Tip From a Pro: How to Roast a Whole Hog Like Tom Mylan

He may be one of the few butchers who can claim to have groupies, but that's not the only thing that Tom Mylan can brag about. He also roasts a pretty mean pig. In a homemade pit constructed of cinder blocks and filled with charcoal, the venerated butcher of Diner, Marlow & Sons, and Marlow & Daughters fame slow-cooked a 195-pound pig this past Sunday for some 600 hungry people at 3rd Ward's second annual Pig Roast & Dance Party.

Mylan assured Fork in the Road that roasting a pig isn't some intrepid party trick only rock star butchers can pull off. "You can totally do this at home," he says. "You just need a smaller pig. It's easier to do a smaller pig for 20-30 people because you can manage expectations better. This isn't an exact science."

Mylan recommends doing a 20-pound pig on a large grill, but says it's easy enough to put together a makeshift a pit using cement blocks and charcoal. He laid out his animal on a grill on its stomach about a foot above the hot coals in the pit, then covered it for the duration of cooking time.

"We left it out the night before till it reached room temperature. Then, I just basted it with a salsa roja -- which is chilies, lime, cilantro, garlic, and salt -- every 30 minutes or so. For 200 pounds, it takes about seven or eight hours. It should have taken closer to 12, but we were a little rushed. For a smaller pig, it takes about three to four hours."

So, can one procure oneself a pig at Marlow & Daughters?

"I've sold 20-pound to 70-pound pigs. Just call me a week and a half ahead of time. It's between $100 and $120 for a 16- to 20-pound pig."

And does the butcher-cum-sometime pig roaster get to cook much at home?

"No! I work like 60 hours a week so I hardly ever get to cook. I live in an old sewing machine factory and so, if anything, I like grilling on the roof. I'll be lucky if I get to grill once a week. Other than that, I eat out at friends' restaurants. Or I drink dinner."

Sounds like the rock star butcher thing to do.


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