Friday, 27 May 2016

The Pig Dig

There was a series on last year called ‘Chef’s Table’, I’m sure some of you have been watching it but if you’ve not watched it - WATCH IT! As it happens tonight unveiled the second series which I’m very excited about and after reading this you should all be going home and watching avidly. The last series featured 6 inspirational chefs and their stories. They all inspired me in different ways but the one that left a lasting impression was the story of Francis Mallmann who [abbreviated bio] after much acclaim in Paris went back to his roots and started cooking in his own native way in Patagonia cooking outside by fire - he uses pits to cook animals overnight and throws breads directly on coals. Basically the most manly way of cooking humanly possible! This obviously made my ears perk up and my saliva glands work overtime and so I decided that I should try it out. Cooking how we used to cook food thousands of years ago is no easy feat.

One cold night last halloween we embarked on a pit roast of half a pig in a friends garden in Arsenal, London. The results were truely incredible, so much so that we’ve done it again since and plan to do a few more as events in and around London. If you fancy running an event with us I’d be very interested to hear from you but this post wasn’t about selling myself so I’ll stop there. The pork was the juiciest I have ever eaten (no moisture is lost whatsoever in the cooking process as the pork is starved of oxygen) and the combination we eventually came up with of pork, tarragon and blood orange in a toasted brioche bun is D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S!

So in a very abbreviated step by step here we go:

  • Get a pig / half a pig / piece of pig
  • Dig a pit 1 foot wider on all sides than your pig (or piece of pig) and about 5 foot deep. This is by far the worst bit about the entire cooking process as it’s back breaking work. Be sure to get a few of you ready to dig and have a digging party before the event.
  • Light a fire
  • Keep fire going until you have 3 feet of red hot embers (this will take at least a few hours)
  • Season your pig. We seasoned with salt, thyme, rosemary and garlic.
  • Wrap the pig in tin foil
  • Wrap this in hessian sacks
  • Wrap this in chicken wire
  • Throw on embers
  • Cover with a lid (we used a piece of corrugated iron)
  • Cover with soil to seal all air gaps
  • Leave for as long as you think it needs (we did half a pig for 18 hours and a large pork shoulder for 11 hours, both were delicious)
  • Eat with mates and lagers and music, in a ideal situation on a glorious summers day!

To serve -

Toast a brioche bun and then pile on the meat, extra salt and pepper if needed, a good amount of tarragon and a few blood orange segments. Heaven.

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