The Pig Roaster’s Tool Box I
~Chef Perry Perkins~
Roasting a whole hog isn’t exactly like flipping a burger on the grill. Experience and education are important, in fact they’re essentials on our journey to the perfect pig and, like most things in life, that journey’s a lot easier when you have the right tools for the right job.
Now, if you’re like me, and you’ve sent a couple of (hundred) hours perusing the BBQ & Grilling sections of your favorite store, you already know that there are a TON of gizmos and gadgets that promise to make you the ultimate pit-master…believe me, I’ve bought most of them over the years.
Most are kinda cool tricks for one or two things I might grill once or twice a year, but occasionally, I find something that really does make my BBQ better, the stuff that gets the top-shelf in the tool box.
Here are some of the tools that are on my checklist before every pig roast…
BBQ can be a messy business, more importantly though, it can be a HOT business.
Not only does a good chest to knees apron keep the splatters off your duds, it also protects you from sparks, and hot grease, as well as keep loose clothing contained, and away from red hot coals.
Avoid plastic (which melts) and thin cotton (which is basically wrapping yourself in a wick), and go for a fire-resistant, heavy canvas style.
For my fellow rednecks out there, here’s one of my favorites.
Detachable bottle opener, padded oven mitt and barmop, multiple pockets for tool storage and even an insulated pocket
to keep your cold one cold…
I mean, C’MON! ;)
A Marinating Syringe
I used to submerge stuff in marinades a lot, sometimes for days, to get the flavors I wanted to really penetrate deep down into the meat. Then I discovered syringes.
Now I can get my mojo down into the center of a dense piece of muscle in a matter of minutes, and cut my prep down by hours, or even days, by using a good quality syringe.
Another reason I’m a fan of the needle, over the bucket, is typically I’m roasting or smoking something with skin on, and skin that’s been soaking in a vat of juice, just won’t crisp up. That, of course, ain’t gonna fly at my table.
I love my insulated gloves, which allow me to pull a shoulder as soon as it’s done resting, instead of waiting until it’s cool enough to handle. The center of a pork shoulder is HOT, and it stays hot for a LONG time.
Even my kitchen-toughened hands can’t handle much exposure, certainly not enough to get the job done right! With these gloves, my mitts never get more than pleasantly warm, and I can pull my hot pork (grow up fellas, we’re not thirteen anymore…) down to perfect single strand threads and serve it while it’s still nice and warm.
Plus, they’re a breeze to clean, just a squirt of dish soap and pretend you’re washing your hands!
Chef’s Note: I do not recommend putting insulated gloves in the dishwasher, which tends to stiffen them up, and poses a mildew problem way down in the fingers where it’s hard to dry.
Also…if, over time, your gloves do start to lose a little flexibility, just put them on and rub your hands together until a stream of hot water, they should loosen right up.
So, those are three of my favorite tools. Check back for my next post (be sure to follow the Latin Touch Blog to get notifications) where we’ll take a look at a few more “top of the toolbox” items!
Chef Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional cooks.
As a third-generation chef, he focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine. Perry runs a non-profit organization. MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes or at risk youth.
His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, and La Caja China Party.