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Entries in Pig Pickin' (2)

Monday
Nov122012

Crispy Pig Skin

I'm not talking about the pig skins that you can pick up at any gas station south of the mason-dixon line.  I'm talking about pulling the skin off of a pig that has been pit-cooked long and slow and basted with my mommy's BBQ sauce.  The skin is crispy - so crispy, that it's almost fragile.  I usually burn my fingers as I'm trying to find a piece loose enough to pull away from the pig.  I score big-time when the piece I pull still has an oh-so-thin layer of juicy fat attached to the underside. Oh my gosh!!  My mouth waters just thinking of it!  Biting into the skin with your top teeth makes the skin crackle and crumble and then you sink your teeth into the glossy smooth layer of the juicy fat.  I cannot even begin to describe the delightful taste.  I can only tell you to seek out a pig pickin' in the Southern territory - these people know how to cook a pig!

This past Saturday night my parents hosted an intimate little hoe-down in the field behind the house.  We sat outside all day, tending the fire, ensuring that the pig had an even heat.  My mom made her infamous BBQ slaw (it's RED people) and her spicy Lexington-style BBQ sauce (the BBQ sauce is so good that MB and I stand around a jar and drink it straight from the jar!).  As I mentioned, this was a small affair.  It was a spur-of-the-moment cookout since we are having 70 degree weather in mid-November (yes please!!)!  No band...no huge tables laden with food.  Instead, it was a couple of tables haphazardly set up, mason jars filled with roses by my sister (the artistic one), fire pits for warmth and smores after the sun went down, and people pulling their own pig. 

I think we all agreed - this was the best pig-pickin' we've hosted:  my mommy didn't freak out because something wasn't perfect, no band to set up, no huge platters of food because some of those invited did not RSVP, thus, leaving us with loads of extra food (this is my pet peeve).  Well.... not really.   I think my number one pet peeve has always been that my parents work so hard to create a great atmosphere and pig pickin' and then people show up with a dessert that they purchased from the local grocery store or Walmart!  Seriously people - would it kill you to take the time to personally make a dessert??? Little secret - no one eats these desserts because everyone eats the HOMEMADE dessert and then the person that brought the nasty dessert doesn't even take it home so it winds up in the trash! The person that brought the dessert could have at least eaten it or taken it home!  Seriously!!!  But none of that this year, no issues were had this Saturday night - we had a fantastic time!  No one rushed away and we had great story tellings around the fire....not to mention the s'mores!

The burn barrel used for making coals to cook the pig

The pig being bastedThe fire pit for making s'mores!

Monday
Oct112010

A Southern Tradition

This past weekend, my parents took part in a Southern tradition.  Actually, it has become an annual Hunt family tradition.  My parents throw a pig pickin', where many family and friends join in the celebration of the pig and eat some really good barbeque.  

Now, I have friends and co-workers from the northern states.  Often times, I hear them using 'certain' words in an incorrect form - especially, now that they live in the southern states. ;)  I feign mock horror as one such co-worker often comes into work on Monday mornings discussing how he barbequed over the weekend.  Friends...a little lesson in Southern culture.  In North Carolina, barbeque is a noun - pork, to be specific, that has been pit cooked, long and slow, most likely over hickory wood.  Grilling (a verb) is the use of a gas or charcoal grill apparatus that my co-worker is using to grill his steaks, hamburgers, and chicken.  Barbeque is also known as Bar-B-Q, BBQ, or Bar-B-Que.  Now that we have that straight, let's talk about the pig pickin' (an event)!

We picked up the 130ish lb. pig (dressed and split in half) on Friday afternoon.  My daddy and my brother-in-law cover the pig in ice so that all is well until it gets pit cooked.  In fact, the pig was so large, that it would barely fit into the long plastic barrel my parents have for such events.  My brother-in-law (Nat) had to get on top of the lid and shove the pig hooves down as he pried the lid over the pig.  Bungie cords did the final trick.  But it was sight to see! Daddy and Nat got up pretty early on Saturday morning, slung the pig over their shoulders, and headed out back to put it on the pit.  They spent Saturday watching the temperature of the pit and burning logs to keep a steady supply of hot coals.  My sister, mommy, and I poured a bunch of spices and herbs together to create a rub which was rubbed into both sides of the pig. My mommy also made the famous Lexington-style BBQ sauce that would be poured over the meat.  After 7 hours of stoking the fires, we had BBQ!! Daddy and Nat worked on pulling the meat from the bone.  Nat, man-handling the cleaver, turned the meat into course-chopped BBQ, which he then poured the BBQ sauce over.  O.M.G.  there is nothing like it!  Several people commented that this was the most flavorful yet - that it was the best they had eaten.  Now, let me tell you!  This is high praise for my daddy and Nat!! as Lexington is known as the BBQ Capital of the World!  

Several of us stood around the pig as Nat and daddy were pulling meat from the bones.  We had one thing in mind - pig skin.  Get your mind out of the gutter - this is not the air-fluffed stuff called pig skin that you can pick up in any convenience store across the South.  This is real deal.  The skin side that has been against the pit grate all day was dark and thin and crisp.  Underneath was a thin layer of fat, which was almost to the point of dissolving.  So when you take a bite, your teeth first feel the crisp of the thin layer and then the velvety smoothness of the fat.  And the juiciness dribbles down your chin...Heaven from a pig pit!!  (I beg you, if you ever have the chance to be where a pig is being cooked, you must try fresh pig skin)

The Quarter Turn band played cover tunes while the old folks sat around and talked about life and such.  The younger crowd milled around the back, played football (along with the two Goldens, Tuck and Hattie), and sat around the fire pits as dusk turned to darkness.  One walking by could overhear talk of the football games (TN lost to LSU, NCState won), children, some girl that my brother-in-law is casually seeing, MB complaining about being tackled and doing a mid-air flip after Tuck or Hattie knocked his legs out from under him, and more talk of how good the food and the band was.  My little niece, Adah, really liked the band.  When she wasn't sticking her hands in the tin tubs holding cold soft drinks to find ice to eat, she could be found dancing in front of the band.  She's too much!

 

P.S.  Saturday, October 23rd, is the Barbeque Festival in downtown Lexington, NC.  Several hundred thousand people will visit my small hometown and will bite into a succulent BBQ sandwich (my mouth is drooling just thinking about it!)  Come visit!  It is something to see and loads of fun

BBQ Festival Website

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