Pig Roast 1 (2010): Fade to Black
Pig’s Name: Terrence
BBQ Sauce: Mustard
Beer: Lake Erie Monster
The chemical holdings of a 50 gallon drum are best kept a secret when transforming the steel container into a grill/smoker. I will advocate using something that was either water based or that can be burned off (entirely). Either way Old Bessie was a great way to cook an entire pig.
At the ripe age of 24 my mindset was still collegiate at best. Highest percentage of alcohol in the beer at the lowest cost (go big or go home right?). At this stage in life you can make a party out of pretty much any space. Parking space in the back of a split duplex, no problem. I mean I just MacGyvered a 50 gallon antifreeze drum to cook a pig in (whoops, secrets out), at this point who’s gonna complain about a fifteen by ten foot space surrounded in poison oak?
For some the pig roast can be too much. Wood cooked whole animal, morning drinking turned to day drinking, turned into night drinking. Pacing is everything. An old friend who was a cross country All-American found this out the hard way when he assed out on the floor of our front porch. Seeing him in the morning, cuddled up on the lead paint, I could tell we had accomplished what we had set out to do, which was have a great party.
This would be a pattern continuing for years to come.
Pig Roast 2 (2011): Back in Black
Pig’s Name: Larry
BBQ Sauce: Memphis
Beer: Bud Light / Bud Light Lime
Yeah, she’s rusty, but she’s still good. Old Bessie had a few rainy days due in part to the move over the last year, but she’s still solid. Larry enters the homemade oven as dawn breaks and the drinks begin to flow. Now, just because the beer is light, it mean it doesn’t have an effect. I sometimes think light beer gets people in trouble, because they think they can get away with having more, all the while the liver screams out in pain.
Life is moving along and we are progressing into adulthood. But college still in my system and a few of those old friends show up. Much like old times, messes are created and somebody’s gotta pass out.
When Larry’s pulled off the grill, crispy smoked skin and all, hordes of drunken people attack him. It’s a full on horror show and people are carrying around entire legs, sections of ribs and the face is being pulled apart. The brain tastes like nacho cheese. The eyeballs are being offered up and someone even ate the snout. I will not name names. You know who you are.
At the end of the night one of those old college friends is asleep in the ditch in the front yard. I walk in on baby making in Lindsay’s office, stumble back down the hall, and I drift comfortably off to sleep, covered in pork juice and dirt. Sophisticated folk may call this kind of debauchery a disaster. But for me it’s just another great party, enabling people to blow off the steam of life. Oh, did I mention this was a rental property?
Note to casual observers about the morning after said party, never mix Bud light, pork, and chain restaurant pancakes. You can do the math from there.
Pig Roast 3 (2012): Pitching a Tent
Pig’s Name: Aloysius (Al)
BBQ Sauce: Texas
Beer: Mixed Cases
This was the year of the infamous tent. God, I hated that thing. My parents would use it to set up for flea markets when I was a kid. And guess who had to help them piece the thing together? When you garbage pick a tent, you can assume it’s not going to work out the way you anticipate. I cannot get back those hours and hours and hours of trying to fit bent poles into missing corner pieces that had to be jimmy-rigged with weights because a stiff breeze would topple the entire thing.
Lindsay didn't want to listen to me, so I left the set up to her and her friends. She would soon learn the horrors that were the tent from hell.
This is the the first year we had cross country guests. Introducing the Pig Roast to our Californian friends was a pleasure. I wasn't sure how they’d take the hill-billy-esque behavior, but they were down for every last activity. The pong contest, won by local friends over myself and a college roommate, is still in question and is a sore subject to this day.
Either way Aloysius or Al, as I liked to call him, was cooked underground using the discovered foundation of an old summer kitchen I dug up in the backyard of the barn style house we were renting.
I guess when a guest doesn’t have a knife, (which when the pig roast is involved is a safety concern) watermelon incidents happen. Why not smash it open if you can’t cut it. Did I mention this is a rental property?
When waking up the next day and seeing people strewn across the lawn in tents they didn’t have the patience to set up, I could only imagine what the neighbors were saying.
After a four year hiatus, (which included purchasing a home) change had worked its way into our lives. But not enough not to have a good time with great friends and family...
Pig Roast 4 (2017): The Awakening
Pig’s Name: Captain Andrew Gustofson
BBQ Sauce: Mustard
Beer: Coors Original, Yeungling Lager
After purchasing our new house in late 2016 and having a tree hit our car, I made it my personal mission to remove as many of the impending possible house crushing beasts as possible. Our house is surrounded by a national park - thus all the trees. As a part of the deal to sell these behemoths and protect the house, I was left to clean up the “tops.” Doing the deal, you say sure, no problem thinking you’re gonna be getting rid of some branches and some brush. Wrong!
Yeah, that’s not how it worked out. The “tops” were as big as some of the other trees on property and so I had three weeks of clean up in front of me. Yes, that sucked. But, I was able to salvage some wood and make a sweet above ground smoker out of it that resembled a Lincoln Log fort. It was there Captain Gustofson was smoked all day slathered in a mustard/vinegar based sauce.
The hiatus created a lull in the raucous behaviors. This combined with children brought a calmness, all be it still somewhat inebriated, to the party (okay we owned this house, so that may’ve played a role too). It was less destructive and the only people to pass out before dark were children. After a long break, it felt good to return to our roots. Though exhausting chasing around a toddler, the smile on his face when he played with friends and cousins and saw the pig made it all worth it. We had grown up (some) and were glad once again to host and bring together the people we love.
Oh and always go Banquet Beer when given the chance to put on a big party. Yeah it’s not craft, but it’s made for banquets, I mean how can you lose?
- Frank (the pig slayer)