Going whole hog...

(Disclaimer: Shelby from high school and other animal loving readers - a whole pig, although treated with the upmost respect during it's life, is harmed in the making of this blog post. You may want to skip this one.)

Blake and I are party people. We have thrown parties for just about every holiday - major (Christmas/Back to School) to minor (Pi Day/Guy Fawkes Day). Give us a reason and we will have a party. It is something we enjoy and a way to successfully kick us into gear to clean up the yard, finish a project, or attempt something new. This past weekend we threw the mother of all parties and decided to roast a pig... the whole thing... buried in a pit.

This was no small feat especially since we were also doing our own slaughtering. It took weeks of research and days of fretting. The night before I don't think I slept more than a few hours I was so nervous... about the pig and the crazy spastic weather we are having.

We decided success or fail, it would be an adventure and since the party was in honor of our most adventurous friends, The Cox's and their upcoming move, it would be worth the risk.

The timeline went something like this:

Previous Saturday - Dig a hole. A really big hole. Nothing solidifies a marriage more than going out and digging a pit together... it should be some sort of couples therapy. Then let your kids play in it. And then put the 3 snakes you find in the wood pile in it. It is all good fun.

Friday 7pm - Blake and his fellow partner in crime slaughter, de-hair, and gut the pig. This took place in our backyard - hanging from the swing set. My job was to keep all the children happily occupied inside so they did not ask where Dad was. In respect to our pig and anyone reading this with small children in the room - no pictures.

Saturday 5:30am - Blake heads out to start the fire in the pit.

7am - Cyndi heads out to help prep and wrap the pig. We stuffed it with veggies for moisture and flavor then wrapped it in foil, burlap, and chicken wire. The weather is gloriously promising.

9am - Pig goes in the pit. Cyndi runs kid to soccer game while Blake buries it up. The weather is lousy.

11am - Our remote thermometer is registering a steady increase in heat. Blake and I are freaking out - IT IS WORKING! And the weather is fantastic!

2pm - Temperature is slowing down. It is not quite rising at the speed we need for the 5pm party time. And storms are rolling in.

3pm - We know the pig won't be done in time. We admit defeat and haul the grill down by the pit so that we can finish the meat up on there once we pull it out. Weather nice again.

4:45pm - Blake uncovers the pit. Weather bad again.

5pm - Unwrap the pig. Weather nice again.

5:15pm - Temp the pig - it is done just not done-done. It won't shred which means Blake and Cyndi get to work hacking the thing apart to get some meat chopped for the steady stream of guests that are quickly filling up our yard. Weather is good but this is where things got crazy.

5:30-8:30 - It is a blur. I didn't take a single picture. There was about 100 people here. At one point another storm rolled in and it poured. At least 80 of those people were in our shop. We asked people to bring sides and desserts to share - we just forgot that if they were also bringing their 5 kids with them (Dang Mormons!) and that their side or dessert would be shared with their family and that was about it. The food was not what I hoped it to be - from the pig that our nice friends were desperately trying to help Blake grill and me shred to the random ice cream I kept pulling from my freezer to make do for dessert. It was crazy - chickens and a billion kids running everywhere and at some point me asking Blake, "Are you okay with kids in the pig pen?" It was wild - I was incapable of coherent conversation with anyone because the whole thing all felt out of control. And because I was desperately trying to make bite-sized pieces of meat for 100 people - it was like our normal dinner times just multiplied 20 fold. The whole endeavor felt a bit red-necked versus the fun Hawaiian luau that I was going for. At one point I do remember looking up and seeing about 60 kids all smiling as they swung and played tetherball and chased chickens and spun themselves into oblivion on the tire swing - so I can safely say that the majority of our guests enjoyed themselves!

And we learned a lot. Blake wants to do it again now that "he could perfect it." Hotter fire for longer duration and smaller pig. And the next time I would not set a time... I would say come on this evening and at some point we will enjoy some pulled pork but that really would have decreased the stress if we weren't fighting a clock. It was by far the craziest party we have ever thrown and half way through I realized why so many people on their tutorials talked about the importance of beer on the day of the feast - I don't think that this is a feat that can be fully enjoyed sober.

So for us non-drinkers - I think roasting a whole pig will always have an edge of crazy to it.

9pm - We had the Cox's help us roll our non-working truck back into the shop (just to solidify our red-neck status for good) and said our farewells. I will seriously miss their family! We put the kids down and snuck out for half-priced shakes at Sonic. There might not be any alcohol in them but Chocolate Oreo definitely took the edge off.


Jana Weaver said...

Wow, that is quite the undertaking!

Erinlizabeth said...

Holy smokes! Sad we missed out on this one! ;-)

Micah Taylor said...

whoa!! you guys are champions! sounds like a fun adventure :)

Tammy C. said...

You had me laughing out loud!! It was a great party....don't forget the child that fell out of the tree. A favorite memory of mine was S.H. chasing kids out of the chicken coop. "But, my mom said I could!" "I don't care, get out of there RIGHT NOW!" You guys are great sports.

Britt said...

Okay, that gave me panic attack, and now I need a half-priced shake from Sonic to cope.