Monday, March 27, 2006

The Art of Barbeque

I was searching my recipes this morning, looking for my favorite barbeque sauce. In my humble opinion, a really great sauce has neither tomatoes or ketchup in it. Alas, I oculdn't find it, and was searching the web for a good molasses/vinegar sauce when I found this from the North Carolina Barbeque Primer:

The hog roast, or "pig pickin'", is perhaps the heart of North Carolina culinary culture. The process begins in the wee hours of the morning, when one or two stalwart souls (usually men – for no particularly good reason pig roasting is an art dominated by men) dress the hog carcass and light the fires. For the last hundred years pigs have been roasted over wood and charcoal fires, but for the last two decades more and more barbecuers have switched to cleaner burning propane flames, which some argue deprive the pork of its traditional smoky flavor. For either method the roasting is almost always done in a "pig cooker", a fuel oil drum which has been sawed in half, welded to an axel and a trailer hitch, and otherwise altered for the purpose. These cookers can get quite elaborate, and almost as much breath is wasted on the merits of particular designs as on the proper way to roast and season the hog. The hog is laid upon the grill over the flame, doused with sauce, the lid is closed, and at that point invariably someone breaks out a bottle.
For the remainder of the day the roasting team stands around the big black steel tank and "watches the pig" – though little actual watching goes on. Every hour on the hour the lid is raised and the carcass is again liberally doused with sauce, inspected for progress, and then closed up again. The men spend the time between inspections chatting about the news of the day, the weather, sports, politics, and all other subjects that arise from the confluence of roast pork and hard liquor.

I couldn't have said it better!


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