The Pig Roast was subdued due to a cold steady rain, but Bex made the best of it, with a tent, blankets, and two buildings (the restaurant and Gallery) to shelter in. The food was delicious and the sides were amazing. Executive Assistant Chris Callahan did a great job with decor and place settings and fall festiveness. Bill Kelly sounded great in the Gallery. “We are learning as we go about The Gallery space as we go, but the acoustics have been great for musicians, be it ambient guitar, unplugged guitar, and singing, or a full amplified band,” Chef Becky says.
Beezerque did a great job with a Camp Hill, South Carolina-style approach to cooking. He set up the pig smoker days in advance, building it out with cinderblock and barrels. He used cherrywood for the smoking, which imparts a unique flavor to the pork. The roasted skins provide cracklins, which are especially popular in the South. The cherrywood ash gets cycled back into the covered pit, providing an almost scientific approach to cooking. As any cook worth their salt will tell you, good cookin’ is about using your instincts as well as approaching things scientifically. The Camp Hill style of BBQ has certain characteristics, namely cooking the meat from below using all wood coals, and always utilizing a whole hog which gets flipped during the process.
“I feel like the event – especially given the challenges of cold and rain – was a milestone, in which something shifted from me being a fan of my customers to them becoming a fan of Bex. We put a lot of effort into things behind the scenes so the outward presentation looks flawless. Everyone in the restaurant and catering business knows about this, but at Bex, we cook from scratch, don’t cut corners, and have an exacting eye for detail, so it’s even more work for us. But when it works out at successful events, it makes that extra work worthwhile. It’s reaffirming to me because it’s been a trying and strange time for the industry going through, and coming out of, COVID.”
Chef Becky and Beezer have experience as hunters, growing up in rural Long Valley. This knowledge has imparted a reverence toward meat handling, uses, and preparation. One of the hardest things to get right is the doneness of meat since events are all about timing, and you want meat cooked to whatever degree of doneness, but not overdone. Both Chef Bex and Beezer hit the mark excellently.