Recently I've been drafted/volunteered to cook a whole pig for a bbq celebration. I have never cooked an animal this large and I'm finding it a bit intimidating. I am doing a ton of research and have come upon a way to cook it with which I feel comfortable. It's based on the La Caja China box I saw on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Due to money constraints I'm building it myself from concrete blocks and some scrap metal. The event is still a few weeks away and Im hoping to have it finished this weekend so I can try to cook a chicken in it. Sometimes I wonder why/how I got myself into this.
Recently I have been watching the Next Food Network Star, (a trashy guilty pleasure I admit) and this question or phrase gets bandied about often. What is your culinary point of view? Uh, I don't know. I just like to cook. After thinking about it for a few weeks I have actually found that I have one. I like it low and slow. I am a braise waiting to happen. I love real BBQ. I look forward to spending the day tending a Ragu. Most of my colleagues and friends want fast and simple and don't care where it came from. That's fine, I am in no way a fanatic. It's just what I enjoy. I like going to the market and being picky about which chicken, steak, chuck roast or boston butt I decide to spend my afternoon with. I like cruising the veggie aisles and squeezing this and that. I like reading the ingredients on a bottle of BBQ sauce before I invite it to go home with me.
If I were to blog or write it would be to encourage people to try and do at least one meal a month from scratch. What cooking from scratch has done to me is make me more curious about where my food comes from and what's in it. I like it local, natural and organic, but again not fanatical. I'm munching on some Fritos as I write this. This cooking from scratch thing is in large part what is behind the pig adventure. It's a natural progression or perhaps an escalating addiction. Which I'm not sure. I've seen some photos of whole cooked pigs, head on and eyes glazed over staring back at you. It's a bit arresting. My only contact with pigs is in a distant field or shrink wrapped in the meat dept. I hope having close contact with this animal will make me less squeamish, more appreciative and knowledgeable about what goes into or rather comes out of a whole pig.
If it all goes well I may decide to raise a pig of my own and perhaps be involved in the butchery. We shall see.