The Questionable Legality of Open Flames in the Backyard: Twelve or So Hours of Epic Roast Beast

We promised pig photos, and pig photos you’re going to get. Be forewarned though; spit roasting a 50 lb pig in the backyard is not exactly a pretty process, although it ends in lots of happy deliciousness. If you’re squeamish about meat, weird animal parts, nose-to-tail eating, or happen to be (gasp!) vegetarian…you probably shouldn’t click the button below. But if you’re curious about how to roast your own whole pig on a bed of charcoal in your backyard, then choose the blue pill and take the plunge into our carnivorous world…

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

7am: Above we have big brother Andy, hero of the day for sourcing the pig from his restaurant, Harvest.  Andy also hooked up the motorized spit rental, essential for a day’s worth of slow roasting.  Andy made it all happen, but the center of attention all day was assuredly Antonio the pig.

Over the course of the day, we got better and better acquainted with Antonio.

8am: We prepare Antonio for salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Antonio manages to be a little bit cute and grotesque at the same time, stirring up within us twinges of sadness, appreciation, squeamishness, maybe even guilt. But we know that Antonio lived a good life, and we know he will be extremely tasty after hours of slow-roasting, and so we begin scoring the skin in 1/2 inch lines with a pocket knife for crackling.

Daniel graciously removes the eyeballs, because really, they’re too gross, even for us.

They are not, however, too gross to take creepy photos with.

We remove various things from Antonio’s cavity.

We replace them with apples, red onions, and butter.

We rub Antonio down with aforementioned ingredients, plus some wine, cider, and and more butter. Because everyone likes butter, even Antonio.

9am: We put Antonio on the roasting apparatus.

He starts to brown and crackle juuuust the tiniest bit. Our stomachs start to howl.

10am-2pm: Antonio gets progressively browner, but is still rather undercooked on the inside. Daniel loyally applies love and butter sauce to the roasting process.

Our guests, once arrived, congregate around Antonio. He’s a conversation piece. He’s better than TV.

3pm-ish: It’s about time to eat, but Antonio still isn’t quite done, so we cut off some crackling to pass around. It’s insanely good.

4pm: We declare Antonio thoroughly roasted, and begin dismantle him in the middle of the party.

His tongue/face region are particularly creepy. Sorry.

People tell Irene that she shouldn’t be working so hard at her own birthday party – it seems they don’t understand that this is the kind of thing she does for fun.

Finally, the roast is served: we honor Antonio with sandwich rolls, hoisin sauce, spicy mustard, and homemade pickles.

We spent the next few hours cleaning up, and making preparations for pork shi fan, pork soup, beer braised pork, red wine stewed pork with fresh linguine, pork and collard green stuffed ravioli, and even more pork sandwiches. Antonio’s head is still in the fridge.

Thanks to all for joining us on this epic journey of pork and delight! What will we roast at the next party? Suggestions so far include goat, lamb, four and twenty blackbirds, and a baker’s dozen of ducks. Honestly though, we’d be happy to just eat Antonio all over again.

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6 thoughts on “The Questionable Legality of Open Flames in the Backyard: Twelve or So Hours of Epic Roast Beast

  1. Barbara says:

    I was thinking we could raise ducks. Well, of course we could raise anything. I mean, next, after we get the chicks and ourselves settled in.

    I very much appreciate the graphic photographs and descriptions. I missed most of it. xoxo

  2. admin says:

    i’m glad you tossed in the photo of me looking absolutely horrified. that will be my ‘i’m holding an eyeball’ face from now on.

  3. Grandma Phyllis says:

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Elaine and Fred and Irene on 150 years of growth and good times and cooking and eating. the pictures and story are wonderful. And, altho it’s not possible to top this celebration, you certainly will, with your usual grace and skill.

    Best wishes to all.

    Love, Grandma Phyllis

  4. sam says:

    Holy mother of pig, that looks effing delish. Wish I was there… I love swine. And I bet finishing it off with that red velvet was perfect.

  5. Kieran says:

    Dude… this is insane. I had some of a hog roast at a wedding last night, this is a fascinating yet gross insight into the process behind it. It would make some people turn vegetarian, but it just made me hungry.

  6. Amin says:

    You guys are totally crazy! That looks absolutely delicious, but I don’t think I would be able to do it. I still haven’t received the meat you sent me. Waiting patiently.

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