Best pig pickin' caterer / hog purveyor in the Triangle?
We're planning a fall wedding in Chatham County, and would like to do a really top-notch pig pickin'. The idea is to order an heirloom hog and hire a pig master to cook it, perhaps along with some fish or chicken. A separate caterer is providing sides like slaw and mac n' cheese.
Two questions for all you pork-loving hounds:
1) Which Triangle-area farm provides the best whole hogs? Cane Creek? Elysian Fields? Brinkley Farms? We'd like something humanely raised and ultra-delicious.
2) Who does the best pig pickin' catering in the area? I've heard good things about Smokey Dave from Hillsborough, Pig in the Pen in Pittsboro, and Allen & Son. A guideline to my tastes: my favorite Triangle BBQ places are probably Old Time BBQ, Clyde Cooper's, and Allen & Son. I like plenty of crispy outside brown and lots of nice spicy, vinegar-sting-y Eastern-style sauce. We'd need someone who was cool with just doing the meat, not the sides.
Any guidance you can provide would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Allen ans Son catered my wedding reception. Whole hog, and absolutely wonderful. We had them do the sides, too, but I think they'll just do the pig. Just call Keith Allen and ask him.
I had a pig pickin' for my wedding reception, purchased the hog from Mae Farm Meats (www.maefarmmeats.com). You can order directly from them at the Raleigh State Farmer's Market, that's what we did.
For the cooking, a neighbor of ours, Carl, has cooked barbecue nigh on to forever, and has his own rig. He knew OrganicGuy since birth pretty much, and his wedding gift to us was cooking the hog (what a gift!). Unfortunately, he's had some heart trouble over the past year, so he's not cooking any more. For years, he also cooked for a local Ruritan club; if you have a Ruritan in your area that does barbecue for fund raisers, they might have an idea of someone pretty close who can do this for you. Of course, you'll also want to try their 'cue first. They're often great about just cooking the hog and not caring about someone else doing the sides; this is what we did too. Carl cooked, we made all the sides ourselves. Much easier (and cost effective!)
If you're cooking, and your wedding is outdoors, and you're cooking where you're getting married...word of advice...keep upwind! It's hard to concentrate when something smells that good, and having you stomach growl while saying vows is embarassing!
I love Cane Creek's pork. Really try to get an Ossabow hog if you can. That meat is fork-droppingly good. Contact them well in advance to be sure they can accommodate your event. You will pay more for this kind of pig than you would from another producer, but this is a special event, so live a little. I'd get a recommendation from Cane Creek on who to hire to cook the pig, since the Ossabow is a bit different than the standard hog. For more information on Ossabow hogs, check out the book, "Pig Perfect" by Peter Kaminsky. The hog would be raised locally as well, since Cane Creek's Farm is near Chatham County.
I think there would be something romantic to making such a strong sense memory with your wedding. Every time you smell pork and hickory smoke, you think of the happy event of your wedding day.