Monday, August 16, 2010
Anniversary pig roast
Rory and I celebrated one year of wedded bliss Sunday and to recognize that along with show appreciation for our parents who were so generous with the wedding the previous year we threw a pig roast to celebrate all our anniversaries, which fall in August. My parents are celebrating 40 years in a couple of weeks and Rory's parents celebrated 35 years a week ago.
This party was a long time in the making but last week was hectic to say the least. Everyday there was some prep that had to be done, make the marinara for the backed mostacholi, make the base for the ice cream, churn the ice cream, make the ginger snaps, assemble the ice cream sandwiches, etc., etc.
And then there was the pig. We were using the La Caja China cooking box for the beast. My buddy JR owns one (see here for previous posts) and was kind enough to come over early and help prep and get the beast and get it in the cooker.
I had some issues getting a pig, I could only get 70-pounds or smaller because of the size of the box. One place that I call all last week kept telling me to call back and then on Thursday said they couldn't guarantee anything for me the following day.
I went with another place and ended up paying entirely too much for a much smaller pig than I wanted but I'm writing it off as a learning experience. Since the pig was only around 58 pounds I bought a couple of pork shoulders, about 20 pounds total, and cooked those with the pig.
Since I have a cooler that I could use to bury a small man I decided that I would brine the pig and the shoulders, I uses Ruhlman's 20-1 liquid to salt ratio. I the also added about a pound a half of garlic, 30 bay leaves, 1/4 cup of peppercorns, a gallon of orange juice, half a gallon of pineapple juice and a bunch of cut up lemons and limes. I brined it for about 16 hours.
The cooker box works great. You place the pig in this rack and just let it cook, adding charcoal every hour. Once it hits 160 degrees you flip it over to crisp up the skin. All told it took a little more than three hours to cook all the food and it turned out great. The meat was moist and tasted good, but I wasn't getting a whole lot of citrus. I cut out the tenderloins and sliced them up and they were like butter, literally feels like it was melting in your mouth. I don't know if there's another way I would cook a pig other than using the La Caja China.
All told we probably had more than 60 people here, probably close to 70. While the food was great and while I'm not ruling out another pig roast I doubt we'll be doing a party of that magnitude again. It was stressful ... two days later I still feel like I'm recovering.
I'll be doing future posts on some of the sides and hopefully posting some pictures later in the week as well.
Thanks to my parents and sister for all the help as well as Rory's parents and brothers for their assistance as well and another shout out to JR for all the help with the piggy. For all those who attended thanks for coming and bringing food and making it a great time.