Tag Archives: Pig


This summer the sultry heat won’t just be coming from Richmond’s usual weather!
Meet Burny F. Gibbons, my new burn barrel.
What is a burn barrel you ask?
A burn barrel makes real wood coal to use to cook real whole hog pit BBQ.

Real pit barbeque means cooked with wood, nothing else. Wood means flavor. It provides a steady supply of embers to then spread around beneath the pit so you can control your temperature. You pack it with wood, as it burns, embers fall to the bottom and then you keep adding the coals to your pit and cook a hog slow and low at a steady heat that you control for many, many hours. Not only is it a tradition in many regions to cook whole pig this way, it is a skill, one usually passed down for generations.

This summer this Yankee city mouse is going to attempt to teach myself how to cook a whole pig properly, the way that the kind and gifted pitmasters I’ve met do. I’m not saying it will be great BBQ right off the bat, but I figure it’ll be a start and hopefully with patience and practice (read: lots of time for drinking and eating in the backyard) I’ll eventually get it right. I’m going to start small and work my way up to a whole hog hopefully by mid Fall. (gulp)
I’ve got Burn-y next up is the pit. I’ll keep you posted!!

To make a burn barrel, you need:
a 55 gallon (or larger) drum (mine was food grade)
some rebar
a drill and saw that will cut through metal (or some sweet pals that own these things)
and in my case a friend who is not afraid of the 15 Black Widow spiders who made their home in the drum while I wasn’t looking

To construct:
stand drum up open end
drill a few of holes around each side just above the bottom rib, lined up
Insert rebar through the holes,
Cut a hole in the bottom the barrel just below the rib big enough to stick in a shovel.

When cooking out side with fire always, always, always have a fire extinguisher nearby!!!!



Pimento Cheese meets Whoopie Pie

Although it looks like I took the last month off around here on the internet, I assure you there is no rest for the wicked and since I’ve last posted much has occurred.

This past week the darling Caroline Nuttall of Read Charlie wrote up a piece about all of the Pimento Cheeses of Charleston and included a bit about the film. You can read it here. Pimento Cheese is popping up everywhere outside the South, these days. Better hurry and get this film made before the backlash starts in- I met a chef who was working on a Pimento Cheese foam ?!?

Charleston is such a vibrant city. We enjoyed filming there and really loved eating there. If you want to see my eyes roll up in my head and start drooling just ask me about our eating excursions while there, like the cocktails at FIG and the dinner at Husk.

Speaking of great dinners, here in Richmond, I was honored to help contribute to the last course of a Suds and Sow dinner at Comfort. Chef Jason Alley and his team created a multi course dinner around a suckling pig, matched with beers from Athens’ Terrapin Brewery. Have you tried the Hopsecutioner?! Don’t walk, RUN!
From the starters of pork fat fried peanuts, and housemade rinds to the tender ribs and crispy jowl salad.. not to mention the whole hog tacos, it was a bacchanal of porcine delights. I made bacon fat and ginger whoopie pies that were filled with peanut butter cream and served with a citrus bacon jam. (Alas, I have no pictures so we’ll make do with the above savory Northern/Southern hybrid- The Pimento Cheese Whoopie Pie!)
It’s such a delight that area chefs in our city host events like this. There is a food scene here in Richmond, and we are lucky to have it, but it needs to advance and grow. Events like Suds and Sow help spread the word in our own community and beyond.

I have heard word that there is also a fledgling secret restaurant scene on the rise here in River City. If anyone needs any dessert items for such events please be in touch – I can keep a secret!