At roughly 200 pounds, the spotted Berkshire hog is rotund, marbled, and ready for harvest. His card, so to speak, is up. One day he’s snorting around the trough on a Fresno farm, and the next, he’s packed onto a refrigerated truck bound for San Luis Obispo.
Executive Chef Justin Casey of Granada Hotel and Bistro has big plans for this particular animal. In fact, every aspect of the creature’s transformation from hog to dinner will be celebrated, honored, and savored.
PHOTO COURTESY OF RICHARD FUSILLO Granada Hotel and Bistro is rolling out a whole pig each week to share with hungry folks at the downtown SLO Thursday Farmers’ Market. A meaty Berkshire hog is roasted for 10 hours in a Cuban Caja China barbecue box.
This task will require not only a dedicated chef, but a tireless sous chef, meticulous kitchen staff, no-nonsense grill master, patient cashier, dogged PR person, and hungry reporter (in that order). It will truly take a village to feed a village.
But first, a bit of backstory on the pork to come.
See, when Granada Hotel and Bistro decided to toss its proverbial chef’s hat into the Thursday night Farmers’ Market ring last month, no one could expect what Executive Chef Casey would think up. One thing was certain: He wasn’t about to throw some ribs on the ’cue.
That’s how all of this pig stuff got started. At Granada, no one’s worried about “more work,” as long as the extra toil results in hard-earned flavor points. You can call Casey crazy for vowing to roast one whole pig a week for Farmers’. I call him inspirational.
“We saw this as a challenge for ourselves,” Casey said of the whole hog experiment. “We’re putting a lot of work into this, and as a result, offering a lot of different flavors for that one animal.”