How to Roast a Pig with Bink's Midtown
Though he's new to Central Phoenix, James Beard Award-nominated chef Kevin Binkley is no stranger to the Phoenix food scene.
Lauren Saria A roasted pig for Bink's Pig on the Patio.
Since opening Binkley's Restaurant in 2004, the molecular gastronomist has added three more restaurants to the mix -- the most recent opening in Scottsdale about a month ago.
It comes less than a year after he opened Bink's Midtown, the chef's first restaurant not located in Cave Creek or Carefree. Housed in a cozy cottage in Central Phoenix, the restaurant's menu is heavy on vegetables and focuses on themes of local, seasonal, and fresh. And though "all you can eat" isn't a phrase you'd expect to hear in any of his kitchens, Bink's Midtown started a weekly event in May offering just that.
Every week, diners gather for Pig on the Patio to dig into heaping plates of freshly cooked pork and side dishes of vegetables, rice, or potatoes.
As you can imagine, roasting a whole pig is a lengthy process and it begins, rather unceremoniously, with Bink's Midtown sous chef Guillermo Magana lugging out the restaurant's wooden roasting box. Emblazoned with "La Caja China" on the side, the aluminum-lined box can hold a 100-pound pig, more than a dozen chickens or eight racks of ribs at any one time.
Illustrated by Doug Penick The six steps to roasting a half pig.
"It's basically a wooden Dutch oven," he says as he pours about 20 pounds of charcoal on top of the box.
Inside lies half a pig -- he opens it to reveal one side of a pig that was divided right down the middle, from nose to tail -- that amounts to about 75 pounds of uncooked animal. Magana starts to heat the heap of black rock with a small blowtorch, the sharp smell of gas cutting through fresh post-rain air. On this damp morning, Magana knows it will be particularly difficult (read: time-consuming) to get the charcoal heated and the pig fully cooked.
"It's not really something you can do just by time," he says. "And it depends on the weather."