On My Plate: At-Home Pig Roast

Hey all! Rachel here. If you've been reading this blog for a while or know me personally you know that I've been a vegetarian for about six years. I have a laundry list of reasons for that and some are unconventional. If you'd like to know more about it, let me know. That being said I am a huge believer in being open minded and welcoming everyone to the table. I'm so proud of what Becky brings to The Daily Wild. So without further ado, On My Plate: Pig Roast.

A couple of months ago The Hubs turned 30 years old. To celebrate we wanted to have all of our friends and family over for a backyard bbq – but what to make? At some point the idea to roast a whole pig came up, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Because we had no idea where to get a pig or how to roast a whole animal, I called up Kenrick’s , a local and awesome meat and butcher company in St. Louis. Seriously, they’re like a staple in this town. They do hog roasts daily all throughout the St. Louis area and they are the NICEST people you’ve ever met. Their catering is delicious, their store is unbelievable (can you say all the meat and cheese you could ever want?), and they are less than a mile from our house! The folks over at Kenrick’s hooked us UP. For a great price they ordered us a whole pig; large enough to feed our 80+ guests, rented us a pit, and taught us what to do so that we could roast the hog on our own.

Surprisingly, it is really REALLY easy to roast a pig. You just need the pit, enough charcoal (they tell you how much), lighter fluid, foil, and the pig. It’s one hour for every 10 lbs of hog plus one hour. So for our 80 lb pig it roasted 9 hours. We picked up the hog at 7am and had it on the pit by 8am. At 5pm when the party started, voila, dinnertime! It couldn’t have been easier. We didn’t have to season the pig, use a marinade, nothing at all. The smoke from the charcoal and pit do ALL the work for you. Honestly it was the biggest and yet easiest meal we’ve ever made. Here’s something to note, though: you do NOT open the lid of the pit (except about 5 hours in you lift the lid just to make sure it’s browning nicely and to check the temp quickly, and then you shut the lid again). Each time the pit is open a LOT of heat will escape and it’ll slow down the cooking time…so as bad as people want to lift the lid and peek inside, no no. Save it for the big reveal!

And talk about entertainment! When it was time to open up the pit and slice the hog, everyone watched. One of the men at Kenrick’s had told me that some people get a little uneasy when they see a whole animal on a pit – and I totally get that. So, he said, “Put a little cape or a hat on it. For some reason that seems to make people laugh.” So I did just that! I found a tiny fiesta hat from our Cinco de Mayo housewarming party and put it on the hog’s head. It definitely gave people a laugh!

I have to say, roasted hog on a pit is the BEST tasting pork I have ever eaten. It smelled absolutely stunning. Guests said they could smell the hog as they were walking up to our house and their mouths watered. And you want to talk about plenty of food to go around? In addition to feeding everyone who came to the party (minus a few vegetarians), the hog provided enough meat to feed The Hubs and me for several more meals, and BOTH of our families several times over. Talk about sharing the wealth! And we used every bit of that hog, minus the bones. So not an ounce of it went to waste, which made The Hubs and me really happy – the last thing we like to see is something wasted, especially when it’s food. My aunt even fried up the skin to make cracklins! I am all about eating animals, but I think there is a respect factor that needs to be in the equation. Clean and humane killing (yes, there is such a thing), giving respect to the animal that gave its life for your meal (yes, I did thank this hog for giving its life, even if that sounds weird), and using every bit of it that you can are all ways to honor the animal.

The hog really made the party even more fun than it already was; it was definitely the center of attention. Several folks brought side dishes, which was super nice of everyone. We had lots of good, amazing food and an awesome time with our friends and family. Mark was excited to celebrate his 30th birthday this way – at home, surrounded by everyone we love, with the best tasting hog ever. Oh, and the Woodchuck Pear Cider keg didn’t hurt, either.

Food: A few blogs ago I mentioned how Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had implemented a new initiative called 100 Missouri Miles. Since the program’s conception, hundreds of Missourians have taken the Governor’s challenge to get up and out and get moving! Personally I’m inching close to 400 miles since June 4!  In addition to people really getting involved, the minds behind this great initiative have done really well with communicating to folks why it’s so important to live a healthy lifestyle. Considering Missouri has constantly been listed as one of the most obese states in the country I am VERY happy to see this program, and I sure hope the Governor continues to facilitate this great idea. Now recently, they sent out a really helpful PDF about nutrition. As they say in their information, “Your body needs the right kind of fuel to perform at its best capability.  Whether you are hiking, biking, rolling or paddling this fall, you need important nutrients before, during and after your outdoor adventure.” The PDF teaches you how to combine foods 30-90 minutes before activity to keep energy levels up and hunger minimized, how to pack for a day of activity outdoors with nutritious foods that won’t spoil, how to replace nutrients lost during activity, and much more. So click on the PDF and check it out!

Homestead: Apples. Apples. Apples. On Sunday my family and I went to Eckerts and brought home 27 lbs of apples! At a specialty price of just $.89 to pick-your-own, I would have been crazy to leave there with anything less. Sadly we do not have an apple tree – YET – but it’s on our list of fruit trees to purchase! So at Eckert’s we picked Jonathan and Golden Delicious varieties. We could have picked Red Delicious, as well, but I’m not a huge fan of that variety. Already I have made apple bread, sweet potato & apple casserole, dehydrated apple chips and bits, and eaten I don’t know how many – and there are still so many pounds left! We’re going to make some big batches of applesauce in our pressure cooker and freeze some for later. We’ll likely dehydrate a LOT more to have on hand for later, too. Oh, I’m also going to try a homemade Larabar recipe, as well. Stay tuned!

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