When we came up with the title "Walking on Fire" for the next blog, we decided to put out a call for submissions. We wanted to avoid regaling you with a self-congratulating/indulgent yarn from Drew's checkered past, so we asked our industry friends to chime in with tales from the trenches. We were hoping for a steamy vignette with sex appeal, kitchen swagger, and maybe a shred of enlightenment. Surprisingly, none stories given.
Maybe it's not that surprising. We're new to the blog game, and it isn't like there's an outrageous shortage of war stories out there. Maybe people have had enough of that dish.? Anyway, the blog goes on. We decided to recall our first Pig Roast, with Ed Marszewski (Maria's/Marz Brewing) and his Mash Tun crew.
When Ed asked us to roast a pig for him and like FIVE HUNDRED of his closest friends, we couldn't turn him down. He had a La Caja China for us to borrow, his event was in the loading dock of Bridgeport Arts Center, some of the best beer being brewed in our city was gonna be on draft... He even hired a stepping crew from a nearby high school, to help close out the night. We buckled up for a bizarre ride, and set course for our first Pig Roast.
After Amanda took a moment to digest the fact that we were gonna have a dead animal in our house for a couple days, we called Nate & Lou Ann Robinson (Jake's Country Meats) to request our pig. We ended up with a fantastic beast. The pig weighed roughly 100 pounds. It had a long, curly tail and big, floppy ears. It also had a body that we had no idea was going to arrive frozen. You ever try to defrost/brine a pig? In your house? In late Fall? When overnight temperatures are nearly freezing? In under 48 hours? It's an adventure.
On the day of Mash Tun Festival, Amanda packed our dead friend into the CR-V and took him on a fully heated tour of Bridgeport. She rushed him back as soon as his hams were soft enough to spread, and we rubbed him down with Salt/Pepper/Dark Brown Sugar. According to the instructions painted on the box, we popped him in with barely enough time to have him ready for the enormous crowd we were expecting.
We'll keep the rest of it short. The pig was an absolute hit. We cut, carved and sold the whole thing... in under 90 minutes. If we overlook the impatient asshole that was eating ribs off the end of our table, the roast was one for the ages. But what about everything that we did leading up to it? Was THAT a success, or did we honestly get by on good fortune & beginner's luck? We started having informal critiques after each roast. So far, the critiques have helped us make sure we aren't schlepping/thawing another pig on the day of an event.
Whenever we sit down for a shift beer and a work chat, we always talk about whether or not we had enough coal... if we prepared enough side dishes... or if we brought enough cutlery. We research more efficient coolers, and decide if shelling out some extra cash will save us money on ice/effort down the road. We continue to bring focus to these issues after every event, because we know that mastering these basics will keep us from getting caught with our pants down, and lead us to better barbecues.
So there it is... a short war story, with a lesson learned. Not sure how much of a "steamy vignette" it was, but we nailed "shred of enlightenment".