What a whirlwind weekend I had!  Not only did I work Apple Fest Saturday and Sunday, Saturday night was my 30th high school reunion.  I’ll post a few pictures of that tomorrow, because today we are talking about pie and pork. Open-mouthed smile

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Since this was my first Apple Fest I really didn’t know what to expect.  What I discovered though is that in all the years that The Chopping Block participated in Apple Fest, they really only concentrated on Apple Pie.  And have I mentioned that the apple pie is insulin worthy?!

PicMonkey Collage - pies

We only sold the pie by the slice this year as well, because the event was two days long instead of one day, and the owner wanted to make sure everyone got a slice of pie that wanted one.  In the end we sold 485 of the 502 pies that were made, and that was exactly how the owner wanted it to work out so that she could give away the leftover pies to our neighbors on the street.

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Saturday morning I was on the pie team.  We had already baked off about 275 pies by then, and as cast iron skillets were emptied and being cleaned we would start on the next batch of pies to go into the oven.

PicMonkey Collage - peeps

After a few hours of that, I was a “floater” so I got to move around and help where necessary.  I was also the resident photographer – I took a picture of everyone who worked the two days.  The tall guy on the left is Jason, one of the Chef’s – he’s like 6.5” and after meeting him once, the second I ran into him I said “did you miss me?” and gave him a great big hug and he just laughed and said “of course!”  So now whenever I see him he’ll shout across the room “Biz, I missed you – how’ve you been?!”  The top right guy is Nick – he’s also insulin dependent diabetic, but doesn’t manage it all that much and whenever I see him I test his blood sugar.  And Julian on the bottom right tells me all the time “Biz, you are such a hard worker!” whenever he sees me mop, because when it’s time to clean up and get out of there, I am on a mission.

Sunday I was on Team Pork!  I was so happy about that because I got to man this:

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That is the Big Green Egg.  Just search the hash tag #biggreenegg on Instagram and you can see how many people love, love, love the Big Green Egg.  That right there is the medium egg, which we sell for . . . $950.  The extra large one sells for $1200.  People will also tell you that once you cook on a Big Green Egg you never go back.  And even though I can buy this at cost after my first 90 days, I am not sure I am willing to pay that kind of money.  Mind you, I love it.  The meat that comes out of it is absolutely delicious.  You can regulate the heat really well.  There are four settings on top and also that screen down below can be opened up to let in a ton of oxygen if you need it.

BBQ 101:  know what temperature you want to cook your meat at and also what the end temperature of the meat you are cooking – if you know those two things, you will have perfect meat every time.  I had one couple tell me that they couldn’t cook brisket on the BGE because it was too hot and it over cooked and was tough.  I said “did you just pull off the meat and let the grill cool down?”  Nope – they never thought of it!

For pork shoulder (or pork butt – same thing) we want a cooking temperature of 225 degrees.  And we want to pull them off at 190 degrees.  These pork shoulders took about six hours to cook.

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Is that some Pork Porn or what?!  It was so tender it nearly fell apart taking it off the grill.  We then pulled it, making sure to incorporate that delicious fat into the pulled pork, tossed it with some BBQ sauce and we were good to go.

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When I was on the patio, I was talking to a couple about the Big Green Egg, and the cooking classes, etc.  When all of a sudden someone I went to grade school with  (hi Jason!) came in with his two young children, because he saw my post on Facebook and lives in the neighborhood – I probably hadn’t seen him in 20 years!  When I went back to the couple, the woman (hi Sarah!) turned her phone to me and asked “is this you?!”  It was my Instagram page and she said she’s been following me on Instagram for the longest time and actually came to the event because of the pork and pie pictures I posted.  Love it!

But let’s get back to the food – not only was the pork delicious, but the red cabbage and green apple slaw (because it was apple fest!) was equally as delicious. 

The weekend was a complete success, despite the rain that was on and off again. 

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That’s Shelley, the owner of the company.  She knocked out a dozen or more pies yesterday on our retail floor.  What I love about her is that there are no airs about her – she says that the worst thing that someone can say to her is “that’s not my job.”  She’ll carry out garbage, sweep the kitchen, scrub dishes just like the rest of us.  At the end of the night last night, Shelley handed out hard apple cider (made by Right Bee Cider and it’s amazing!) to toast to a great weekend. 

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She started to get teary explaining that at one point during the day she looked up, saw the store was full of people, her employees were smiling and making sure everyone was having a great time, that she realized that this company can go on without her one day, because of the group of people she’s assembled and that she couldn’t be prouder of everyone and their efforts in making the weekend a success.  From starting to make pies days in advance, for people manning the grills overnight to setting up the tent and prepping the retail floor, to coordinating schedules and breaks.  

We each had our glass of cider, hugged each other for a job well done and went our separate ways.  As I was driving home, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I am to work for a company like The Chopping Block and that somehow through the grace of God, my path landed there. 

And if Tony were here, I know he’d be so happy for me, which gives me all the feels. <3