Oh! Those Po’, Po’ Pigs!

Red Wattle HogIf there is anything South Carolinian’s are passionate about it is a pig. A pig pickin’ – our very own version of roasting a whole hog involves long and slow attention to our food, and often requires we get together, and cook together over a hot open fire. It’s like pickin’ crab, another Lowcountry ritual, which I just did all weekend, a labor of love if there ever was one. Eating pork is a special ritual in the South, with our particular mustard based sauce, and cooking the pig whole is part of it.

On Edisto Island where I live, a short drive south from Charleston, our very own BoBo Lee’s place on SC Hwy 174 is called Po’ Pig, and it is one of the best, according to food writers Jane & Michael Stern, of http://www.concierge.com. They rated the tiny spot on our fair island No. 1 in the country last year. Incidentally, the cooks who worked in the kitchen when Bobo decided to start the barbeque place decried the fate of the pigs and said “Oh! those po’, po’ pigs!” when they heard of the enterprise.

Today, pigs are not only great old traditional barbeque out here in the ‘country’ – Edisto is the last undeveloped barrier island in South Carolina, with enough beauty and wildlife to make it an artist’s dream. But the pig is now also “Fine Swine” in Charleston at the finest restaurants in town. Rock star butchers is how writer Peg Moore refers to several fine chefs who are relearning the ancient art of charcuterie making, from home grown, pasture raised heirloom pigs: the Duroc, Tamworth, Ossabaw Island, and Red Wattle. Sean Brock of McCrady’s Restaurant raises his own pigs at his home on nearby Wadmalaw Island, and Emile De Felice of Caw Caw Creek near St. Matthews, South Carolina supplies high end restaurants in New York and Charleston.

These young chefs are continuing Charleston tradition by preserving the culinary excellence that began with the many French Huguenot early settlers who carved and cured their own livestock. Preserving and reviving the lost art of making the most of a pig is welcome news. And as Meg writes in her terrific piece in The Charleston Mercury, ” Chef Gray of High Cotton Restaurant, says, ” It’s a proud feeling to walk in the cooler and see this art work.”

And Julia Child would have loved it. Lard is back.

I was called to be an artist. And as an old old midwife said to me "If the Lord wants you to do something, you won't have no good luck' til you do." So, here I am, sharing what I love, longing to illuminate the work of art, which is everywhere.

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Posted in art, Arts & Culture, Charleston South Carolina, creativity, Food, sustainable living
4 comments on “Oh! Those Po’, Po’ Pigs!
  1. Rock star butchers and lard is back, I love it! I just went for our annual tour of the ranch with the kids, courtesy of Brad, and he told us the Spanish introduced the pigs everywhere they went. They would drop off a couple of them when they sailed out of port, and then the next time they came back into town, they’d have plenty to eat.

  2. Pinkney says:

    The ossabaw pig certainly started from the Spanish pigs. Emile DeFilce says that like the conquistadors, the Ossabaw is the meanest pig he has ever met and he won’t raise them anymore. Now, one can’t really hold the pig’s resentment against being eaten against it, but one would hope it doesn’t figure that out. Ossabaws should never be given weapons beyond what they grow themselves or the entire region would have more to worry about that hurricanes, fireants, the coming twave of Armadillos and rising tides….

  3. Garrett says:

    Does anyone know anything about a historic superstition in Charleston about painting houses in pig’s blood?

    • Hello! Yes, painting the roofs of houses red, according to Alphonso Brown who lead GullahTours.com, relates this to the African American tradition (the Gullah) which they got from the instruction from the Old Testament about marking your house with the blood of the sacrificial lamb of the Bible, for the Passover. It insures the blessing of God. Thanks for reading. I have a post about this and some other things you may enjoy. Just click on the Gullah keyword on the left and it will come up (Fresh History I think it is titled). Cheers, Charlotte

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What’s this?

Welcome to my blog about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a place proud with beauty, history and art. Sometimes we feel a call, to be, to go, to do. I was called to be an artist, and as an old midwife from Alabama said, “If the good Lord wants you to do something, you won’t have no good luck until you do it.”

So here I am writing about what I know, about the 'under glimmer' as the poet Basho, says, the way I have learned to see, to notice. I am inspired by, and talking about the history and art and culture of this place that has called me to herself. By the ancestors.

My background includes a degree in fine arts from a small private college in Florida, and before that, four years of all girls' boarding school in Asheville. I worked as a professional photographer, helped my children grow up, and now and I love seasoned things, good food, better conversation, beauty, my beloved and beautiful Italian Greyhound, Beau. Moved by the sacred places and stories of this beautiful historic land called the Lowcountry, I am here in spirit and I hope to infect you with my love of this place.

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