What a weekend! I picked up the pork on Friday gone and it was a bit of a shock as I had never actually handled such a large piece of meat before. It was huge and this only weighed 30 pounds. Anyway I made a dry rub mix called “Sweet Southern Pork Rub” containing sugar, black pepper, paprika, dry mustard and cayenne and rubbed it well into the flesh of the meat. I then placed it into a large bag and shoved it into the fridge. The following day I went to see Ted Magnum and we managed to finish the spit and the stands. After leaving Ted’s with the spit in the back of my car I unloaded and assembled the spit and built a fire pit of breeze blocks stacked upon each and interlocking. The Pit was two breeze blocks wide, three breeze blocks long and four breeze blocks high. After giving the meat another coat of rub and putting it back in the fridge it was almost time for bed.
The following morning I got up at seven am and took the meat out of the fridge to reach room temperature and then set about lighting the fire pit. This is where my problems started. It was going to be a long day and it was only early morning! It was raining and I knew that with the amount of rain that was falling I had no chance of lighting the fire pit. I hacked off a small amount of meat and managed to fit it into the oven while I sat and thought about what I was going to do. The answer was simple, put a cover over the fire pit! But.. Where do you get one at eight am in the morning? I had to wait until 10 am till the shops were open and buy a cheap gazebo to cover the pit. Buying a cheap gazebo was not easy as everyone had sold out of the really cheap ones and I ended up paying 25 pounds for one. After getting that home and assembling it I set about lighting the pit. I really can’t understand how forest fires occur. I used around 15 fire lighting cubes and a litre of fire lighting fluid to get 20 Kgs of charcoal and some dry logs to ignite and burn evenly.
Some two hours later my pit was roaring nicely and ready to take the meat. It was now around 12 noon and the meat had been cooking in the oven for 2.5 hours. I took it out and tried to get the spit through a section of the meat. It was about this time I discovered that to spit roast anything you really need something with a cavity so you can see where to place the rods through the meat and through the spit to secure it into place. With a hollow piece of meat you see what you are doing and where to push the rods through. With a solid lump you can’t, its all guesswork even with a steel rule which I used to try and guestimate the holes. Needless to say I eventually managed to secure the meat so it would not slip on the spit as it was turned and therefore cook evenly all over. It was now around 12-30 and it was only due to the help from the Bean counter that I managed to place the meat over hot flames at all. This job really cannot be done by one person alone. It takes team work. It was about this time that I rang Ted magnum to ask him where he was and he said he would be there shortly, he had a hangover!
I now realised that although it was raining it was not raining heavily enough to stop the canvas gazebo from become dangerously hot and so in the rain I stood there with a hose pipe directing water over a smouldering canvas canopy to cool it down and thus prevent it from bursting into flames. Ted arrived at around 1pm and the pair of us started to cook in earnest. For an hour or two it all went well. The canopy was cool, the fire was hot and the meat smelt heavenly. The I realised that some sections of the meat were cooked so well that the rods holding it onto the spit were cutting through it and that as I turned the spit, the meat just hung there heavy end down. It was time to take the meat off the spit and place it onto a grill of sorts and cook it over the flames only turning it occasionally. Ted and me managed to fashion a grill from old bits of metal I had lying around and the meat was transferred to the grill. At this point I opened a bottle of bourbon (big mistake) and started to slather the meat with a Vinegar mop to stop it from drying it out. The vinegar mop was made from cider vinegar, black pepper, coarse salt, mustard powder, brown sugar, molasses, Tabasco sauce and hot red pepper flakes. It looked disgusting but smelt divine and tasted wonderful. After several shots of Bourbon it seemed like a good idea to test out the new branding iron I had and consequently Ted and me branded several sections of a large cut of meat. (see gallery for photos)
At around 4-30, just about the same time we had finished the bourbon off by, the meat thermometer reckoned that the meat was cooked and we took it off the flames and left it on a large plate to draw back some of the juices that were now oozing out the spots that were not seared with the branding iron. At around five pm the first of our guests arrived. By six pm I had a garden full and the meat was carved and served and compliments to the chef flowed along with lashing of home made apple sauce that the bean counter had been busy preparing while Ted and me did manly things like drink and make fire. So far it had been a great day……..
To be continued!