116: Burning Pig Festival

Saturday, August 20, after some test runs, we hosted the first annual Burning Pig Festival at Coldholler.  It was epic.  Over 115 folk came, including a small army of kids under 8-years-old.  Between the log cabin and the treehouse, and the rockclimbing wall, and the campfire, the kids were all occupied.

My oldest friend, Taylor Watts, left his horse farm and carriage tour company in and near Savannah, GA to help me do the cook.  We were supposed to start around 2am or a bit later, after sleeping from 9pm.  Pig Pickins don't always work out exactly as planned though -- his transmission died in Hendersonville, about 90 minutes away.  So instead of resting, I drove to get him, and his 7 year old son, Connor.  We got back around 11pm, only to learn that our pig weighed more than anticipated -- 140 pounds!  We backed up our time and put him on at midnight.  No rest for the wicked!

The cook was uneventful.  I had a small flare-up about 4:30am and put it out with water.  Kept the cooker between 225d and 240d until 2:30pm.  As we sauced the pulled meat, we had a second, major flareup that burned underneath the pig, on the skin.  It was serious, and hard to extinguish.  We figured out how though -- using welding gloves, we lifted the grate and pig off the grill and set it on a wooden table, snuffing the flame.  Now I know to have a wet towel to spread on the table, and an extra set of hands -- works perfectly and immediately.

The meat was absolutely sublime.  The shoulders and butts pulled into soft, juicy chunks and strands.  The cheeks were like cotton candy.  Taylor's family recipe for vinegar and mustard-based sauce is the best anywhere and brought our Lowcountry South Carolina heaven up here to us in the mountains.

The pictures tell most of the rest of the story.  Enjoy!

Daryll Talley, proud poppa (he and his wife Tamarra raised our pig!) checking to see if we did it justice!

Marshmallow madness.  Angus: "another moshmow, mommy!"
Mo moshmows!
Want some tongue?
"Here's to us!"  "who's like us?"  "Damn few!"  "and they're dead!"
We totally got a smoke ring.  It was yummy.  Got some pictures before we sauced it up...
Perfect meat.  The butts were almost 200 degrees, soft, and juicy.
Taylor Watts, of Savannah, GA.  If you're ever there, take a tour with his Plantation Carriage Company and get a great BBQ recommendation from the driver.
Taylor's sauce beats all challengers, in my humble opinion.  I do have a weak spot for mustard and vinegar...
Angus wants some too!
Flare up!

Nice ears!
Our staff (Abel and Connor) already in their uniform shirts...

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I use this blog to chronicle certain aspects of my life near the Smokies. I'm building a cabin. I kayak. Sometimes I bike.