The perfect pig roast

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Everett Whiting of West Tisbury and Tim Laursen of Vineyard Haven joined efforts this summer to bring us Local Smoke. A small catering business specializing in the smoking of local chicken, pig, fish, and even lamb, if requested. You may have seen them at the Agricultural Fair in August, selling their smoked pig and chicken that came from a mile away. In just four days the two men sold out of 18 pigs and 115 chickens.

Cooking since he was a boy of 12, Mr. Whiting has taken on restaurant positions on and off for years. Only more recently did he become involved with the love and labor of growing and raising animals and then actually cooking for people. “It’s rewarding,” Mr. Whiting says of his efforts.

He proposed a plan to Mr. Laursen early this summer and he knew they could work well together — their opposing strengths would complement each other. Mr. Whiting could have full control over the food and Mr. Laursen specialized in constructing a smoker and managing their time restraints. Mr. Laursen wanted to do Local Smoke because he was interested in the process and the Fair seemed like a “Perfect temporary project —feeding thousands for four days.” They also sold tee shirts picturing the smoker.

Local Smoke’s catering has been in effect for almost a year starting with an event for Chris Murphy. Since then Mr. Whiting has worked on a barbecue pit and smoker and wants to build more this winter. Mr. Laursen built a smoker last fall in Brooklyn, N.Y. The smoker at the Fair was a reverse flow, indirect wood-fired barbecue smoker, which can fit four pigs or 35 to 40 chickens inside.

“It’s a large smoker, pretty much as big as it gets…before getting to a conveyor smoker which uses electricity,” Mr. Whiting explains.

The pig they used for Local Smoke’s pulled pork sandwiches came from Janet and John Packer of Northern Pine Farms in Vineyard Haven. The Chicken came from Richard Andre of Cleveland Farm in West Tisbury. The poultry and meat has to get sent off-Island for slaughtering to Athol because there is no USDA inspection facility on Martha’s Vineyard. For Mr. Whiting, this is definitely an inconvenience, but they have no other choice at this point in time.

Cooking and smoking is not all Local Smoke offers. They have a plethora of fresh side dishes that are also locally harvested from the Island, specifically from farms that they have relationships with. In the summer, they offered potato salad, vegetable slaw, corn and tomato salad, all with no mayonnaise.

There was a fabulous iced tea recipe at the Fair with local mint grown on the Whiting’s property. For fall pig roasts, Local Smoke will offer ingredients that are in season from farms close by, including corn, potatoes, broccoli, and cabbage to create healthy slaws with raw vegetables.

For tips on raising your own pig, Mr. Whiting advises: “Get your piglet in the spring, feed it vegetable scraps, pig grain, corn grain. Give it room to move around.” Adds Tim, “Once it’s around 70 to 100 pounds, you’ve got a good sized roasting pig, for about 75 people.” Adds Everett, “So slaughter it and call us.”

Local Smoke is determined to slowly expand a little over the year but since they cannot store meat this winter and have no permanent commercial kitchen, they are working on various smoking projects from here and from Brooklyn, N.Y. They are available through the winter for roasts.

The price of a pig roast is approximately $600 to $800, depending on the size of the pig. A pig weighing 100 pounds costs $300 to $400. The company doubles that price to include cooking, roasting, smoking, cleaning, recipes, skill, and technique.

To learn more about Local Smoke or to plan a roast, visit localsmokemv.com.

Vegetable slaw

1/2 lb. broccoli
1 small head of green cabbage
1 small head of purple cabbage
1/2 dozen large carrots
Julienne to the size desired and add:
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 TBS ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend and let sit, then enjoy.