There were moments leading up to this year’s Pig Roast when I feared we were ignoring obvious signs from the universe to give it up: the exorbitant pig price thanks to last year’s pork plague, the weeks of relentless thunderstorms forecast to continue through the holiday weekend, the 200-mile drive with the one infant in the world who won’t sleep in the car.
Thank goodness I kept my doubts to myself, because this year’s roast was fabulous. Preceded by Cameron and Sous by a couple of days, Bryan and I drove up with my mom and Annie on Friday. She didn’t sleep much but chilled out peacefully in her carseat. Everyone had lunch at, appropriately, a Dairy Queen, and we made it to the ranch with hours to spare before the first tasty meal of the weekend: french dip sandwiches made with smoked prime rib, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Between the caloric demands of milk production and the possibility of a sleeping baby waking at any moment, I inhale all my meals these days, but I very much enjoyed my 3 minutes with this one.
Annie had great naps all weekend, and we had many wonderful family helpers, freeing both of us up for a lot more ranch fun than we expected. Saturday’s big events included pig-pit building, for which Bryan had able assistance from friend Chris and thoughtful oversight from Dad/Marc, and The Softball Game, which shows signs of becoming an essential part of our newly-minted Memorial Day tradition. A parade of Pous and neighbors also came by to admire Annie, and I had the proud-parent pleasure of watching her charm them with her fleeting smiles and earnest coos.
Pig prep commenced in the late afternoon with pleura-removal, and Kaci earned her Pig Roast merit badge by boldly excavating the eyeballs. Sous monitored the situation closely—after the roast Bryan would find her with the entire pig skin halfway down her throat—and flopped around the perimeter in her increasingly-dirty e-collar. Heavy rain did not dampen our enjoyment of dominoes, CalvinPong, or karaoke on the barn stage. It did unfortunately dampen our tent-dwellers, but what can you do?
Team Pig assembled at 8:30 the next morning for fire-starting, ingeniously using a leaf blower to help ignite the coals (they only set a small patch of lawn on fire, hardly the worst indignity suffered by the grass this weekend). While Bryan parented, Ali earned the Fire Captain title due to his diligent attention to pit temperature, facilitated by this year’s technological improvement: the Tappecue, which measured the temperature in both pig and pit and broadcast them to the cooks via smartphone app, complete with data visualization and alarms for out-of-range temps. When the skies cleared in the early afternoon, Lisa, Kaci and I hitched a ride on Claude’s boat for a lake tour while the boys monitored, variously, the pig’s temperature and the piglet’s nap.
The pig was unveiled at dinnertime, and lo, it was good. Team Pig dished up the food; I jiggled the baby; the multitudes feasted under sunny-ish skies. We’re already looking forward to next year.