To South Carolina for pig-pickin

So, what’s the story with South Carolina, Greg asked me last night. Well, I’m not sure how best to describe the setup, but here goes:

  • My uncle and aunt live one hill over from my parents on the family farmland in western North Carolina
  • My uncle retired as an executive in a transportation company; his company has an executive retreat in a forest in South Carolina
  • Said retreat features fishing, hunting, horseback riding, and other outdoor sports facilities (when I was younger (11?) I rode a horse for the first and last time there; it bolted and I got a bloody tuchus)
  • My parents, my aunt and uncle, and another couple or two are sharing a multi-bedroom house at the retreat for a week next week
  • I managed to squeeze in two days off next week to join them
  • I will arrive on Saturday, the day before the pig-pickin’

What’s a pig-pickin’, my Northern readers are now asking. It’s something like a barbecue, if by barbecue you mean “cooking and eating a ridiculous amount of pork cooked on a fire.” But that doesn’t do it justice; neither does this (though it gives a little of the flavor and some of the recipe). All I can say is, after you’ve been cooking a whole pig on an enormous grill for a day, you’ll be hungry enough to eat anything. The fact that even without the anticipation the meat (dressed in a vinegar sauce only, please, no “smoky barbecue” tomato sauce here) is ambrosial is icing on the cake. And of course there are all the side dishes, and beverages, and occasionally (if it’s a pig-pickin’ that my uncle organized) live country music.

Why is it called a pig-pickin’? Well, because after being cooked over a slow fire all day the pork is soft and moist enough to be pulled off the pig and eaten with one’s bare hands, if one is feeling barbaric. And after a taste of the stuff, one could certainly feel that way. It does seem to awaken a deep hunger. In fact, I’m hungry now…

So this has been a dry week for posting, partly because I’ve been crazy busy at the office, but partly in anticipation of the stories to come.