The next morning and usually with a hangover, they build a fire, wrap the pig in fence wire, and then hang the pig beside the fire. Since they have nothing to do the rest of the day but stand beside the fire and season the pig and turn it every once in a while and, since it's a cold winter morning, that's a damn good time to pass around a bottle of Old Stumphole 90 proof sour mash. At lots of pig roasts, the fellows who started the pig to roasting are sound asleep at eating time.
The best place to have a pig roast is anyplace but your place. Back before hunting clubs posted all the North Louisiana hill-country woods, we usually had them out in the woods somewhere. We would roast a pig 5 miles down a dirt road, and along about eating time, near dark, we'd have 50+ people gathered around the fire. Word-of-mouth spreads news fast–"Hey, ole so ‘n' so is havin' a pig roast down the dirt road on the other side of the Low Water Bridge. You know where that's at?"
"Yeah, I know where that's at. That's the concrete bridge, not the wood bridge. Who's comin'?"
"Ever' body. Gonna be wimen ever' where."
That brings up an unwritten redneck cultural law. Everybody is invited to a pig roast. All you Yankees and foreign tourists take note. If you're driving through North Louisiana redneck country and you notice what appears to be a bunch of drunks gathered around a fire over which hangs what appears to be a burnt pig, stop your car or tourist bus and join the party. You're welcome. Just bring your own beer and whiskey. And don't say anything bad about George Jones or Hank Williams.
It's time to take a look at a redneck pig roast. This one took place on Super Sunday, January 31, 1999. It was held beside Sally Ann's Tavern in my hometown of Tullos, Louisiana. Before we go to the pig roast, let me state another unwritten redneck cultural law. Well, it ain't really a law. It's just something I've always heard. Folks say that the very best pig for a pig roast is a stolen pig. They say it tastes much better. I, of course, know nothing about that.
The fire was smoking and the pig was roasting. That's the time for male bonding–known in redneck country as talkin' trash an' passin' gas. Sam, the skirt chaser of the bunch–that's him in the foreground through Cholly Mac's window–said, "Y'all oughta been up the road [to the bars in Caldwell Parish] the other night. Man, there was a little blond up there that was something!"
I said, "What was she doin' in a bar up there if she was so good lookin'?"
"Hell if I know," Sam said. "But I'll tell y'all what–I think she was a lesbian."
"Why?" Cholly Mac asked. "Because she wouldn't have anything to do with you?" Cholly Mac looked at me and grinned, and we both started laughing.
"F__k you, Cholly Mac!" Sam exclaimed.
"Nope, you ain't built right," Cholly Mac informed him.
"Hey, Sam," I said. "Maybe she'll let you watch."
He stated, "Yep. She shore might."
Cholly Mac solemnly stated, "Not in a million years."
"F__k you, Cholly Mac!"
We basked in the sun a while and watched the fire smoke. Sam sipped beer, and Cholly Mac sipped a soft drink. Sam, to no one in particular, said, "This is what ole Hank Williams Junior was a-talkin' about–all my rowdy friends are comin' over. We got beer on ice an' a hog in the ground."
"Don't get no better than that," I informed them all.
Cholly Mac looked down at the ground, muddy from the recent heavy rains. "We ought to build a shed," he informed us all.
"Hell, Cholly Mac," I said, "somebody'd make us quit spittin' tobacco juice an' throwin' cigarette butts and stuff on the ground."
"Hell no, Cholly Mac," Sam said, "they'd build a concrete floor an' we'd have to mop the damned thing."
That quickly ended that discussion. Along about then, I said, "Cholly Mac, let me get a closeup picture of you so it'll show that hat."
About the time the camera snapped the photo on the right, I heard Sam say, "He had his picture took about midnight last night–courtesy of the LaSalle Parish Sheriff's Office."
"F__k you, Sam!" Cholly Mac said.
The letters on Cholly Mac's hat read:
"That's a pile of pigs," I said. "How many people are there?"
"Thousands!" Sam spoke up. "People all over the woods camped out in tents. Big tents. Little tents. Scattered everywhere under them pine saplin's. And women? Man! You ain't never seen women like that."
"Oh, yes, I have."
"No you ain't. Not like that. Man, some of them women come on their own Harleys! I ain't kiddin' you."
"Sam, that's just what you need–a Harley woman."
"She'd straighten yore ass out!" Cholly Mac said.
But sooner or later all rowdy friends settle down and get straightened out, and all good things come to an end. In our case, the pig got cooked. Cholly Mac kicked the fire off the Cajun microwave's lid, then removed the lid. They placed the pig meat, falling apart, into an ice chest and carried it inside the bar. He pulled the microwave from the ground and washed it out and off with a water hose.
In this photo of the inside of the Cajun microwave, notice the pieces of angle iron welded along the edges and in the center of the bottom. They keep the expanded metal grill about an inch from the bottom. As I said earlier, a shade tree welder could easily build one of these microwaves.
Click here to look at other kinds of pig roasters.
I went inside the bar and started sipping a beer. Sally Ann and her friends had prepared huge pans of baked bar-b-que beans and potato salad. The meal, someone told me, would be served at the Super Bowl halftime, about 3 hours in the future. I plopped down on a stool at the bar, a heaping platter of cheese, olives and crackers in front of me and a pretty girl on the stool beside me.
The jukebox played, mostly country. Here's Mona Sharp, the bartender, dancing with a customer. As I said elsewhere in the juke joint about another honky tonk bartender, God has a special place in heaven for good bartenders like Mona.
Believe it or not, they're doing the jitterbug to Little Milton singing "Shake Rattle and Roll."
The Super Bowl finally started, and off went the jukebox. I moved down the bar and nearer the TV. Some folks from Winn Parish, west of Tullos on flooded U.S. Highway 84, left with their hands filled with foil-covered plates. They had braved rushing flood waters in boats, and they had no desire to try the same trip after dark.
A few minutes before dark, someone came in and informed us that the Louisiana Department of Highways intended to close U.S. Highway 165 south of Tullos at dark and because of its imminent flooding. Soon, out the door went folks from south of Tullos, their hands filled with foil-covered plates.
Super Bowl halftime finally came. Someone said, "Hey, Junior, you better get something to eat while there's something left."
I went in Sally Ann's Tavern's kitchen, got a plate, then with my mouth watering in anticipation, opened the lid of the ice chest and peered inside. Beneath a wafting and yummy aroma, the ice chest, to my sorrow, contained only picked-clean bones and scraps of charred skin.