Have you ever been to a pig pickin’ or pig roast? The German-American Friends club in our community held a pig roast (Spanferkel) recently with a western theme and it was a fun and delicious evening. Now ask yourself, “What do a pig roast and the old west have to do with the German-American club?” You would be surprised.
We arrived and all the tables were decorated with red checkered tablecloths, western boot centerpieces and little mints in red bandana paper wrappers. Also on the table was an information sheet with the top ten facts about German author Karl May. May wrote novels in German about the American Wild West, Asia, and Africa. May never visited any of these places and yet sold approximately 200 million of his books. Easels were lined up on the dance floor with beautiful paintings of native American Indians painted by artist Too Big Sparrow (Deborah Parker).
But I am getting ahead of myself let’s roll the clock back and talk about the featured guest of the evening, the roasted pig. I did some research and learned that pig roasts go back many centuries and is a favorite food for special occasions and holidays not only in Germany but in many countries around the world.
I attended a pig pickin’ many years ago but only arrived after it was cooked and the party had started. So, when I learned that the pigs were to be roasted the night before right on the premises Randy and I decided to go up to the clubhouse and see how it was done.
We met the man of the hour Brian Melton of BS Barbeque who would be roasting-smoking the pigs. Brian was very informative and entertaining as he walked us through the cooking process. Brian started the smoker filling it first with coals and then adding regular oak to keep the fires and coals burning and then adding black jack oak which would infuse the pork with a wonderfully aromatic flavor.
Brian told us that, “Once we get a good bed of coals going we start putting the wood in and then close everything up and get it up to a good hot temperature (350°) then put the pigs on. Then once it dies down to 180° to 220° the pigs will cook all night”. “We will cook them fat side up until about 1:00pm tomorrow afternoon and then flip them the last two hours just to brown them up and get them just right,” he continued.
I was curious about how Brian prepared the pigs. He explained that first he sprays the pigs with Pam and then rubs them down with his own special ingredients. I asked, “What are the ingredients for the rub?” With a smile and twinkle in his eye he replied, “Now that’s a secret”.
Once the pork is pulled he then pours yet another secret concoction over the some of the meat and the rest he leaves plain so there is a choice for the guests. “There is no barbeque sauce added to this whatsoever until it is completely done,” Brian said. “I’m going to say the barbeque sauce is a favorite too but that is a secret too,” continued Brian.
A storm with heavy winds and rain was heading our way so once the cooker lid was lowered we went home with great anticipation for the wonderfully and flavorful meal that would be awaiting us the next evening.
It was fun watching many residents as they entered the ballroom all decked out in western hats, boots, shirts and bandanas. Club president Mary Shukle started the evening with a short meeting before the festivities announcing that the club now has 231 members, talked about several events planned for the fall and winter season and brought everyone’s attention to a slide presentation about Karl May. She said that towards the end of the evening participants would be called up to answer questions about Karl and if answered correctly would receive a prize.
Along with the smoked pulled pork there was barbeque chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, Black Forest cake and of course good German beer. The pulled pork was wonderful. It was moist, tender and had a wonderful smoked and flavorful taste. “It was just delicious,” said Genny Fulmer.
The DJ, Ron the Music Man, kept the floor full all evening with a great variety of German music and other popular favorites.
Randy and I had a wonderful time sharing the evening with table companions Daniel and Julie Grosner, Dean and Serena Connor; and Jerry and Marie Burrell. Jerry and Marie shared great pictures of a pig roast they had attended in Connecticut some years before. The pictures showed club members ceremonially carrying a whole roasted pig into the dining room, many wearing traditional German clothing and performing a traditional Austro-Bavarian folk dance called the Schuhplatter.
I loved this event. I loved learning how to roast a pig, learning about author Karl May, I enjoyed the American Indian paintings, the music was great and I loved the dinner. I ran into Flo Dech and asked, “What did you think of the evening?” Flo replied, “I thought it was very good. The food was excellent, the decorations are beautiful and we had a good time”.
One of the goals of the German-American Friends club is to educate its members about German history and culture. This wonderful and fun event definitely met that goal.
*Portions of this blog first appeared in my weekly column in The Daily Sun newspaper, Villages, Fl.