28 November 2009

Pig Pickin', Pig Pickin!


John's Island, S.C.

When I was a kid in India, I was fortunate to land in the meat eating part of the country. We lived with the tribal people in the hills of the north east and herds of scrawny cattle were led up the hills to our markets. The beef may have been lean but boy, was it tough. My mother didn't realize what a treasure she had in the old pressure cooker she had shipped from Canada in 1963. Toothless matriarchs visited just to taste beef stew that they could finally chew.

Pork though, pork was the most anticipated treat. Weddings were judged by the number of pigs slaughtered for the festivities. A pig in an actual poke was carried through my bedroom in the wee dark hours of the morning to be roasted on an open fire. Picnics were a major deal and everyone worked together preparing the feast. As the pig roasted and the rice simmered the troops went home to get dressed in their best outfits to return for the meal.

The problem? The pork was still tough. Huge chunks of unchewable gristle made me hope for wandering dogs. I had to come to South Carolina to learn how a pig pickin' was supposed to be done with steaming, tender falling off the bone meat. I can't wait for my brother's next visit. If he is properly indoctrinated into the best of lowcountry pork bbq cuisine he could return a King.

All this to say I went to a pig pickin' this afternoon. Many thanks to my hosts. I am still licking my fingers.