We pigged out.
I mean it. We bought a 23 pound pig from an amazing butcher called Harlem Shambles and slow roasted it whole on the grill. It was an exercise in bravery as well as grilling and all of the credit goes to my husband, who has wanted to do this forever. As an aside, Harlem Shambles gets some of their meat from Kinderhook Farm, in upstate NY, where my family has enjoyed wonderful farmstay vacations and eaten some of the best eggs I've ever tasted.
Back to the pig.
So we get this thing home and my husband starts prepping it for the grill. I figured we'd just put salt and pepper on it and call it a day. But he had a whole plan that involved stuffing the cavity and tying it up, and he's the Grill Master, so here's what went down:
He stuffed the cavity with fresh parsley, rosemary, garlic, lemon and onion and seasoned the whole thing with salt and pepper. The prep work was no small feat... it took over 45 minutes, involved some minor cuts from super sharp knives and there were at least two discussions about not having an apple for the traditional "apple in the mouth" photo. And then, voila!
After figuring out how to put it on the grill, he set it to 225 degrees fahrenheit and slow cooked it for about 4 hours. Here's how it looked about halfway through:
The cooking twine was a bit of a mess and didn't hold together as expected, but c'est la vie. Meanwhile, the kids were both fascinated and disgusted. When the cooking process was done, here's what he brought into the kitchen:
Delicious feast! My family and our guests descended on this thing like characters from Lord of the Flies. All of the kids had a taste of the tongue and loved it. Loved it! They also bravely tasted the ears and the cheek (which was particularly succulent and flavorful). My 5 year old announced that he wanted to "open it up and taste the brain" but that didn't happen (thankfully. That concept made me pretty squeamish). Two people tried the eye, which I have to admit, also made me a little disgusted. Only my two year old (and all of the adults) tried the snout. The rest of the kids backed off of that one. Not surprisingly, a 23 pound pig can feed way more than 8 people, and even after sending our guests home with doggy bags (piggy bags?), we're still knee deep in Big Pig leftovers.
Two of my kids wanted it for camp lunch Monday and I used it for dinner to make noodles with pork and broccoli. We might be on pig hiatus for a while, but it was well worth it.
I'll use the bones to make and freeze a stock and look forward to creating some tasty soups when the weather gets cooler. Recipes and suggestions are always welcomed!