Gods of Whole Hog BBQ - Ed Mitchell
It's Friday! Can you believe we've already had an entire week of "Gods of Whole Hog"? Today grabbing the mantle is my teacher, Eastern Carolina pitmaster Ed Mitchell. As far as I know, there really isn't anyone but Ed getting out there an promoting Whole Hog BBQ like Ed is. Well there's my website but that's a bit too much self promotion there. There's plenty of whole hog guys being written about but none have grabbed the pulpit and nationally preached the gospel of swine as widely as Ed. If the other pitmasters were saints of our religion, Ed is the prophet. I mean just look at him! With the beard and the size, all you need are some stone tablets in hand and we got a prophet of biblical proportions.
Along with promoting whole hog BBQ, he's going one up further on the supply chain. He believes that farms raising heritage breed hogs can and should make a living doing so and whole hog BBQ is the vehicle to preserve not only America's oldest existing culinary practice but her long standing heritage breed husbandry.
Style - James Kirby's "banking" technique where coals are arranged around the hog. The fire starts off very hot and lowers to a steady temperature through the control of the dampers. Purely Eastern Carolina style here where the hog is chopped up and mixed together both lean and fat. The skin is then crisped up on the pit to be chopped up and mixed into the meat.
Fuel - Ed uses a mixture of charcoal and hickory wood.
Sauce - Eastern North Carolina is straight vinegar pepper. It takes as much to preserve the old traditions as it takes to innovate. Ed doesn't deviate from the sauce his grandparents used. There is a secret ingredient to his sauce though, it's moonshine. The secret is that you put that moonshine in the pit cook and not the sauce bottle.