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After the multi-week below freezing period last month, we have been rewarded with several days in a row of high 50°s - low 60°sF temperatures. I waited a week for yesterday's unseasonably warm weather to unwrap the wood oven to make pizza.


A couple of 14" New York style pizzas, one artichoke, mushroom, and goat cheese; the other pepperoni, mushroom, and black olive. 


Today's job is to clean and re-cover the oven and store the associated paraphernalia for a few more weeks until Spring. Oh well, the pizze were good!

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I had a severe craving for a nice sandwich yesterday. The scratch that cured the itch... roast beast, turkey, hard salami, swiss cheese, onions, tomatoes, olive tapenade, oil and vinegar, on pumpernickel. A nice cucumber tomato salad on the side.


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I'm hoping to rotisserie roast a whole hog for a family gathering this summer, but since I'd never done one I decided to do a practice pig. I ordered a 70 to 80 lb one from a local meat shop last week with the plan to pick it up Wednesday afternoon, dry brine it overnight, and have it roasting by 10 am yesterday (Thursday).

My brother and I went to pick it up and things went a bit awry: not only was the pig 93 lbs - it was also frozen solid. Evidently, the supplier didn't have any pigs ready to slaughter in the sight range I'd requested, so they sent the closest thing they had. The front legs were frozen straight out by the head and the hind legs were straight out from the back of the pig so it didn't fit in any of the coolers we had available so we loaded it in the back of my pickup truck and carried it home.

It was wrapped up tight in plastic; when we got it home, we suck it in a couple of industrial garbage bags (one over the front end and the other over the back end tapped the open ends of the bags together with duct tape, and lugged it upstairs and dumped it in the bathtub on top of a tarp, then filled the tub with cold water.

My brother got to my house before 8 am Thursday morning and the pig was thawed so we lugged it back downstairs and opened up the plastic to discover that the pig has been butterflied - very good if you're wanting to smoke it in a smoker or open pit, but not for spit roasting. The spine had even been split open on the inside so it would lay nice and flat. We cleaned it up and washed it, then seasoned the inside and got it on the spit the best we could, tying it on with heavy twine. Neither of us is good with knots so we tied a lot. Got the motor mounted on the spit and the spit on the tripods. It was very damp here so I started two chimneys of lump charcoal to establish a good bed of coals while my brother applied soy sauce to the pig's skin. When the charcoal was burning good, I dumped it in the fire pit, added hickory, and we started up the rotisserie at around 9:15 am (about the same time a couple of cousins showed up to help).

Most of the pig was done by 4:45 pm or so, so we stopped the rotisserie and focused on getting heat on the areas that weren't quite to temperature. We took it away from the fire about 5:15 pm and let the pig rest while I hunted for a 10 mm wrench to remove the spine clamp; the wrench had evidently wandered off on is own adventure after I'd used it that morning.

Due to the pig being butterflied, it flopped around a lot and because of that and shrinkage, we had to stop and add additional twine to secure the pig to the spit. Also, with the legs tied up stretched out in front and behind the pig, the pig was wider than the firepit so the legs didn't cook very well. We also burned a few patches of skin. 

I had invited friends and family to come by and get pork to go; the general consensus was that it was very tasty except for the burnt patches of skin and the undercooked legs. I fire up the big grill to finish up the legs after most everyone has left.

So, the verdict: I think things went pretty well considering it was my first attempt; I certainly learned a lot. A lot of the issues we encountered were due to the pig being frozen and butterflied; I have some ideas for handling those issues if they reoccur. I think we can handle the undercooked legs by bringing the hind legs up under the pig to shorten up the total length instead of leaving them stretched out behind.

Oh - we also had a major grease fire when the oil in the propane deep fryer my brother was using to fry french fries at lunch caught fire, but that's another story. We also had a few rain events and some pretty strong wind gusts, plus a tornado warning after the cook was done.








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