My folks have a nice spread out in the country and several years ago we started having a hog roast on the Saturday before Labor Day. It's been a learning experience, but the guys pretty well have it down to a science now. The actual party starts on Friday night. My stepdad's nephew brings down his backhoe and digs a 5 or 6 foot hole during the afternoon, and we fill the hole with wood and start burning it. We add wood for several hours until we have a couple of feet of coals.
I usually leave before it's done enough because sometimes it's midnight before they decide it's burned down enough and I still have to get up the next morning and cook! (Plus, they start passing the shots and my stepbrothers won't let me say no. I don't drink much anymore and I honestly don't want to start my next morning praying to the porcelain god!) They wrap the meat in cheese cloth, put it in aluminum pans and wrap it in wet burlap bags. They then wrap heavy wire around each bundle so they can lower and raise it out of the pit. They didn't think to do that the first year, and it was tricky getting it out! Live and learn! They put a piece of tin down on the coals and set the prepared meat down in the hole. A few more pieces of tin go across the top and then they shovel dirt over that to hold in the heat. We leave it like that until about 4 o'clock the next afternoon.
The next afternoon starts with a trap-shoot. I'll say upfront I don't much like guns so I usually don't go out until later in the afternoon. I will admit, however, there are some truly skilled shooters in the family and I enjoy the competitiveness of the event. These are people who take this all very seriously and have some really expensive equipment. It's a bit beyond me. Eventually, they decide it's time to open the pit. Everyone crosses their fingers that there is still heat and the meat is done. I don't know why everyone worries, we've never had a bad bake yet!
We all stand around during the "unveiling" and sample the meat as each package gets opened. It's so hot it burns your fingers, but it just doesn't seem as good once it starts to cool. It literally falls off the bone.
I usually get my fill of the meat then, and when it comes time for the meal, I eat the salads and desserts that everyone has brought! Sooo much food! But so good! This year saw the biggest crowd I think we've ever had. I left a little after 9 and headed home, but I'm sure the party went on till way after midnight. I'm just not the partier I used to be-- but it's all such a good time!