaxed an appearance from the official Kansas Hog Queen Emeritus (also known as my sister-inlaw, Donna). Donna grew up on a hog farm, and she REALLY was the state hog queen, back in the day. She found her sash (it still fits) and her tiara, and showed up looking very royal. Check out her pretty pig belt buckle!! Who knew my friend Suzanne (right) was a fabulous "pig caller"?! I'm sure her high school English students would love to hear a replay. Check out our pink piggy bank trophies!
The happy bunch above shared prizes for doing the best "pig sound" imitations. Finally, Alan found a use for his infamous 4H pig imitation! I've been enduring this questionable talent for years. Rewards (and pig trophies) come to those who wait.
Alas, the fun was over, and we're left with our happy porcine memories. The whole thing was just such a crazy, fun adventure, that I'm still smiling. And so is our smoky, toothy, apple-eating pig, if only in my photos! I'm officially dubbing this "The Miracle of the Perfect Pig"!