Pig Roast

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Lessons Learned


Cooking the Pig

  • Having people stay up late with the cooks really helped them to stay awake this year, as did a few 5 hour energy drinks.
  • Pit Cooking was much easier than Spit Cooking. The pig can be left unattended for longer periods of time.
  • Need to open the Aluminum Foil not over the pit/fire. Can cause a grease fire: Video of the great Pig Grease Fire of 2010
  • In the event of rain, the smoker can be pulled halfway into the high bay with the chimney remaining outside.
  • Need to wear protective hand coverings (latex gloves will do) when pulling the aluminum foil off the cooking frame
  • Recommended to bring a change of clothing. You will smell very lovely after 12 hours sitting next to a pit.
  • 4 Large bags of Charcoal were enough.
  • 3 Injector Kits for two pigs is enough.
  • Stall Time
    • Taking excess fat off will reduce stall time (the time of 165 degrees when fat starts to melt).
    • Stall time will last for several hours
    • Until enough fat has phase shifted, the temperature will stall. Stalling is interior to the meat.
  • Mustard is used to make seasoning stick
  • Getting the coals started in a chimney reduces pain in the butt factor for getting them started. Don't start the coals on the cement though, the quick temperature change caused the driveway to explode.

Securing Foods

  • The MWR Roaster requires a 2" hitch
  • Michele Faris Cotten has Winchester farm connections.
  • Coworker said Trinity Farms exists, no idea on price: http://www.trinityfarmsofalabama.com/FAQ.html
  • Kirk has farm connections.
  • In 2015 Ralph H. Friend offered to source the following if we didn't already have the pig lined up: "If you have not sourced them yet, I have three American mule foot piglets ready for slaughter. 2 about 60 pounds and one at about 50 pounds. Inbox me for more details."
  • Huntsville Reddit Conversations
  • There's a pig processing place in Hartselle that can get us a pig cheaper with a good heads up
  • For previous events Rocket City Meats complained that we called too early and needed to call 2 weeks before the event. Then we did that and they dicked us by doubling the price and leaving us with no time to find a competing offer. It was five days after we started calling before Mr. Philips answered the phone. Lesson learned is to call 4 weeks in advance anyway and to find a competing offer.
  • Reminder email should be sent out a day before the event - some folks forgot to bring pledged items

Money \ Headcount \ Activities

  • Remember the name tags - sometimes guests have a hard time finding members to answer questions. Name Tags could identify members easily. Also, suggesting members wear makers local shirts on the day of the event in a reminder email.
  • Guestbook for prospective members to sign
  • Find a way to count plates, maybe use stickers instead of marker for the hand. (we can count the number of used stickers)
    • Used a clicker, can be found in the office near the bathroom of 414 Stevens.
  • The Pool was a great idea, and really felt good to the cooks that had been next to the pit all night. The water was nasty after we got in, the cooks should save it as a reward at the end, or add some chlorine.
  • I was pretty out of it after cooking the pig all night, next year we should delegate the money taking to two not-cooks people.
  • It really helped having one person dedicated to taking the paypal payments so that the other could focus on taking cash.
    • Identify at the very beginning what one person should operate the clicker.
  • If we offer discounted plates to interest groups, we need to have about $20 in $1 bills to make change
  • Having more than one tent and plenty of folding chairs freed up the congestion on the inside and made it easier for everyone to eat without running out of room. (2013)
    • Agreed. Three tents would have even been better than two, we needed one tent just for the pool. (2013)
    • We neglected to setup a second tent at the 2014 pig roast and it caused congestion. (2014)
  • Note for Jeff: Hardees Breakfast for 10 people is around $20

  • Investigate getting an article written about it in the Valley Planet
  • NPR announcements need a 5 week lead time

Food Prep

  • We need to suggest that children be watched by an adult at all times.
  • Don't run out of bbg sauce.
  • Three Medium Sized bottles of Sweet Baby Rays did it for pig roast 2014. No need to get the gallon sized Sweet Baby Rays.
    • Don't put out the large containers, put out the squeeze bottles and refill them as needed. Or just don't get the large containers.


  • The kitchen will be wrecked. Make sure someone(s) are up for a mid-afternoon cleanup and possibly a more thorough cleanup on the day after.
  • The pig carcass must go in the dumpster or we'll have a rotting pig carcass for a week. Make room for it however possible or arrange that it be disposed of otherwise.
    • Maybe a special pickup can be scheduled for this?
  • The dumpster must be clear of obstacles or we'll have a rotting trash for a week. Send out an email about this the day before Trash pickup, which in the past has been ~4AM on Tuesdays.