Roasting in Vermont

I'm a fan of doing things myself. It might not always be less expensive, but it's always a learning experience. Last year at Pheasant Fest in Vermont, two nice portly gentllemen showed up and slow roasted a pig. While they did that, I picked some apples, drank a few beers, and in general... wore stripes.

This year, the hosts of the Fest said... "Roasting is dumb. Let's just bury that sucker."

I think what actually happened was someone saw this NYTimes article about a pig "roast" and the rest was history. These are the same siblings that elected to have a clam bake one Labor Day having never done this before.

I could wax on about all the steps of the pig roast but I'll let you read the article for the nitty gritty, since honestly we didn't do anything significantly different. But, the project did lead me to do a few things that I might never have done. Here are two good examples:

Example 1: Show up at my favorite local spice place and give them a list of ingredients for the rub. 
Guy: "How much do you want?" 
Me: "I'm honestly not sure. How about you just give me enough?"
Guy: "What's enough?"
Me: "Enough is when you think I have enough of it."
Truth be told... I had been talking to this guy for a few weeks about the roast and he knew what I was up to ... that being said, neither of us had any idea how much cinnamon I needed to rub down a 100 pound pig.

Example 2: Include the NY Times link in my email vacation memo

The basics of the roast are as follows:

Step 1. Get your friend's parents to permit a big ole hole to be dug in the ground. The hole is pretty much a pit and is big enough that you really need a tractor to do it ... and you are also pumped that it was done before you got there. Oh, and in the pit make a bed of field stones. CHECK.

Step 2. Get like a whole lot of wood and make a giant bonfire in the pit. This will take 6 hours. How much wood? Approximately 5+ tractor loads. During this process, you will need to avoid the spiders that inevitably love to live in wood piles. 
Step 3. Procure a pig from someone. I have no idea where the pig came from. It did come in a giant bucket ... and it did come clean as a whistle.

Step 4. Put the pig on the parents' kitchen island.... this is the same place where you'll put the bowl of Snickers two days later... or the breakfast sandwiches the next morning.

Step 4b. Remove the pig from the counter when you realize you need to put it on a bed of banana leaves ... that is on a bed of burlap.

Step 5. Rub the pig down with a healthy mix of olive oil and rub ingredients. Given my affinity for bacon, you'd think I was right in there... I opted to take pictures and video. Be sure to flip that little piggy over and get the other side as well. For good measure, put an apple in his mouth. It'd be weird if you didn't.
Wrap that sucker in the banana leaves, then the burlap, then the chicken wire. THEN, you'll want to use some even bigger gauge wire to hold the whole thing together. Just pretend they are like the little plastic twisty ties you get on bread at the grocery store. It all makes sense.

Oh, and you stuff the pig with an amazing assortment of fresh fruit. Your grocery cart will look a bit like you are hosting a summer luau ... but in actuality you are stuffing a pig. I wish I had kept track of how much exactly it took to fill a 100 pound piggy... but the best scale of measurement would just be to get a catering style tray like the one I used and just cut up fruit until you've filled it.

My rough estimate is: 4 pineapples, 5 mangos, 6 apples, 6 red onions, 2 giant heads of garlic, and 5 limes. Also, my iphone got all sorts of sticky because I had to google "how to cut up a pineapple". After I was done with that, I googled "how to cut up a mango". Needless to say, now I'm a professional.

Step 6. Back out at the fire pit... you need to move the coals and rocks around a bit to make a hole / bed for the piggy. Essentially. You need to toss that sucker in there and cover it with all the coals and rocks. That is how its going to cook. That 1000 degree rock is really fahking hot too... so it may seem obvious but be careful.
After you've covered the pig with coals, then cover the pit with a wet piece of canvas. Then cover it all in dirt. 

Step 7. Put on your patience pants.... because you now need to wait 20 hours.

During this span of time, as a group you'll probably do two things. One is to totally forget that the pig even exists and is buried in the backyard. Two is to think about what you'll do when you unbury it and it isn't cooked a lick. 

Step 8. After you've all played a competitive game of capture the keg (use your imagination here), the whole group should head to the pit area and just start digging. I personally thought it would take an hour to dig up the pig and get started on dinner. Spoiler alert? It took 5 minutes. I'm not even kidding. Maybe 10 minutes.

Step 9. After pulling the chicken wire sack from the ground, it was hoisted over to a picnic table near the barn. Upon opening up the layers of chicken wire and burlap, it was pretty much just a giant pile of pulled pork.
The pig went in the ground at about 9pm on Friday and was pulled at about 6pm on Saturday. So 22 hours later.... a pile of pork.... that tasted amazing.

Step 10. Enjoy the feast .... for days.
I'm honestly a little embarrassed that I don't have a picture of the meal from that night. But it was great. The pork was accompanied by some great side dishes that include mac and cheese for sure. And, then we proceeded to eat pork at every meal for the next 2 days.

I most certainly still had the pork sweats at work on Tuesday.

This is what breakfast looked like the next day ... yep, there were some talented chefs at Fest this year. Including this hilarious girl named Phoebe who made this breakfast. Not pictured here? Some sort of lime crema sauce that I pretty much put all over this plate.

And, that's pretty much how you do a pig roast.

Here's a video of how it all went down.

100+ pound pig
25+ hilarious people
1 tractor
lots of wood
several shovels (one will for sure break)

pig stuffing
4 pineapples
5 mangos
6 apples
6 red onions
2 giant heads of garlic
5 limes
additional garlic to rub on the skin of the pig

pig rub
kosher salt
brown sugar
all spice
cracked black peppercorn
I don't have the specifics on the ratios for the rub. But you need about 1.5 quarts for a 100 lb pig ... and heavy on the salt and sugar... the rest of it is just gravy. You really can't screw this up. Seriously.

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