While researching the traditions and methods of pig roasting in Hawaii (click here for the details), my mind drifted back to another pig roast a few years ago —my first, in fact. Soon, we will root through the actual roasting of a whole pig, but let’s first ponder what’s involved and why we are drawn to this particular feasting adventure.
First, we should clear the air. As the Convivial Boar and devout Razorback fan, many feasters have questioned (perhaps even ridiculed—you know who you are Mrs. painted Razorback skull in your near-roasting temperature office) why I would encourage (much less lead) the roasting of a pig. The answer is simple: pigs are too damn tasty not to roast!
The pig roast shall occur —the only question is whether you will partake.
As a lover of all that is pork, I choose to roast and celebrate the succulent sacrifice of my brethren. Through the ceremonial and ritualistic pig roast, we embrace the sacrifice of the one and honor all of pigkind. To shun this beautiful gift would be an insult —which I cannot abide.
That being snorted, it is only beautiful if done properly (nobody benefits from a botched pig roast). So, let’s wallow a bit on the subject of what is required for a proper pig roast.
A Devoted Team…
Pig roasting is not a solitary undertaking —it requires a team. Not just any team. These feast-makers must possess diverse talents and marry them to the shared purpose of creating a unique moment of celebration befitting of the pig’s sacrifice.
As a point of emphasis, I will share with you the story of my first pig roast and the Pig-Roasting Dream Team —I know you thought that was just the stuff of legend and lore. Allow me to introduce you to our team: a manufacturing efficiency expert from Ohio; a PHD engineer from Peru; a financial officer from Denmark; and a rather convivial lawyer from South Arkansas.
Our pig roast did not want for planning. From the inception of the notion until the actual roast took us just shy of four years. Our engineer researched every possible manner in which pigs could be roasted (in-the-ground, over open-fire, above-ground pits…). Our efficiency expert continually pushed for shorter cook times and less fuel requirements. Our financial officer held the reins tight on any unnecessary expenses. And of course, our convivial lawyer hosted the planning sessions and kept meticulous time records.
The plan that ultimately surfaced was that we would roast the pig in a Cuban box (as an aside our engineer’s wife was from Cuba, but he claims this selection was based solely on merit). The box is made of wood and the inside is lined with a thin metal. The pig is placed inside the box, and the fire is on top. The pig cooks as though in a pressure cooker —an entire pig can be cooked in about six hours. Our efficiency expert signed off on the method. The financial officer approved the price. And the lawyer closed the transaction.
A Celebratory Purpose…
A pig roast is not a mid-week, after-work, affair. Not only must you have a devoted team of roasters, but you also need a crowd of feasters. A 75 pound pig will serve about 50 to 60 feasters. And keep in mind that you will need plenty of time to get everything together so pick the date well in advance. Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends are good choices as they allow for a more leisurely endeavor.
We decided to use our pig roast as an opportunity to create for a cause by accepting donations from our feasters for a local non-profit: Group Living. For information on Group Living’s mission click “here.”
A Convivial Atmosphere…
Spend some time considering where you will host your pig roast. You need a large outdoor area with ample seating. My personal preference is to host pig roasts on the bank of a river or lake —but I guess if you are in Hawaii and all you have is the Pacific it will have to do.
Once you have a devoted team, plan, and purpose, you must commit—otherwise, you could find yourself talking about it for four years without any action. Pick a date and send the invites —maybe make a banner or some t-shirts (our over-achieving team did both —actually we had some help with those items from relations).
As you chew on these preparations, consider that pig roasting is the pinnacle of convivial feast-making. Pigs and feasts are intertwined throughout history. For those who devour a pig together share a special bond and the stories of your unique roast will abound —perhaps one of your team members will even blog about it.
Assemble your dream team, my friend.