Now that the weather is starting to cool down (sorta), the idea of building a bonfire in your back yard to roast whole animals might sound like a decent idea. If you have a large group of friends to feed, a backyard roast is a cool way to get it done. Plus a pig slowly rotating on a spit over red-hot coals is a visually arresting image. Nobody will be able turn down your invitation.
The only problem is finding the animal. Walking out of your local Kroger wearing a young pig like a boa isn’t going to happen, so you might not know where to get started. But if you’re willing to do a little legwork, a few local butchers and farmers can help you go whole hog.
Local Yocal in McKinney has the largest variety of whole animals. Manager Adam Stone says he offers whole pigs and lambs. Super ambitious cooks wishing to conjure their inner Fred Flinstone can inquire about front and rear quarters of beef. If you go that route, you better have a lot of friends and a really big backyard.
If you decided to go with Local Yocal, Stone says you need to place your order two weeks before you pick it up, but because this butcher makes use of frozen animals, they offer the widest selection. Pigs from suckling all the way up to 150 pounds are available for your backyard roast. They'll thaw it in their cooler, so your fridge won't be stuff with pig for a few days.
At David’s Meat Market in Garland, your pig is slaughtered to order on Mondays and delivered on Tuesdays, so depending on when you make the call, you can have your pig in just a few days. Check out David’s if you’re looking for a deal. They don’t stock the Berkshire animals that Local Yokel does, but you can save a few dollars a pound. They’re also the best option if you’re looking for a pig on the fly (but not a flying pig).
The hardest animal to find in the Dallas area is goat, which is surprising considering the meat’s popularity around the world. I talked with a few chefs and Cassie Green at the Green Grocer and they all said the same thing: You have to call Ty Wolosin of Windy Hill Farms. If you see goat on the menu at Small Brewpub, FT33, Hibiscus and other local restaurants, the animal probably came from his farm. And if Wolosin’s goat is good enough to get Matt McCallister and Garahm Dodds, it’s plenty good enough for your backyard.
The trick is securing one. Wolosin says he needs two weeks notice, and then you’ll have to coordinate a pickup or delivery when he comes to Dallas every other Friday. If you’re looking for small goats, you’ll be further restricted to late fall and spring when goats give birth.
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Still, the effort is worth the potential party. Imagine a young goat spinning on a spit in your back yards filling the air with the smells of roast meat and rosemary. Get a bunch of pita from your nearest bakery, whip up some yogurt with mint and cucumber and watch all of your hard work disappear in an instant. Roasting big takes a lot more planning and work, but the results are unforgettable.
Local Yocal, 213 N. Tennessee St., McKinney, 469-952-3838
David's Meat Market 4010 N. Jupiter Road, Garland 972-495-8315
Windy Hill Foods, 122 N. Plant Ave., Boerne 254-979-1988