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Jun 24 / Tamsin

A Luau on the Palouse

While this isn’t directly related to water activity, we thought we’d share some things we learned on Tuesday night.

  • Basalt rocks can explode.
  • There is no better way to get called out for doing something wrong than roasting a pig in a pit, except for maybe playing solitaire.
  • It’s really hard to sleep at 4:30 A.M. outside in bright sunlight.
  • One of the Pullman Police officers really likes pig roasts.

Decagon 2011 pig roast 001

Let’s start from the beginning… Every Wednesday, METER makes lunch for about 100 employees and we eat while we discuss matters related to the company. There are about 5 dedicated people who undertake such a task. After last night, Brady Weldon, a member of our International Sales team, and Ken Ufford, Manager of E-Communications, have decided that they will not be regular lunch meeting chefs de cuisine.

As you might imagine, proposing a Luau was a popular idea. We found a pig, paid $55.00 to the Pullman Fire Department for the privilege of building a fire on our own property, borrowed some firewood, and set up our sleeping bags for a long night. A couple of gracious folks volunteered to dig the hole, about 3.5′ in depth, and we started burning about 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday. We lined the bottom of the pit with some local rocks with the hope that they would retain the heat and help it all cook. I’m sure they would have if they had stayed in the pit. Apparently, sedimentary rocks such as basalt explode when they’re heated. After putting out several little brush fires caused by burning debris, getting hit by rock fragments (ouch), and running for our lives – we decided that the appropriate course of action was to get the fire as hot as possible and just get this miserable state over with. Before we knew it, we had a raging bonfire and the night became much less eventful or at least less painful.

Decagon 2011 pig roast 003

Nearly everyone we talked to had some criticism of our methods, usually constructive but often not. One of our neighbors stopped by and informed us that we needed to cook it for at least 26 hours. As we were serving in 12 hours, we decided he was wrong.

We kept working until we had a nice bed of coals. Meanwhile, we started to prep the pig. We had it decapitated and skinned already – sitting in chest freezer looking slightly like we had a body in there. We pulled her out and started working, first heavily seasoning everywhere we could and then wrapping the pig in foil and chicken wire to facilitate pulling her out. The pig was more or less tossed on the coals, covered in wet burlap, and then buried.

Decagon 2011 pig roast 007

The next morning we awoke and after taking a brief break to shower, we finished the rest of the lunch and started digging up the pig. It was cooked to 160 degrees, but we would have preferred that it be around 200 degrees. Our neighbor may have been right, but the temperature suggested that no one should die. Next, time I think we will leave the pig in the ground for 16-20 hours.

The take away message from our roast was don’t do anymore work than is necessary.  We started the fire at 6:00pm and kept it going until 12-midnight, threw the pig in and built another fire on top until 2:30am, slept 2 hours and than went home.  We should have started the fire at 12:00, threw the pig on at 6 and had a good night sleep.  It’s a good thing that we had lots of help; it was a lot of effort. But, it all worked out and we had a 100 happy employees.

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