Richlands Virginia’s Pig Roast

July 19th, 2009

For the past twenty years the residents of Richlands Virginia have gathered at the Little River for a community pig roast. The setting is idyllic. The Little River is surrounded by woodlands and flows gently into the larger Clinch River. For the day of the festivities, volunteers stretch netting over a section of the river to prevent errant inner tubes from flowing away. Children and teens spend the day floating over the rocks in the tubes and jumping into the river from a rope swing. Canoes are also provided. Families bring their lawn chairs and establish their vantage points along the banks of the river. Barbara and I have a very good spot.

The main event of the day is the unveiling of the roasted pig. On Friday night a deep hole is dug and a fire started. Rocks are placed over the burning fire. Collard greens are added to perfume the meat. The dressed pig and other meat, usually deer and turkeys are placed in wire cages and lowered into the fire pit. The meat is covered with wet burlap and canvas. The pit is then covered with dirt and the meat is left to cook overnight.
On Saturday at 1:00 PM volunteers start digging the meat out of the still smoking pit.

The burlap and canvas are removed.

The greens and meat are exposed. In this picture a wire cage containing turkey is being removed from the pit.

After the meat is carved it is taken to the food tables where hungry people line up for the feast. The smell of cooked greens and roasted meats draws everyone forward.

Although the pork and other meats are the stars of the show, the contributions of covered dishes by the community are not to be believed. Casseroles, salads and desserts are so numerous that even if you are at the back of the long line there is always plenty to go around.

While friends and neighbors eat alongside the river they are serenaded by a series of talented bluegrass bands.

My husband and I have been fortunate to be invited to this event for the past four years. We always look forward to it. There is something very special about the gathering of friends and neighbors, young and old to share a day of fun, food and fellowship. The ladies of the community have published a pig roast cookbook. Of course I bought one. I will be sharing some of the recipes in later posts.

10 responses to “Richlands Virginia’s Pig Roast”

  1. What a great post! My parents are from Wise County VA (just down the road from Richlands) and you have captured the spirit and sense of community. 🙂

  2. What a wonderful community event! I love small towns. They have a special feel to them. That food table looks amazing!

  3. Mary says:

    What a wonderful celebration of community. It’s not hard to see why folks come back year after year. Thanks for the tour and your wonderful pictures.

  4. What a good time. I love those kinds of celebrations. What a feast to boot!

  5. What a great time you had. I love small towns and I guess that’s why we settled in one for our retirement. Community spirit is what it’s all about. Thanks for taking us along.

  6. Bella says:

    That sounds like a wonderful time! What a great event – thanks for sharing.

  7. Grace says:

    give me pig or give me death! golly, i’m jealous, and now i miss virginia even more! 🙂

  8. BMK says:

    This looks like fun!

  9. Sunshyne says:

    Wow, interesting tradition.. I’m actually from Richlands (well, been here a few years), and I never knew about this. lol Great post! ツ

  10. What a great way for a community to get together & celebrate! It reminds of our church doing a Feast of Lights dinner right after Christmas; where the Old English tradition of blessing the ‘pigs head with apple in mouth’ before the feast. Great post & thanks for the memories.

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