We all know where meat comes from -- a piece of bloody shrink-wrapped styrofoam in the grocery store, some wax paper if you have a fancy butcher, or maybe just the inside of a McDonald's wrapper.
This cherished illusion was destroyed forever last night for me and 10 friends. In the process we ate more delicious meat than is humanly possible, all courtesy of the Big Pig Gig at Daisy Mae's Barbecue.
The night was all about Jimmy, a 30 pound suckling pig, who was roasted for 9 hours and then delivered up on the proverbial platter.
To the regret of a few of our party -- convened for a joint birthday party for me and Scott -- his head was intact and he seemed to be looking us disconcertingly in the eye. No matter -- gloved up, bibs on, we dug into the steaming pile of pig.
Jimmy's skin was a dark, burnished caramel color. It was a bit too thick to eat so we peeled it back along with a silky white layer of fat to get to the meat underneath.
All of those cuts you see at the butchers were laid out in front of us, still attached -- belly, shoulder, ribs, butt, chops, ham.
The more adventurous among us went for the good, nasty bits -- ears, cheeks (which tasted like pork custard) and trotters. A few brave souls even had a few gulps of the gelatinous liquid that drained off the cutting board: "It's like pig Jello!"
In the end I'd estimate we ate about 3/4 of Jimmy over three hours. I ended the night on the wrong side of painfully full, and I won't torture you with the various stomach ailments I soldiered through last night. Nevertheless, it was a memorable feast and I have no regrets. However, it may have created a few vegetarians.
I for one don't think I'm going to be eating any pork for a while. Oh hell, who am I kidding -- I was eating leftovers for breakfast.
I'll leave you with this snippet from the classic Simpsons episode: "Lisa the Vegetarian"
Homer: Wait a minute wait a minute wait a minute. Lisa honey, are you saying you're *never* going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad! Those all come from the same animal!
Homer: Yeah, right Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.