It's only a weekend away and we will be bidding goodbye to 2012 and celebrating the New Year. There isn't any celebration that can't be made better with some cigars. To me BBQ and cigars are like Mash potatoes and gravy. It's hard to think of a better combination. Smoking a huge joint of meat takes hours. Even a slab of ribs will run you 4 hours. And smoking a cigar takes a long time. So they're natural companions to the pitmaster. They also call into memory that whole hog cooking is in the shadow of the tobacco harvest.
So here I will list out a day of cigar smoking with whole hog.
6AM Your hog is trimmed, seasoned and injected. The coals are ready, the wood is chopped. Time to fire up the smoker and close the lid. Strong coffee is passed around and you start off with off with an Ashton Classic Churchill
It's clean and light. Well packed for a slow burn and the perfect companion for your coffee and morning paper. It should last you over 2 hours.
10AM You've been stoking the fire adding coals and wood as needed. It's the South so a tasty breakfast of fried chicken filets on a butter biscuit is settleing nicely. Time for something to keep you going through lunch. Some of you might even be cracking the first beer of the day. It's a new cigar, a bit fuller on the medium scale and nothing will go better with that first sip of beer - Nat Sherman Timeless #452
1:30PM By now, depending on your smoker, you hog has been flipped, seasoned with more spices and butter and your best friends just grilled up some burgers for lunch. You're comfortably full and ready to take on some more forbidden smokes. Namely ones from a certain communist run island. - Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.1
The hardest thing to do is make an assertive cigar that isn't heavy. Hoyos are full bodied and sophisticated. The only way to enjoy the perfect afternoon.
4PM The hog is cooked and not begins the resting period for it to redistribute those juices. Your slaw is already chopped and seasoned. Your hush puppy batter is mixed and resting in the fridge. There is nothing left to do but relax and wait for you guests. You been chatting with your fellow pit crew for most of the day and some have even slouched over for a nap. It's the same quiet time as you had at the crack of dawn. You want something to meditate to, something that just defines a job completed and well done - La Aurora 1492 Belicoso
Certain tunes are better for introspection than others. Something not too upbeat, not too fast nor too loud. You reflect on how lucky you are, all that you have, the family that loves you, the friends that stand by you. You reflect on where you want to be and how much further it will take for you to get there. All that wrapped in a leaf of tobacco.
7:30PM Your guests have all been feed the perfect plate of barbecue - chopped whole hog, dressed in a vinegar pepper sauce with a mustard slaw and hush puppies. You are stuffed to the gills. You're probably drunk and moving is uncomfortable. You need something to cut through all that food and booze. Something brawny and loud. The Type-A personality of cigars - La Flor Dominicana Chisel
10PM Well the party is basically over but the beer and conversations linger on. Last cigar of the day. Choosing the last one is like picking your favorite child. There's so many great choices. Do you go with some regal like the Fuente Fuente Opus X? The masterclass blend Don Pepin Series JJ? Or something elegant like the Cuban Bolivar Royal Corona? Since we are doing whole hog BBQ, the tongue in cheek limited release Liga Privada Feral Flying Pig might be a good choice.
It's been a long day and something elegant to finish off the night is my choice - Cabaiguan Robustos Extra. Luxurious taste with creamy rich smoke. Great cigar smokes have texture and there are very few that does texture as good as Cabaiguan.