For me, food and wine is a true sensory experience. My husband & I love to cook for our friends and we are always testing out new recipes on them. With the addition of wine, food can take on a whole new dimension. I have immersed myself, as much as my day job allows, into wine. Specifically wine from the Pacific Northwest.

As a Washington State native, I grew up with the fresh seafood and produce native to the area. I look forward to local strawberries in the spring & sweet corn in late summer. As well as fresh caught Dungeness Crab out of Puget Sound and the flavorful beef produced by local farmers. The Northwest offers an abundance of wonderful ingredients to work with.

This site is dedicated to the Food & Wine of the Pacific Northwest. Please join me as I explore all it has to offer!

September 25, 2009

Hogfest 2009!

First off - a little history, in 2007 we had a pig roast on Labor Day weekend. My husband had seen a La Caja China used by Bobby Flay on his show and was enthralled. So 2 weeks prior he ordered a 75 lb pig from our local butcher and rented a La Caja China for the weekend. It was at this party that my husband and his pals started scheming. “I can weld and I could totally build that.” So it began…..
Fast forward 2 years. The homemade pig cooker is finished, tested and Hogfest ready!

Part of living in the Pacific Northwest means dealing with inclement weather. So we didn’t let the ominous forecast dampen our plans for Hogfest 2009! Donning the canopies and tarps we readied the driveway and prepped the garage to shelter the 50 people coming to nosh on some pork.

At 8:00 am the morning of the party we loaded our 84 lb, butterflied, dry rubbed hog into the cooker so she could come up to room temp. At 12:30 hubby lighted the briquettes. Partygoers started arriving at 4:00. We knew it was going to be successful when the guests were commenting on how they could smell bacon as they drove down the driveway. Score! That’s what we want!

The goal was to serve the pig at 5:00. However, at 5:00 and with an internal temp of 160 degrees, the guys flipped the hog so that the skin Scoring the skin could crisp up which would take another 45 min. No big deal, we had plenty of snacks including barbequed oysters cooked on a custom rack built over the coals on the pig cooker. Once the hog was flipped, the skin was scored to aid in crispiness.

No true barbeque would be complete without BBQ sauce. We supplied our guests with 2 homemade sauces. One was a nice tangy balsamic BBQ and the other was a spicy sweet Caribbean sauce with “sneak up on you heat”.

While waiting for the pig to finish cooking, I popped corks on a variety of WA wines including:

Mmmm pork rindsNow the moment had arrived that we were waiting for. Carefully the top rack and the briquette tray were removed. At this point the cooker is cooking, literally it is smoking hot. What is revealed is a beautiful thing. The skin has crisped up perfectly. It smells heavenly.

Hogfest 2009 was a resounding success! We hope to make good frequent use of our new cooker. Next we are thinking . . prime rib!

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