Happy 4th of July, bring on the pigs!!!

Bringing in the 4th of July in Senegal was quite an experience. Kedougou hosts the Peace Corps 4th of July party and there was much planning that needed to be done. We had to plan logistic, food, music, and beverages for 100+ people! Since my Dad used to be a butcher I got the honor of taking care of the pigs. We ordered 4 pigs and decided to cook 2 in the ground and butcher the other 2 for pulled pork and BBQing. Thankfully I didn’t have to slaughter them nor gut them, the place where we bought them did that for us.

The first two pigs arrived on the 2nd and while the boys dug the holes I injected one of the pigs with a marinade. Earlier the morning I went to the pharmacy to buy a syringe. I walked in and asked them if I could get a syringe that held the most amount of liquid possible. After kind of giving me a weird look I got a 10mL syringe, guess they don’t have a heroin problem here! I cooked up a marinade my father gave me the recipe for and started injecting the pig. Now for those of you not familiar with the metric system, 10mL is not a lot of liquid, it’s about .33 fluid ounces, so 4 hours later I finally finished the one and I let it sit overnight.

On the third the other 2 pigs arrived that I had to butcher up. The first one took the longest because we had to cut all the meat into little pieces so it could go in the pulled pork, the second didn’t take as long but in total it took me 5 hours to do both the pigs. I chalk it up to dull knives and trying to crack the bones with a dull cleaver, ax, and machete. Before I even got the pigs I prepared myself by calling up my Dad and getting his words of wisdom as to how to go about this, he also told me he would be on standby on the 3rd if I needed any help. When I got to the first pig I realized I wasn’t quite sure how to get out the spinal cord so I video Skyped my Dad and he talked me through it. Once we got that out we were all good. After cutting up the 2 pigs the first two were ready to go into the ground.

We started to festivities on the 4th with a race around Kedougou with both locals and Peace Corps volunteers, I thought the race started at 8:30am, but it started at 8 and unfortunately I missed it, but that just meant I could start partying sooner!! The theme was trailer trash, so the Kedougou volunteers dressed up in ripped jean shorts and whatever we could find for tops, I donned my purple tank top with a side ponytail 🙂 The other volunteers dressed in random Obama paraphernalia, they LOVE Obama here, they think he the best America so they have a lot of Obama clothing, watch out Savario and Nika I’ve been keeping my eyes open for you guys! At about 9:30am the music started and the drinks began to flow, I had to remind myself that this was a marathon and not a sprint so I paced myself with the drinks. It turned out that this was a good decision on my part because I was tasked with making the pulled pork something I’ve never made before so I had to guess as to what to do. We pulled the pigs out of the ground around 4pm and pulled the pork and people descended up it all. We had baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, pulled pork, BBQ pork, and 2 pigs from the ground, a LOT of good food! And I was complimented by many people on how delicious the pigs were and how I did an awesome job. Sorry, I had to toot my own horn because it was the first time I ever did this.

After eating such a huge lunch I decided it was time for a nap, so I laid down for about an hour. When I woke up I tried to rally and drink again but my stomach wasn’t having it and after two drinks I decided it wasn’t worth it and so I just danced with my friends and talked to people. Around 9pm we shot off fireworks that some of the volunteers bought up in Dakar (I have decided that Dakar is the land where you can get everything!). Now before the fireworks went off I wasn’t sure about mixing alcohol with pyrotechnics, but it all went off with almost no problems. I say almost no problems because my friend decided to hold one of the fireworks out while someone else lit it, thinking that it would shoot off the stick, well it turn out it just shot fire back at him and almost hit the house across the street. Luckily, my friend was alright and there were no serious injuries. After the fireworks I hung around a bit but my tummy wasn’t having it and by 11pm I figured it was time to head off home. Now I live a 2 minute bike ride from the house and usually bike home around 11 with no problem, but this night between the music and the fireworks we attracted a bunch of kids who would grab any woman coming out of the house. Luckily our guards, well the ones who weren’t drinking, were on top of it and told me they would walk me home, so I had a personal escort! I was in my room by 11pm, read a bit and happily fell asleep.
It was a lot of fun and I’m very proud of all the work I did with the pigs and how well they came out. I think I might make a July 4th tradition and butcher pigs every year! Hope your 4th of July was just as fun as mine 🙂

***WARNING – The following pictures are very graphic. Vegetarians and people with weak stomachs beware 🙂

Let the marinading begin!!!

This is how I injected the pig with a delicious marinade.

Here I am showing my apprentice how to inject the pig. The glove is on my hand not because I was disgusted but I found out that I had some small cuts on my hand AFTER giving the pig a rub down with salt. Ouch!!

Here is the whole pig before I began to butcher it.

And let the cutting being 🙂

Had to call the professional for help in removing the spinal cord. I brought out the computer so we could video Skype. His advice, “Just hack away at it!”

So I tried to use a cleaver…

Next an ax…

Finally I pulled out the big guns, a machete!!! (note: one of these is always readily available in Africa)

With the second pig all the blood wasn’t drained so we lifted the pig and I had to get the pool of blood that accumulated around the butt out with my hands.

Now that’s what I call a nice looking butchered pig 😀

How to make baked beans for 100 people, in a big pot over an open fire!

The boys digging the pig pits.

The fire gets going to put the pigs in.

Some of the volunteers dressed up for the 4th! I know you’re all jealous of the shirts, I’m ready to take orders.

The pigs finally come out of the ground!!!

Megan and I trying to look the part of our trailer theme, please note the belt that’s made out of an elastic cord that holds things to our bikes. Hey, whatever to keep my pants up!


One Comment on “Happy 4th of July, bring on the pigs!!!”

  1. Swade says:

    Good job on the pigs, gal! I’m quite impressed considering I’m originally from (or close by anyway) to the BBQ capital. Those are some smallass pigs compared to the bigass ones we grow here in North Cackalacky though! 😉 Love and miss ya!

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