How Butcher Tom Mylan Roasts a Pig (And Inspires an Underground Fan Club)


As Brooklyn bands played in the backyard of East Williamsburg's 3rd Ward on Sunday, the real rock star was making music by taking a big, serrated knife to a 200 pound roast pig. Butcher Tom Mylan of Diner, Bonita, and Marlow & Sons fathered the pig roasting part of the 1st Annual Pig Roast & Dance Party, and all eyes were on him. Watching Mylan is like watching an indie rock band on the cusp of stardom. He'll be big soon enough, but for now, it's mostly just hip Brooklynites fawning over him—the Ray-Ban-protected ones willing to trek out to Morgan Street yesterday for his meat. Whether you're stalking him at the Un-Fancy Food Show (he was one of the organizers), watching him spread pate at the Taste of Brooklyn, or attending one of his many butchering demos at The Brooklyn Kitchen, here are some tidbits of info from yesterday's event that every card-carrying-fan-club-member will want to know:

  • Mylan's guest of honor weighed 197-pound and came from Mario and Son's Italian butcher in Williamsburg (Mario himself delivered the animal.)
  • As a Southern California native, he misses his good, dirt-cheap Mexican food, hence the taco interpretation of a pig roast. He basted the animal with a salsa roja made from Mexican chilis like cassia, garlic, onion, and cilantro.
  • Other garnishes for the tacos included a salsa verde made of roasted tomatillos, cilantro and lime juice, and a dressing with onion, lime, and cilantro. So good, the salsa stock depleted early, but Mylan threw together more onions with salsa roja for a wing-it replacement. (Nobody seemed to notice.)
  • Mylan was exhausted by 6:15 p.m. taco scarfing time. He first got his hands on the fresh pig at 9 a.m. Sunday morning, roasted it from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and didn't stop all day—except for a few sample bites of crispy skin between cuts.

Warning: Giant roasted pig after the jump.

  • Since the animal was too huge for a pig roasting box, Mylan and his crew channeled their inner eight-year old boys to build a makeshift pit from cinder blocks.
  • This was Mylan's second weekend in a row as pig roaster extraordinaire. Last weekend, he wrapped a tinier oinker (still 60 pounds) with corn husks, then cooked it over a spit (he prefers this method to cinder blocks) for a coworker's birthday.
  • Sporting a lab-like coat under his apron and his Buddy Holly thick-framed specs, Mylan looked how you'd want your pig roaster to look: part scientist, part artist.

Mylan's last pig butchering class of the summer at The Brooklyn Kitchen is on Tuesday, but the 90-minute demo is already sold-out. He'll start up again in September, and students can look forward to a doggy bag full of freshly-butchered meat. Of course, by then, everyone will know who he is.