The Pig Roaster’s Tool Box II
~Chef Perry Perkins~
Last time we talked about the importance of having the right tools for the right job, especially when roasting 100lbs of pig, and took a look at a few of those tools, in “The Pig Roaster’s Tool Box I. Here are a few more that I couldn’t do without...
Heavy Duty Gloves
As far as safety goes, these might be the most important pieces of gear in the toolbox.
The metal handles of your roasting box are just a few inches away from those glowing coals, and they can get really, really hot. Worse, because they heat up based on proximity and coal placement, they can go from being mildly uncomfortable to searing hot with a small slip of the grip.
If I’m not wearing heavy-duty gloves, two things are going to happen:
I’m going to get some really nasty burns on my palms, and I’m probably going to drop the pig that I just
invested all the money and time into. I’ll leave it to you to decide which is worse (I know my answer!)
Just wear the gloves.
Meat Cooking Thermometer
Next on my list of “absolute essentials” is my meat thermometer. It doesn’t really matter what kind you use, as long as it’s accurate. There are a number of variables in cooking that a written recipe, or set of instructions, just can’t know…and they all effect the amount of time that particular piece of meat is going to take to reach its ideal internal temperature. Things like: surrounding temperatures, wind, temperature of the meat going into the box, humidity, fuel quality, and size/shape/density of the meat.
The only way to know, with certainty, that a brisket is a 185F in the center, and ready to wrap and plop in the cooler, is to use some type of accurate probe thermometer to poke down in there and get a reading from the center. Gotta have it!
And, of course, no list of mine would be complete without my #1 favorite ingredient for achieving porcine perfection…smoke! I’ve tried just about every smoke accessory on the market (and a few that aren’t) and what’s in my toolbox is an A-maze- n smoker.
No power requirements, no moving parts, it’s basically idiot-proof (and believe me, I’ve tested that…) as long as your pellets are dry, and you have a little airflow through the box, you’ve got hours and hours of beautiful smoke.
As well as the box model (shown above) this smoker also comes in an expandable tube version, so you can control the duration of the smoking time.
In Part III we’ll look at the last few items that I’ve found to take your pig roasting to the next level!
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.