A porkin’ good time: off campus pig roast

On Saturday, April 2, a group of Macalester students held a pig roast in an off-campus residence. Hosted by Pradyut Bansal ’17, Jake Meltzer ’17, Remy Eisendrath ’17, Ari Hymoff ’17 and Jenny Grischuk ’17, the event took place for the entirety of Saturday afternoon on Portland Avenue. According to Bansal and Meltzer, while the pig roast occurred at the same residence by the previous tenants last year as well, it is unclear what year it officially started.

Sponsored by Dean Schaeffer, a Macalester community member and landscaper who employs many Macalester students, the pig roast consisted of a 220lb pig and numerous other dishes, many vegetarian. While the carving and consuming of the pig happened midday on Saturday, the process of preparing was extensive. According to Meltzer, Dean picked up the pig from the butcher on Thursday, March 31. Already cleaned and gutted, the pig, humorously named Wilbur Johnson the Third, spent Thursday night on a pool table, with the house at a temperature that was butcher-approved to keep it fresh. Friday morning it was dressed and seasoned with garlic, onions and a dry rub.

The pig was then moved into a smoker Schaeffer had borrowed from a friend. Bansal commented that the smoker’s temperature was “maintained at 230° F through the night. And [the pig was] smoked with applewood and hickory.” He proceeded to add that the members of the house were sure to check on the pig a couple of times during the night and “redid the embers at 7 a.m. the next morning.”

On the day of the roast the pig was a sight to be seen. I arrived around noon, ahead of the crowds, in order to see the pig be taken out of the smoker and carved. Spearheaded by Hunter Johnson ’16 and Zach Busby ’18, carving the hog was no easy feat. Over the course of the nearly three hours I stayed at the house, the pig was never unattended, and when I left there was still a decent amount of meat being sliced off the bones.

Hosting a large crowd of college students in a residential neighborhood can be cause for concern, as excessive noise can irk neighbors. According to Bansal the hosts recognized this potential problem and “communicated with our neighbors in advance” to make sure that they were aware the event would be taking place, and even extending them an invitation.

“Dean also called the police and the fire department and figured out various health codes to make sure we were above code for everything,” Meltzer said, explaining the precautions taken. Even with an estimated sum of over 200 students in attendance over the course of the afternoon, the precaution was well worth it as no problems were reported during or after the event.

The roast was open to the entire Macalester community. An email was sent out earlier in the week to over 150 people alerting them to the upcoming roast and encouraging them to bring their friends. While events of this nature off campus can seem exclusive, as they are generally hosted in private residences, the hosts of the pig roast did an excellent job of reaching past just their friends to make the event as accessible as possible.

Even though the roast may be over, the pig is still contributing to the hosts. According to Meltzer, “most bones were thrown away, but we’re keeping some to make broth. Then we’ll bleach them and keep them.”