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.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 2009