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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Weekend Pig Roast

Pig roasts are always fun events! Two years ago we held a pig roast that was a huge success.  We were planning on holding another pig roast this year but so far have been unable to find a roaster for rent. At one time the local abattoirs and a few local farmers had the roasters that they would rent out but no longer. A relative and I were chit chatting about not being able to find a roaster. They were hosting their annual fireworks event on the 11th. It always falls in July as close as possible to Canada Day. The number in attendance reaches around 150. This wonderful day long event is held on their picturesque, farmland property in southern Ontario. Local foods and entertainment are always a feature which is something I really appreciate. After dark everyone settles in for a gorgeous fireworks show that would out do many communities! Some of the fireworks are originals made specifically for the occasion. It is just a lovely event with a good time had by all!

She also wanted a pig roast for this event to compliment the hot dogs and hamburgs being grilled but was having no luck finding a roaster. She had found a place in Ahmerstberg, Ontario that seasons and roasts the pig. Then then gut it, remove the bones and stuff the meat back into the skin. Well sounded a bit intriguing to me so I couldn't wait to see what the pig looked like done this way. More importantly I couldn't wait to taste the meat!

pig roastRoasted Pig

The roasted pig was nicely presented on a bed of lettuce and garnished with the traditional apple in the mouth and orange slices. The meat had been de-boned then stuffed back into the skin to give the appearance of a whole pig. The meat was then easily sliced as desired with an electric knife.

As interesting as this solution is, buying a roasted pig this way presents a couple of problems. It removes the day long work of tending the roasting pig and it eliminates having to pick-up and return the roaster. However, buying the pig already roasted was considerably more expensive coming it at $5 per pound plus the cost of gas to pick it up. In comparison we paid $100 for the 117 lb pig for our pig roast, $80 for the roaster and about $150 in additional foods for a total of $330 serving about 70. The pig pictured was similar in size at a cost about $585 already roasted. Additional foods would have driven the cost per plate considerably higher. They would have had to drive a good 90 minutes each way. Taking a good 3 hours out of the prep time on the day of this type of event just to pick up the pig would have been rather inconvenient. It definitely would not work for us as we would have to drive even further. The second problem is transportation itself. The pig would have to be kept in the safety temperature zone during transportation and until serving. With this in mind, a roasted pig purchased this way can still be a good solution in a pinch.

baked beansBaked Beans & Sides

The sides consisted of several homemade dishes including baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, fresh fruits and various desserts. Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs were available for those not wanting pork. One way to keep costs down a bit is to have people bring a side, salad or buns. Even if you ask people to bring nothing more than whatever they are drinking they will invariably bring something else. If someone asks what can they bring be specific. The real problem with this method is even if you delegate you will end up with too much of one dish and not enough of another because that is human nature. So you really do need to with the flow and be prepared with back-up dishes just in case.

The sides and additional food was presented linear spread in a covered outdoor location. This controlled any outdoor food problems such as dust and insects. The host kept things simple by serving in the baking pans and plastic bowls. What I found interesting was behind some of the sides like the coleslaw was a plastic zipper style bag filled with more for easy refilling as required. While this does work, I wouldn't recommend it simply because the food in the bags may spend time outside the proper safety temperatures that could cause later tummy upsets or worse.

roasted pig dinnerRoasted Pig Dinner

Pictured is my plate of food consisting of pork with barbeque sauce, potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans. The meat was nicely roasted, moist and tender. The sides did not disappoint either. That golden brown to the upper right of the meat is roasted pork skin. Roasted pork skin is a true delight! It is chewy yet crispy with a thin layer of fat on the inside. It is packed full of flavour! I don't to enjoy roasted pork skin very often even though I love it. The closest I get is the occasional cracklings which is pan fried pig skin from our bulk pig purchase and that I don't get that very often either. It likely isn't the healthiest thing to eat but oh my gosh it is just so good! I tucked a small container of it into our cooler to enjoy the next day.

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