The monthly dinner series that takes place at The Barn at Flanagan Farm in Buxton, Maine, features a five course meal prepared by different chefs, and benefits the Maine Farmland Trust. We have worked closely with Alex Wight, founder of the event and our dear friend, to support its development. Once a year, we serve as featured chefs and while we always try to represent our restaurants’ cuisines, lately we’ve been enjoyed grilling and spit-roasting huge cuts of meat.
The event is especially gratifying because it serves valuable purpose in supporting a nonprofit that works with farmers who provide for our restaurants. In a bigger way, though, Alex and her family have created this beautiful space where people who don't know each other too well sit elbow-to-elbow and share a big, beautiful (and occasionally gluttonous) meal. Such close quarters, ample servings and generous pours encourage fast friends, by the time dessert hits the table, no one is a stranger.
Alex and her team attend to the smallest of details leaving us, the visitors to play.
And play we did.
At this particular dinner, which took place on an incredible summer night, we got playful with a pig. In Mike’s words on that night:
We got in this beautiful 38-pound suckling pig from South Royalton—or “SoRo” in the local parlance. So the SoRo swine was butterflied and then Andrew [Taylor] pulled out all of the bones, the ribs and the spine, so from its neck all the way down to its tail it is totally boneless. He then made an almost Thai style sausage farce using some Maine pork shoulders. We filled it with that. We then took as much of a broom handle as would be required to run through the pig and wrapped it with 6 layers of plastic wrap [note: to be removed later] and we ran it through the farce so that we would have a channel that the spit would go through after we attended other parts of its preparation.
We then took red snapper hotdogs and we laid those in there as well. So there is an interior garnish of those...very Maine chic.
Then we took a cooler and filled it with hot water. We took two immersion circulators, which control the water bath temperature, and we strapped those onto the side of the cooler. We wrapped this guy up in 5 garbage bags and sunk him in there, poaching him for 6 hours or so, so it is all cooked. All we are trying to do right now is to get this guy just disgustingly crispy.