Gettin' the Pig In
I have the good fortune of knowing David Pearlstein, author of the OinkMoo blog, and founder of Link Lab Artisan meats. Which is all to say that David has connections to the world of healthy, fatty, happy pigs. David ordered me a whole pig, 79 pounds dressed weight, from Kapowsin Farms. Apparently chef Tom Douglas is all about Kapowsin pigs these days too. In any case, it is this fine carcass that graces my bathtub at the moment.
Making the Game Plan
The plan for tomorrow is an amalgam of instructions pulled from a variety of sources. The internet is a wonder, providing an endless stream of information...which at some point results in at least subtle differences, if not outright contradictions. So I picked a path through other people's experiences, not limited to these fine blog entries: CaughtSmokinBBQ, IndirectHeat, Mausit, and GlobeTrotterDiaries. With an eye towards serving food around 7pm, I'll get the fire started at 9am, bank coals at 10:30ish, and put the pig on directly. I'm not brining or rubbing -- just letting the pig be the pig -- and I won't plan on flipping the critter during the many hours of roasting, but instead try to get it cooked through with indirect heat. Once internal temp has reached 185 degrees or so, I'll pull the pig off, let it rest for a bit, then start pulling meat. The skin, once separated from the meat, will go back on the grill to crisp up. The meat will be chopped and combined (lean with fatty with some shards of skin), then seasoned with apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, some red pepper flakes.
And that's it. From there onto sandwhich rolls. What could go wrong?
What Could Go Wrong
For starters the weather is supposed to be pretty crappy tomorrow. This is Seattle, rain is what it is, but it may otherwise foul up the fire, the temperature of the oven, carving of pig, serving of pig, drinking while watching pig cook, etc. My worst fears center around timing. What if the pig is done really early? Worse, what if the pig is done really late? Or underdone? Or scorched? What if there's not enough? Way too much? Jesus what am I doing?!
I'd be curled up in the fetal position in my bathtub right now, Will Smith style, except there's a dead pig in my bathtub.