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A Pig for the Picking

Hogg's Meat Market in North Little Rock, AR, does the porker up to perfection.

Pig pickings are popular things to do for casual outdoor gatherings in southern US regions. In true form, you just walk right up to the spit and pull off a chunk of whatever part of the porker you want.

For those more civilized affairs, you can still enjoy a great pig roast with all the fixin's. When done properly, it's appropriate for almost any occasion, including baby showers - as long as it's not a baby pig. You'll have a couple of advantages in planning a porcine presentation - the men will really get into it and it won't be forgotten any time soon by your guests.

Above: The honey-smoked pig in all its glory.
Below: Matt from Hogg's Meat Market does the honors of diving in.

We had the pleasure of attending such an event recently and can heartily make a recommendation for Hogg's Catering and Meat Market in Little Rock, Arkansas. You can select a young hog based on the number in your party and they'll give it a beautiful honey glaze smokin' over the course of several hours. Complete with apple in mouth and surrounding floral arrangement, it's quite a setting!

In addition, you can arrange for all the sides you want, including cole slaw, potato salad, and baked beans. Each of these dishes is simply delicious.

The catered event included Matt, a master butcher, who performed the carving. He was gracious in execution during the serving and happy to explain the details of how Hogg's gets a pig of any size to the table. Working from only one side, he piled up the most delicious "other white meat" you can imagine. The front of the pig maintained its roasted pageantry so guests could avoid viewing the gaping hole on the back side. A nice touch.

We also experienced the best sauce along with this pig. Normally, vinegar bases are not a preference for us die-hard Texas grillers, but this one was out of sight. The vinegar and spices were perfect companions to every part of the tender, juicy pork. As the flavors combined, they literally continued to burst with goodness. This type of sauce is a classic Arkansas and North Carolina choice, by the way.

Matt told us that Hogg's will cater to various parts of the state and might even "cross state lines" if necessary.

Hogg's Meat Market info:
Web site: hoggsmeatmarket.com
Phone No: 501-758-7700

Tips for the spread: You'll want to set aside one large table for the pig. Even better - clear space all the way around so guests can make inspections. Trust me, they'll want to give it a poke here and there, too. This also allows plenty of room for your caterer to work his or her magic and keep the serving trays filled with meat. For the side dishes, you'll need a second table that goes with the flow of your crowd. One secret to being a great host is making it convenient for both your guests and the person or persons doing the serving.

For those of you who want to "stretch your cooking chops" (so to speak), check out our spit-building instructions. It's not as pretty as Hogg's can do it, but when you're laying out a spread at home, this is the way to go.


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