The Big Pig Gig
The Daisy May's Big Pig Gig menu offers barbecue cooked to order (advance ordering required) at your party's reserved table. Choose among a half pig ($240), a whole pig ($480), whole pork butt ($150) and rack of lamb for two ($95). All include cole slaw, Texas toast, two other fixin's of your choice, watermellon and reserved seating.
It's a great concept that ensures not only the spectacle and pageantry of the presentation but also the high quality of the barbecue, since it's prepared just for you and prepared to be eaten at the time you specify.
This wasn't one of those things I could do alone, or with just one dining companion. So I joined a group of about 20 Connecticut and New York barbecue enthusiasts for great event organized by Eric Johnson of the Smoke on the Water competition team and presented by Daisy May's chef/pitmaster Adam Perry Lang. The group consisted mostly of competitors and judges from the New England Barbecue Society and the Barbecue Brethren, including many who shared my enthusiasm for food photography.
Adam took time to meet with us before and after the meal, and explained some of his preparations while presenting the fantastic array of meats. We tried not only the whole pig and several whole shoulders, but also pork ribs and beef ribs.
This was a glistening brown 30-lb pig, brought to the table on a wooden platform that had channels to collect the juices. Adam carved this like a surgeon, opening the flap of skin to scoop out some silky tender meat. Using gloves, he mixed into some of the shoulder and loin meat a sauce that included mustard, molasses and honey. The meat was good with the sauce but also very succulent without it. It was fun to explore the different textures of the meat from the various parts of the animal; each had its own unique taste and mouthfeel. I have to confess that although I made the trip specifically for the pig, I was so smitten by the next dish that I didn't taste as much of the pig meat as I originally intended.
The beef ribs were a different cut from the Oklahoma beef rib on the regular Daisy May's menu. It's a new preparation Adam is considering as a possible future menu item. He smokes the ribs in sets of 3-bones and slices the ample meat perpendicular to the bones. The crust was very thick and the meat inside was tender and bursting juices. A light sprinkling of fleur de sel (a coarse sea salt) brought out the meat's flavor even more. I hope this becomes a regular menu item, because it was spectacular.
These were whole butts, generously lacquered with sauce and prepared in more of a competition style than the pulled pork from the regular Daisy May's menu. Adam pulled a couple and left some others for us to do ourselves. These were full of flavor, as you might expect from the recipe that won first place at the World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City.
These were super plump, well crusted, just a little spicier than their regular ribs and cooked to perfect competition tenderness. They were a delicious cross between the wet and dry styles from the Daisy May's regular menu.
Most of the members of our party were already well acquainted with the process of handling and pulling pork, but if you get a chance, try doing it yourself. Sure, it's messy, but that's part of the fun. If you're squeamish, there's a chance that seeing the animal in all its glory might make for an uncomfortable experience. But if you enjoy meat, you already know that it doesn't grow on trees, so just go with the flow of the juices and the good times.
back to the Daisy May's review
Andrea Strong's review of the Big Pig Gig
Peter Meehan's New York Times review of the Big Pig Gig
Two Spoons Please review of the Big Pig Gig