Field & Fork Network

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Pig Roast…A Journey In Honor of Pork

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm

The Barn at the Gallo Homestead. Photo by Bonnie Lawrence

Last summer I was reading the NY Times piece, “Have Pig, Will Dig”. The article chronicled the journey of four friends who wanted to roast a pig in the ground, ala Hawaiian style. Their first attempt to roast the pig in the ground in someone’s back yard in Brooklyn yielded only a call from the fire department. Apparently this type of endeavor is not easily done in the confines of city living so they decided to take their idea upstate to a farm where they had the room to dig a proper pit and roast the pig for the right amount of time.  I have to admit I became enthralled with the idea, or rather the process, of roasting a pig in this way.

I shared the article and photo essay with friends, family, and the board of directors of Field & Fork Network (which I am the President of). I talked about the idea a lot with hopes someone, anyone!, would share my curiosity and enthusiasm for roasting a pig in the ground. Alas, I found some fellow enthusiasts who wanted to embark on this roasting journey with me. My good friend and fellow Field & Fork Network board member, Chef Bill Metzgar was the first to get on board. Another good friend, Chef John French soon joined us. We decided the roast would be a great way to kick off the Seasonal Suppers dining series Field & Fork Network would be doing as fundraisers for the organization.

After much discussion, it was decided we would need the following: a pig, a location to roast, a way to dig the hole, rocks to line the hole/pit, fire wood for the fire in the pit, and banana leaves, burlap, and chicken wire to wrap the pig. And most of all, we needed a lot of faith the pig would cook properly while buried two feet underground for roughly 12-15 hours.  As we started to accumulate the things needed to make this all happen, we began to hear a variety of stories from folks who knew someone who had roasted a pig in the ground. Some were great stories of how exciting it was to see the pig come out all crispy and delicious. Other stories talked about how the fire went out and the pig came out raw. While I embraced the risk involved (and I am not a chef), my two chef friends did not. They had growing concerns about the pig not roasting as planned. And as the weather continued to not cooperate all through the month of May, there were also concerns about the ground being too wet to roast in at all. Yes, my dreams of Have Pig, Will Dig were soon fading.

T-Meadow Farm, Lockport, NY

Then the idea of roasting the pig in a roasting box came up. The easiest part of this whole process was acquiring the pig. Rich Tilyou of T-Meadow farm is one of a handful of heritage breed hog farmers in WNY. I’ve known Rich since the first Field & Fork Network Farmer-Chef Conference back in February 2009 which he attended at the urging of Jen Small of Flying Pigs Farm in the Hudson Valley. Jen was conducting one of the workshops that year and had known Rich for some time as she has purchased breeding stock from him. Many local chefs and foodies have come to appreciate Rich’s pork products as being some of the best the region has to offer. Rich recently purchased a La Caja China roasting box and suggested this would be a good route to take with roasting our pig. This option offered limited risk and enough spectacle for our guests. Bill and John were sold.

Bill and John Rotating the Pig in the La Caja China roasting box

While I admit I was somewhat disappointed, I knew this was the right option as RSVP’s kept coming in and the guest list kept growing. The thought of having the pig come out of the ground raw and not being able to feed the 50+ people attending was daunting to say the least.

So the chefs got their menu planned and prepped with assistance from Sean Purdy, a chef at the Lexington Co-op. They decided, in addition to the whole 70lb. pig, they would also roast two pork butts, one smothered in a hickory cherry butt BBQ sauce and the other done in a coffee rub crusted with Bill’s basic BBQ sauce. These would be cooked on the grill. The main event was soaked over night in a 3-2-1 brine of salt, brown sugar, and maple syrup before heading into the roasting box the next day.

Plate of Delicious Yumminess! photo by Bonnie Lawrence

The complements to the meal included; 3 different kinds of corn bread which guests could smother with a honey lime butter, roasted vegetable terrines, potato salad, and fruit salad. To start, guests were fed deep-fried Caesar salad wraps dipped in Caesar dressing. While most parties are held in honor of an individual(s), this one was definitely in honor of pork.

The Finished Roast!

Our hats go off to Rich Tilyou the farmer who provided the pork, Bill Metzgar & John French the chefs who put much time & energy into creating a fabulously delicious meal, and to my parents, Karen & Jim Gallo who hosted the event and topped the day with an amazing fireworks show!

Here is a photostream chronicling the day, compliments of Caesandra Sewell!

~posted by Lisa Tucker

Embeering Buffalo

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm

A taste of German Bock

Buffalo, NY is once again in the midst of Beer Week. Until June 26, Buffalonians will be celebrating craft beer, thanks to the many different brewers and events planned. With many local businesses featuring microbrewery beers, from double IPAs to beer pairing dinners, anyone who has a taste for a cold one in the summer heat will be a beerologist by the end of the week.

Brewing is not new to the Queen City. It was one of Buffalo’s leading industries until Prohibition when brewers either adapted by selling soda (pop), malt products or closed their doors for good. Many survived Prohibition only to return to business and find their equipment antiquated and in much need of updates.

The organizers of Buffalo Beer Week (BBW) hope to resurrect this once booming industry. With the can-do attitude of Western New Yorkers, combined with an appreciation for quality, craft, tradition and passion, they are optimistic.

“BBW is advancing the cause of embeering Buffalo,” said Ethan Cox of Community Beer Works. “We have beer history, a beer thirsty population and we need to grow the number of home brewers and craft beer enthusiasts.”

A variety of BBQ sauces to match the brewsFat Bob’s Smokehouse (41 Virginia Pl.) in Allentown was host to a BBW event. They focused on pouring German Bock (a strong lager) beer and paired it with their famous macaroni & cheese and baby back ribs. This imperial lager is traditionally a breakfast beer, and patrons could tell.

“A combination of smoke, tobacco and some maple,” said Ed Beck, originally of Rochester, NY. “It tastes like the area.

Julia Lavarnway of Buffalo, NY agreed. “It would be perfect with smoked Gouda.”

For a complete schedule and for more information about BBW, log onto

Edible Buffalo Announces Eat Drink Local Week June 24-30, 2011!

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Edible Buffalo is proud to announce the first ever New York Statewide Eat Drink Local Week June 24 through June 30, 2011, a restaurant week with a mission! With the harvest season in full swing, Edible Buffalo along with seventeen local restaurant and winery partners will be celebrating the local food chain by promoting menus using ingredients sourced from local growers and artisan producers.

“Many of our restaurant and winery partners already use locally sourced ingredients on their menus, so this is an opportunity to showcase their efforts,” says Lisa Tucker, publisher of Edible Buffalo. “We also want to continue to make the connection between farm and plate for consumers. With over 7500 farms in the eight county region, we cannot afford to ignore how important local agriculture is to our food economy.”

Edible Buffalo has organized Eat Drink Local week along with their sister publications Edible Finger Lakes, Edible Hudson Valley, Edible Manhattan, Edible Brooklyn, Edible Queens, and Edible East Endto create a New York Statewide focused effort. Major sponsors include American Express, bing, I LOVE NY, and Organic Valley.

Following is a complete list of participating local restaurants and wineries in Eat Drink Local Week, June 24-June 30, 2011.

10,000 Vines                                             Blue Monk                                Buffalo Street Grill

Carmelo’s Restaurant                              Cole’s Restaurant & Bar        Daniels Restaurant

Farmers & Artisans                                    Globe Market                           Johnson Estate Winery

Lexington Co-operative Market             O’Brien’s Farm Fresh Meats & Smokehouse  

Ristorante Lombardo

The Roycroft Inn                                       Shango Bistro                          Trattoria Aroma

Webb’s Captain’s Table                           The Wilson House Restaurant

Edible Buffalo is the recent recipient of the 2011 James Beard Foundation award for Publication of the Year. To learn more about Edible Buffalo and Eat Drink Local Week, visit