Monday, June 11, 2012

Life Goes On. . .

The party is behind me now.  DD1's graduation open house, that is.  It engulfed a huge part of the past three weeks; sending out announcements that double as invitations, cleaning and shopping and prepping and cooking and setting up and decorating and. . .

PHEW!!  The party was Saturday.  Sunday I spent in "open house lag", which if you've ever thrown a graduation open house, you'll know exactly what I mean.  If you haven't had this particular honor yet, let me explain.

Open house lag is where you are awake, but your body is in slow-mo.  Your brain works, but not quickly.  You move, but not quickly.  It is a state of mental and physical exhaustion coupled with the elation that you have pulled it off, the open house was a success, is now over, and you have clean-up to do.

But now it's Monday and life goes on.  Jobs require attendance today.  DD1 has softball practice today since her team won the regional championship on Saturday (championship game ended just 90 minutes before her open house began!).  Tomorrow she plays in the State Quarter Finals.  DD2 begins driver's education class today (my baby!).  DS1, K2 (his girlfriend, whose name is almost identical to mine) and K3 (their daughter, my grandbaby) had to return to SC.  DS2 has gone back to the U.P., where he is living and working this summer.  The garden needs to be weeded and watered, the laundry needs to be done, my 18 quart roasters need to be put away,  life goes on.

What I'd like to do this week is share with you some of the recipes I used in creating the food for DD1's open house. Unfortunately I won't have pictures to go along with them, but I think--and hope--you will enjoy the posts anyway and find them useful.

So check back tomorrow and the next day and the next. . .  all the way to Friday, and get not just a peek at what we enjoyed at the party, but also ideas and recipes if you ever need to put on an open house in the future.

Today's recipe will be the beginning of the food:  the rub for the pig we roasted.

It was a large pig, about 250 pounds, roughly 100 pounds more than it needed to be.  But, it was free to us since Mother In Law raised it, so who were we to argue with it's size? Besides, roast pork freezes and reheats well, so the extra pork (about 6 gallon-sized baggies of it) will feed us for months to come,each meal of it bringing back memories of DD1's great celebration.

The pig was killed on Tuesday last week, four days before it needed to go in the roaster.  It was split in half down the spine, then hung in a meat locker to cool and age.  On Wednesday and Thursday, the 'inside' of it ('outside' still had hide and hair on to protect the meat while roasting), was rubbed each day with half of the following barbecue rub.

"Pig Rub" (or any other kind of meat you want to put it on; it's great on chicken too).
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup paprika
3/4 cup black pepper
3/4 cup coarse salt (canning salt, kosher salt, etc)
1/4 cup smoked salt (I used coarse salt mixed w/about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp liquid smoke)
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp celery seeds
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly, using a fork or your hands.  Make sure all the brown sugar is mixed in well and no lumps are present.  Store in an airtight jar (I used a couple of 1 quart canning jars) away from heat or light.  Will keep for at least 6 months this way.

Use roughly 2-3 tsp of rub per pound of meat.  Let the rub sit for at least several hours (in the case of something small like a chicken; or at least a day for something large like a hog) before cooking.

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