Monday, June 29, 2009

Pig Roast 2009

After two weekends in a row hosting parties at our house (and all the fretting and prepping and feverish house-cleaning that it entails), I needed a few days' recovery to revel in inactivity. This quickly descends into crippling laziness, as is its wont, until I just sit my ass down and at least download the photos off my camera. First hurdle cleared.

This year was different. First off, I'm pregnant, and that makes me heavy, slow and quick to tire. Also, we wanted to do two smaller pigs this year instead of a 100lb sow, for ease and timeliness of cooking - we ended up with two 40lb roasters. The main factor, though, was definitely the pregnancy and its function of shifting my priorities quickly. Do I really need to get ham and cheese and make extra pickles in case someone wants a Cubano, requiring yet another run to the store and a reshuffling of the contents of the fridge? Ehhhh.

After we picked up the pigs, Scott's bro and I needed to figure out where to keep them for awhile. The chest freezer that we used last year was pretty much shot (sitting in a driveway throughout a Portland winter will do that to an electric appliance) and had been carted off by the 1-800-Got-Junk guys along with an old door a few months back. So we just placed them in the bathtub for an hour or so (they were still partially frozen) until I could send Scott to the hardware store for a couple of plastic garbage cans, which we filled with ice.

Last year, I made a sticky-sweet-hot gochujang barbecue sauce to rub into the cavity of the pig, and slashed the skin on the hams to apply some dry rub. This year, I made a huge jar of the dry rub (homemade Berbere spice with salt, mustard powder, paprika and ancho chile powder) and smeared it into the interior, then sprinkled some parsley flowers and fresh coriander berries (the seeds that were still juicy and green). I used the branches of parsley and coriander to hold the pigs' mouths open - I don't know what function it serves, but it seemed like the thing to do.



Joe and Shin hoisted the piggies onto the warm grill and we covered them with foil to keep the heat in and the flies off. This year, we had much better control of the heat (and didn't use three bags of mesquite right off the bat). I tossed some green quince branches onto the coals for some sweet smoke and got to work in the kitchen.

I did end up overdoing it again somewhat, and that's another change I'll make next year - people don't really care about having banh mi or tacos when they have the option of eating hot pork sliced directly from the beast. However, the roasted corn-mango salsa was delicious in its own right and was heartily devoured with tortilla chips. The pasta salad is a cookout stand-by, as are the plate of crudites (not pictured) and baked beans (not pictured; Norm provided these and they were moist and delicious). Tammy brought a yummy sesame-y Asian noodle salad, and Susan brought platter upon platter of desserts, including some wonderful cherry petit fours and a plate of Buckeyes (a chocolate-covered peanut butter confection that Ohioans eat).

Since it was raining most of the day, I was afraid to use my camera outdoors where photography really sings. Indoors, the photos were harder to come by because of the crowded conditions and poor lighting. Regardless, I took one of one of the cocktails that I made: strawberry lemonade with rhubarb Dry Soda. Dry Soda is a discovery I made when I first learned I was pregnant and needed a replacement for cocktails and wine. It's not too sweet (only 50 calories per bottle but not artificially sweetened) and it comes in fancy flavors like juniper berry, vanilla and lavender. They're also based in Seattle so I can support a NW-based small business. I used the rhubarb, lemongrass and kumquat sodas to craft some family-friendly cocktails: sweet tea with kumquat, limeade with lemongrass and coconut milk and the aforementioned rhubarb-strawberry lemonade. Dry Soda people, if you're reading, you can totally steal these ideas.

Speaking of Seattle, Brooke and Brittany came all the way down from Seattle to say hi. Tragedy struck when they had to turn around and drive home before the pigs were ready - they had a father's day engagement the following day that was to begin traumatically early for a Sunday morning (8:00am - gasp!). It was so nice to see them, though - they're so pretty and hilarious. Brittany totally isn't dead, btw, she is just finding herself in a similar "I'm too busy for this shit and none of you sons of bitches gonna guilt me into it" situation in which I've been finding myself lately.

It was great to see so many old friends and catch up, even if it meant I had to flit from friend to friend like some socially-retarded hummingbird and perform half-assed hostessing. Scott drank about 30 beers over the course of the day, and spent his first (unofficial) father's day sick in bed until 5:00pm. Next year, we'll stick with one little 60lb fella, we won't do any of the extra banh mi/Carnitas/Cubanos fixins, I'll have my prep done days in advance (making about half the volume of sides that I usually make), and I will be able to have a drink.

39 comments:

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Looks like another great pig roast!!! I can't wait to see what next year will be like with a little one hanging on!! Great job!

Michael said...

Aww! I'm sorry we missed it, looks fantastic! Is it ironic that Lori may have sick with the swine flu that day?

tammy said...

Wow. I'm heartily impressed. Parenthood'll be a cinch.

Brittany said...

OH YES! One year, I AM making the trek out for this! I have been looking forward to this post since last year's!!!!

Brooke said...

I am still kicking myself for not staying another hour or so. The pig looks s'damn tasty. All I got was a celery stick and some of the dry soda concoction. Wah.

But it was lovely to see you and your vast collection of animal skulls. Hopefully we'll meet up in September!

Lo said...

Awesome, Heather!
Love those piggy snout pictures... and I can just smell the feast.

Have been drinking lots of dry soda around here... Admittedly, with not-so-dry ingredients added (mojitos with rhubarb soda are pretty darned good)... but still.

Foodycat said...

I've been so looking forward to this year's, after last year's amazing post! Still looks wonderful! And it's good to know that Norm and Brittany still walk the earth. I was beginning to wonder!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Me want. Me want. Parties for two weekends in a row and you're still up to this???? I couldn't manage that and I'm not pregnant.

You have the right idea scrapping stuff like cubans. While It's fun to play with the possibilities of roasted pork, really I think most people will be happy with just lots of slices of that roasted pork with some good sides (and they looked delicious).

I seriously gotta crash your party next year. *starts looking up airline ticket costs*

swinyangryone said...

My one chance to meet you in real life and actually eat some of your delicious cooking and I go ruin it by drinking the water in Morocco and getting sicker than I have ever been in my whole life!

I should be fired! *crys*

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Drools on keyboard.... What exactly does one have to do to get invited to one of these? I could do my very best Takeshi Kitano impression to entertain the guests?;-P

pigpigscorner said...

OH WOW...it looks really really good!!

Scott said...

In my defense, I was drinking for three.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I love your pig roasts posts! Vicarious thrills all the way.

peter said...

Hey, did you hear that Michael Jackson died?

The Duo Dishes said...

Takes us back to the days in NC where pig pickins were everywhere!

Bellini Valli said...

Keeping the tradition alive Heather. So much fun to be had surrounded by friends:D

Manggy said...

But, next year Heather, you'll have a kiiiiiiid :P Too bad about your freezer :(
Wish I could've been there! I'll bring a bottle of lechon sauce, hehe :)

Peter M said...

So you doubled-up on the swine action this year? The pork twins on the grill look fab...sounds like it's gaining popularity...all good things come in three.

Next year you'll be a family of three- three little piglets would be fitting!

peter said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiiA0qH58wE

Peter G said...

Your pig roasts are legendary Heather...I bet you still go overboard next year!

m said...

Looks like an amazing event - congrats to the hostess (and the host too, of course...). I wish I had the space to hold an event like this!

The Spiteful Chef said...

I am SO fucking jealous that you guys got to hang out, even if you had to stay sober and they didn't get to eat any pigs. Ugh. The NW is where it's currently AT (here's my parentheses to avoid ending that sentence with a dirty preposition).

My captcha is dyaretic.

Karine said...

Wowow it seems to be a lot of work but the final result must reward the effort!

Cookerguy said...

Damn lovely beasts you got there. Congrats on the baby. There fun but messy.

Nicebroom said...

I am hopelessly hooked on the lavender Dry Soda, with only one store in my area that sells it...

Sabroso said...

http://lechonsabroso.multiply.com/

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Good God - what a feast of everything carnal. Fabulous stuff, Heather.

Norm Schoen said...

Thanks again for having me over. Next year Connor is definitely coming along.

Brittany said...

Yeah, we're assholes for missing pig. But I was just delighted to see you and your amazinglyfuckingbeautiful house. (Seriously peeps. Bitch can decorate.)

I could not put my lack of blogging better myself. Well spoke.
Can't wait to see you in Sept ; )

....since when do you have captcha?

Abigail (aka Mamatouille) said...

It's funny - I know what pigs say in three languages but I've never been to a pig roast. Looks like I'm really missing out!

Oink.

Leigh said...

I remember commenting on this last year, and saying that this looked awesome. And this, too, looks awesome. WOW

Cynthia said...

I want to come visit just to have some of that pork!

Congrats on your pregnancy!

we are never full said...

ok, i've looked at this post four times now and finally i can comment. these pig roasts amaze me. i can not believe you are "with child" and still managed to pull this shit off. i think i'd probably say fuck it and wait till pig roast 2010 to do it up again. but i'm sure it was wroth it. it seems like it was, at least.

when your kid gets to see what a real meal looks like at next years pig fest he'll prob. ditch the pureed veggies and start on pulled pork as his first solid. wait, do you know the sex? why do i keep calling it him? hmmmmmmmm?

glamah16 said...

I so wish I lived near you. What a great yearly event.

Anonymous said...

ew..i hope this happens to your unborn child as well

Tim said...

That's it, I'm roasting a pig!

Zen Chef said...

Holy suckling pig!
You are my hero!
Since it's too late for me to be the father of your child can i be at least his godfather?

khemasanine said...

Yikes, I hope that "Anonymous" was leaving that as some sort of nasty joke. If not, I'm sure they will rot in hell. I am a regular reader of yours, and just wanted to stop by and say hope the pregnancy is treating you kindly and that your blogging is missed, but not in anyway that would result in your having to explain absence.:) OH, and thanks to your handy-dandy pig-roasting do-hickey I'm thinking that a pig roast is totally in order for my upcoming wedding. So, thanks for that.

maybelle's mom said...

yes buckeyes are our birthright as Ohioans. Every man, woman and child get a certain amount for every year they remain in the state... j/k. I am totally amazed at how much you can do pregnant.