We broke down and bought a La Caja China pig roaster. I mean everyone should have one, right? I am sure it will pay for itself (in several generations)!! Anyway, in a few years, it will be one of our progeny’s problems, I mean prized inheritances. All of that aside, I do love it, even though it’s not very practical. And this Sunday (Feb. 10), we decide to roast the first test pig. By that I mean, Don will roast the test pig. And he was pretty much on board, until he found out that I invited a bunch of people. I quit making phone calls, when I saw the terror in his eyes. Now, he’s got the rare but real “pig roasting” panic. He’s very concerned about it turning out really well. I’m not concerned, because I have back-up hot dogs, and I know I won’t need them, because the pig will be perfect. And now we’re focused on the weather. We’ve had a drought for months, but now heavy rain and hail are predicted for Sunday. Of course, the actual forecast has changed three times since the pig thaw began.
Tuesday Feb. 5
Let’s talk about the beginning of the pig preparation. Our neighbor had three cleaned baby feral hogs in his freezer, and offered one for the pig roast. You have to plan for the defrosting period of a whole pig. So, I decided Tuesday would be a good day to get one of them out of the freezer (our neighbor is out of town). I got the back of the car ready for the frozen hunk of meat, and in between errands, I went over to grab one, and throw it in the car. Well, there was no grab and throw. I really worked on them, and couldn’t get a single one to budge. That’s not exactly true, I did get the one that was stacked on another one to move, but it had frozen into a curve around the lower pig. So, I would lift and almost get it free, then it would snap back into the freezer like a rubber band. Did I mention this was an upright freezer? I tried for the one on an upper shelf, but finally noticed the hooves were still on, and hooked around the wire shelf. So, I thought, fine, I’ll just take the whole shelf out. That didn’t happen. And that bottom pig that should have slid out when the top pig was lifted slightly, was frozen solid to the wire rungs of its shelf. I really couldn’t believe I couldn’t get a pig out of the freezer. Plan B: I got my ex-cop neighbor to help, and it was obvious he couldn’t believe I couldn’t get a pig out of a freezer. He tried everything that I had, with the same amount of success, and finally he resorted to prying one out with a short T-post! The 30 lbs of frozen pork stayed in the utility sink for about 8 hours, then we had to cram it into the refrigerator.
Sunday Feb. 10
Luckily, the weather turned out to be gorgeous, so one less thing to be anxious about. The pig thaw went well, and now it was time to get it ready for the roaster. We were elbow deep in the slippery creature, until it finally made it to the roasting box. First there was a bit of grass and dirt to get off the sides, then there was the hammer and butcher knife to lay that baby open. Don finally got it in the roaster, put the lid on, and loaded the charcoal on, and voila, two and a half hours later, we had a roasted pig!
We had lots of sides to go with it: refried beans, coleslaw, Spanish rice, potato salad, guacamole, a couple sauces, naan bread, 3 kinds of tortillas – it was all good! Our next animal destined for the roaster is a baby goat.
I took a lot of the leftover meat and put it in the slow cooker with two beers (nothing better than beer in a hot tub!), garlic powder, onion powder, Frankly Delicious, and a lot of Worcestershire sauce. It cooked on low for 10 hours, then got mixed with cilantro pesto and Greek yogurt mixed with chipotle salsa. It was awesome.