By Larry D. Hodge
ATHENS—Leroy and Judy McMillin Egged me.
And I loved it.
The sign on their table at the Athens Eggfest drew me in. It said “Pig Candy.”
Who can resist asking, “What is pig candy?”
Leroy showed me. First he laid out strips of thick-cut bacon on a cutting board.
What’s not good about bacon?
Then he covered the bacon with a thick layer of brown sugar.
Sweet! Who wouldn’t like that?
Then he sprinkled chopped pecans all over, placed the strips on the Big Green Egg, and cooked them until the bacon was crisp.
And behold, it was pig candy. And it was GOOD.
Meanwhile, all around the Hart-Morris Conservation Center at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC), other Eggheads were engaged in delicious deeds of cookery. Pulled pork quesadillas. Blueberry muffins. Hawaiian surfers (sliders with a slice of pineapple). Pork ribs. Ribeyes. Whole turkeys. Focaccia bread. Cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapeños.
Did I mention bacon is good?
And it was all cooked on Big Green Eggs, ceramic cooker/smokers that make any backyard meatmeister into a celebrity chef.
Like Leroy and Judy McMillin from Spring, Texas, who go by their Egghead names, Spring Chicken and Spring Hen.
The McMillins and a host of other Eggheads will nest on the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center again this year on Saturday, April 12th. They will spend the day cooking and serving pig candy and other smoky delights to visitors.
Preregister at http://athenseggfest.wordpress.com/ and the tasting is only $5 with paid admission to TFFC. On the day of the event, tasting will be $10 with your admission. All proceeds benefit TFFC.
But be forewarned: There is a catch. The goal of the event is to turn innocent tasters into Eggheads. All the once-used Eggs cooked on during the event will be available for purchase at a big discount. Talk about a hot deal!
An Eggfest is the ideal place to learn whether you want to become an Egghead, since you will have the opportunity to observe people cooking a wide range of foods on Big Green Eggs. “If you taste something you would like to know more about, by all means ask the cook,” said Leroy McMillin. “All Eggheads love to share information. Nothing is off limits; there are no secrets. We gladly share what we know.”