North Carolina People, Places, and Things-April 24
I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.
In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.
I am always looking for opportunities to do something new socially with my friends and family. On Saturday night we did just that by hosting an event at our home that we dubbed “Beer Snob Pig Picking”. After drinking one unique beer each day on each day of 2014 I evolved into a beer snob. I have met others inflicted with the same issue.
I knew that a having a “Pig Picking ” was steeped into North Carolina culture but I didn’t know the origins or history. So my wife always being amenable agreed to let me and a bunch of my friends attempt to host a pig picking without any experience.
A group of special friends while discussing having a pig picking discovered none of us had every cooked a whole hog before. On Saturday relying on Puerto Rican, Italian, Lumbee, Irish, and North Carolina advice we went all in on hosting a pig picking for a group of about 50 people. We borrowed a gas cooker from a friend who could not attend but offered us tips via FaceTime while he was on a scouting camping trip with his son at Huntington Beach State Park just below Myrtle Beach SC.
Some of the virgin Pig Picking chefs depicted below.
Thanks James Granger for being with us each step of the way.
So what’s up with North Carolina and Pig Pickings?
Before the Civil War, pigs were a food staple in the South especially North Carolina because they were a low-maintenance and convenient food source. The pigs could be put out to root in the forest and caught when the food supply became low. These semi-wild pigs were tougher and stringier than modern-day pigs. Pig slaughtering became a time for celebration, and other families would be invited to share in the eating. Out of these gatherings grew the traditional southern barbecue.
In the 19th century, barbecues were an important feature of church functions and political rallies. Members of both political parties would come to the same gathering, with the leaders of each party competing with one another to supply the largest contribution of food and drink. Folks would gather from afar to reach the appointed place in time for the speeches, band concert, and all-important barbecue. The only accompaniments to the roast pig were thick slices of good bread, cucumbers (fresh and pickled), and whiskey. The saying “going whole hog” came out of these political rallies.
Well my friends and I didn’t have a band but we did have people come near and far, we had a speech that came before an award that was delivered in Spanish and English, we had corn bread, and at the end of the evening a few gentlemen where spotted having a wee bit of whiskey with their cigar.
I am blessed with great friends and am glad that a tradition of living in North Carolina of cooking a whole hog is something I can now claim as having done.
If I you ever want to do a pig picking check out this link or find you a friend like James Granger. Rare photo of James Granger below actually relaxing-he is always serving others.
Link below on how to cook a pig.
These pictures below will tell you my friends can go “whole hog”.