Monday, December 2, 2013

The Process: Part II

Two years ago, I blogged the process for roasting whole pigs.  It was a lot of work and takes a lot of prep (setting up, waiting, cooking, serving) but the end result is all worth the headache. Once that full pig is revealed to the masses present, everyone knows they are in for some good looking cooking.
     The whole pig roast was in jeopardy this year without the McDonald house as the place to cook.  With no definite location to host the usual grill set up, I traveled to J&J Packaging in Brookshire, Texas to place the order for a head, ribs, and shoulder.  Wouldn't you know a customer was passing a suckling pig into his car as I was arriving!  As I approached the door into their facilities, the urge to roast my own babe grew.  My usual Mexican friend was ready to greet me when I entered. "One cabeza" I started (clever Spanish I thought to myself)  "Two ribs and a shoulder," I continued.  Quickly, he explained they were out of ribs.  Feeling dejected, I threw a shot in the dark.  "Do you have any whole pigs?"  "Whole pigs? For roasting?" (You usually need to order whole pigs a week in advance.....) "yeah I have some," he says.  He brings me the smallest one they had, weighing in at 23 pounds.  The perfect pig! 
 ...Now, how to cook it......
     This year, with the help of a friend, I wanted to add some flare to the process.  It would be great if we could create something to allow us to cook a whole pig on the parade grounds where we tailgate for the LSU vs Arkansas game.  We figured a "new" grill is just what we needed.
     Enter my friend, Barton.  The guy is a modern MacGyver.  He had some things around his house to weld together to create our new "Grill Monster."  

After a lot of fandangling and nearly 5 hours on Thanksgiving night, the grill was complete.  It even tried to eat him!    
     Now back to the process, the pig needed to be seasoned and kept cold for a couple of days while we transported it to Baton Rouge, LA.  Thankfully the temperature never got above 50 degrees, so with some ice packs and bags, the pig stayed fresh!  I used my grandmother's recipe of adobo sauce from Puerto Rico (garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and olive oil) and I added some cayenne pepper.  This creates a thick paste to spread onto our meat.

The longer this can marinate, the better.  Ours soaked up the sauce for a couple of days, and boy could we tell!  We arrived at our spot around 6:00am to get the pig on the grill by 6:30.  Grill Monster was one of the few grills (if not the only one) rolling this early on campus! The parade grounds looked like a frozen tundra with temperatures in the mid 20's.

We cooked the pig for 6 and a half hours at a temperature of about 325.  After the initial searing of the meat, we wrapped it in foil to prevent further "burning."  Once the cooking was complete, we let the pig rest for a little while.  (It was tired after all this)  The meat literally fell off the bones and was delicious.  Best pig yet.
The weather was beautiful and the game was exciting (a little more exciting than it probably should have been).  Talk about happy plates.  And happy LSU fans.

And a Happy Grill Monster.

Until the grill monster feeds again....

Happy Happy Happy Plates!

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