This past Saturday I attended a 30th birthday party for a good friend of mine. His wife helped arrange a fabulous party and terrific spread of food. But the highlight of the party was that my friend got to do something he has always wanted to do: roast a whole pig.
The 80-pound pig was placed in the smoker at 2 am on Saturday morning, in order to be ready to serve around 7:30 pm Saturday night. If you’ve never seen an entire pig being smoked, it really is quite a sight. In our fast food culture, Americans often are so disconnected from the food chain that we forget those burger patties, ribs and chicken wings we eat come from an actual whole, live animal. Working with an entire animal instead of just buying unidentifiable cuts of meat can help remind those of us as meat eater that we are still part of a larger food chain. While there is something a bit odd about eating an animal while the head sits on a cutting board a few feet away, it also makes you thankful for the bounty of animals the world has provided us with, and re-emphasizes the appeal of wasting not – using all parts of the animal and buying through local butchers.
My friend who was celebrating his birthday is originally from Virginia, about 3 hours outside DC. At the party someone made a light-hearted remark to me that is probably much closer to the truth than the usual whimsical stereotype: if you grew up in rural Virginia your whole life, you’re probably gonnaÂ have a friend with a smoker. Stereotypes be true in this case, and the whole mass of birthday party attendees benefited.
Thanks to Mason & Kara for a terrific spread of food (the pulled pork was nice and tender, the mac ‘n cheese was amazing!) and thanks to my friend Dave for the above photo he snapped while helped to cook the pig.