Sunday, July 14, 2013

How It All Went Down


The first annual Que and Brew got it's start a day ahead of time.  We started on Friday morning making three different sauces to go with our roasted pig; Kansas City style, East Carolina vinegar style, and mustard based.

Left to Right: East Carolina, Mustard, KC style.

Friday afternoon we picked up the pig from our local butcher.  Piggy was transferred to the tub for a quick rinse to remove some of the remaining blood.  Then the little pig was placed in a blue storage bin for brining.  I put the blue tub in the bath tub for insulation and in case of any leaking.

The brine was a basic concoction of water, salt and brown sugar.  I ended up making about 15 gallons. The rations used were: 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar per gallon of water.  I had to make it in two large and 1 small batches.

To keep the pig very cold I used about 80 pounds of ice in the brine.  Some of the ice was kept in the bags so as not to dilute the brine.  The end result was a plump and juicy pig.

Pig home and still wrapped.

Ready for a rinse.

Waiting for the brine

Things really got moving and cooking early Saturday.

Amie and I were up at the crack of "right after dawn".  Due to the rain all week we waited until the last minute to build the pit.  We'll do it a day or two ahead of time next year.  It took about an hour to build the pit using foil for the floor, 30 cinder blocks for the walls and some red bricks to fill gaps.  Amie made the roof of the cooker out of foil.

Pit with foil floor.

Pit under construction.

I lit the coals, 20 pounds spread into two piles at about 7:45 AM.  Our friend Justin came over around 8:15 to help us get the pig on the fire.  We washed the brine off the pig and laid it onto a metal mesh screen on a table then laced two 10 ft steel rebar posts through it to reinforce the screen and to serve as handles.

We lifted the pig onto the hot coals using the rebar posts and resting them onto the top layer of cinder blocks.  It was covered with the foil roof and then we walked away.  I loaded fresh coals into the pit through an opening in the one corner every 40 minutes or so.

The pig is cooking here for about 20 minutes. 

Foil on the top of the pit helped to keep the heat in.  The corner on the right side of the pit allowed us to easily add new coals when needed and allowed air to flow through the pit to feed the fires.

Five hours in and ready to be flipped.

The pig was flipped after 5 hours by placing another piece of wire screen over the pig and again reinforced using the rebar through the two screens.  It took Justin, Lou, and me using gloves and blinding sun speed to flip it over.

The belly side after 5 hours.

Once flipped, I fired up both piles of coals with another bag to get the skin nice and crispy.  I cooked it skin side down for about an hour, flipped it back over and then it finished it for about 30 minutes.

I sprayed a mixture of fresh OJ and apple cider vinegar over the pig throughout the day.

Taking the pig off the fire was easy.  We just lifted it and placed everything on three sheet trays. Getting it off the bottom screen was a pain in the butt.  We needed an engineer...and luckily one of our friends showed up at just the right time with his engineering degree!

Lou again lent a hand along with Alan and Casey and his engineering degree.  It was all done with gravity and a spade.  Watch the video to see how we ended up getting the pig ready for presentation.

Here is the cooked pig in all its glory with crispy skin and juicy meat.

Crispy and ready to be eaten.

Closeup of finished pig!

And then we ate!

Big thanks to Justin for helping with the pig, to Lou for help flipping and removing the pig from the fire, and to our in house engineer, Casey. And a thank you to Eileen for the video.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sauce Time

Time to make the sauces!

Starting with the mustard sauce.  Yellow mustard, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, butter, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, cayenne pepper.

Then on to the East Carolina Sauce with cider vinegar, molasses, dry mustard, and brown sugar.

And we finish up with KC Style sauces; tomato based with molasses and spices.

What's the difference between mustard sauce and East Carolina sauce?  In this case the mustard sauce is made with yellow mustard...a lot of it.  The East Carolina sauce has cider vinegar as its base and dry mustard is used to add a little head at the end.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Our menu for the day will include:

Smoked potato salad
Grilled corn on the cob
Grilled marinated veggies
Homemade KC style BBQ sauce
Homemade East Carolina mustard sauce

And of big and brined roasted pig!

Stay tuned for photos of the brining process and building of the BBQ pit.