There are few things I love more in life than spending a weekend in the swimming pool with friends, and come summer months we try to squeeze in as many of those days as possible. But for this year’s Fourth of July fête, we decided to go whole hog with the menu, pun intended. I’d long been looking for an opportunity to host a pig roast (for the sole reason that it’s fun and festive), so my friends from Contigo Catering spent the day manning the spit setup in our courtyard, working their magic to create the most succulent pork any of us had ever tasted. Keep reading for my favorite moments from the day, plus a few tips on hosting a pig roast of your own.
*photos by Hannah Haston
Phoebe greets her guests at the door (she’s been counting down to this party for weeks.)
The patio awaits! I set out watermelon and berries on a tray of ice to give little guests something to snack on before dinner.
You can’t throw a Fourth of July party without bottles and bottles of my favorite rosé!
The Contigo Catering crew cooked up appetizers and sides that were every bit as delicious as that famous pork.
Here’s what was on our ultimate BBQ menu:
- Whole roasted Richardson Farms pig served with romesco & italian salsa verde
- Roasted chicken breast, summer succotash, ancho corn sauce
- Heirloom tomato, pickled pearl onion, charred corn, sourdough, watercress, roasted onion vinaigrette
- Red potato, asparagus, fennel, parmesan, pinenuts, pickled mustard seed
- Wild rice, leeks, summer squash, currants, almonds, lemon
- Grilled broccolini, calabrese pepper, garlic
A glowing BBQ sign beckons guests to the side yard to see the excitement.
There’s that pig in all its glory! It was actually really cool to watch the entire process — and I was glad that Phoebe and Henry got a better understanding of the source of their food, especially when it’s responsibly sourced from a local farmer who uses natural ingredients and farming practices, like Richardson Farms where this pig came from. I think it was the first time that Phoebe genuinely understood that pork doesn’t just “come from the grocery store!”
Ryan, Kelti, and Jeff stand by and watch while the pig roasts.
Summer parties are not the time to overthink decor – my centerpieces were huge tropical leaves I picked up from the flower market that morning, mixed with a few fresh pineapples from the grocery store.
Hanging with my party guest (and childhood friend) Claire as we sip Contigo’s famous El Pepino cocktail with tequila, cucumber, lime, and mint.
The guys let the pig rest before carving so all those delicious juices had time to distribute.
Nothing’s better than heirloom tomatoes in the height of summer! The charred corn and sourdough in this one reminded me of a Texas take on panzanella.
Contigo’s catering team has the prettiest serving pieces ever — I couldn’t believe how seamlessly they blended with my own stuff.
Are any of you guys brave enough to try conquering a whole pig on your own? If so, you’re in luck! Contigo’s chefs spilled their secrets for a perfect pig roast:
An important step for roasting a whole pig is brining. This helps to season the meat, but more importantly, it adds moisture through osmosis that keeps the meat from dying out during the long cooking process.
- 5 gallons + 15 gallons water
- 76.8 oz kosher salt, by weight
- 8 oranges, halved
- 6 lemons halved
- 10 bay leaves
- 3 bulbs garlic
- 1/4 cup black peppercorns
In a large pot, add 5 gallons of water plus the remaining ingredients. Squeeze the oranges and lemons as they go in. Put the pot over high heat and stir occasionally. Once the salt is completely dissolved and the pot reaches a gentle simmer, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool.
Place the pig in the cooler, add the concentrated brine, and then continue to add water until the pig is covered (about 15 more gallons). Add a bag or two of ice and continue to periodically add ice as necessary to keep the water temperature cold. Keep the pig submerged in the brine for 24-36 hours.
Roast the pig on a rotating spit for 5-7 hours, depending on the weight. You’ll want to cook it low and slow, only tending to the coals every half hour or so to ensure the pig isn’t over/undercooking. The last half hour you’ll want to increase the heat by adding more coals to get the skin nice and crispy. Enjoy!
Guests hung out in our shady side yard after dinner to get a little respite from the late afternoon sun.
Adam’s most recent landscaping project in the backyard. Can you tell that we like ivy and terra cotta pots just a little bit?
Party boy Ollie in the cutest look ever (can you believe that his 5-yr-old sis Lulu styled him?)
What the pool looked like all weekend.
A water balloon fight was the perfect way to help the kids burn off some of that energy from the ice cream sandwiches.
Madison takes a turn.
Phoebe wasn’t the only one who was worn out by the end of the party! Everyone piled onto the couches and daybed to wait for the fireworks…
Cheers to another epic Fourth of July! Hope y’all had a great one. xo