Last night, someone decided to steal Raleigh-based chef Ashley Christensen's custom cooker. While the search for the culinary apparatus is on, Eater asked Christensen how concerned citizens in the area can identify the cooker.
For those who aren’t familiar with pig cookers, what are some characteristics they should be looking for?
This one was a gift from one of my mentors, Nick Pihakis of Jim N' Nick's BBQ, to celebrate our Beard Award in 2014. It is a product of a design that Sam Jones (of Skylight Inn BBQ) created, and to which the entire Fatback Collective (with Nick’s leadership) have contributed feedback, which has fueled the evolution of this very special cooker. It was fabricated in Charleston, and has double-wall insulated steel, which allows you to hold perfect "slow and low" temp in the dead of winter and also helps with wood and coal conservation.
This one has bright red, heavy steel latches on the front that my uncle Marty fabricated and installed after the cooker arrived and we discovered that the existing latches were a little light duty for the hard-core nature of the cooker.
It has a large handle on one side that allows a single person to flip a 200-pound pig (which comes in handy in the middle of the night when all of your whiskey-drinking "assisting" pals have passed out in lawn chairs by the fire barrel). It also has a wood compartment on the trailer, sick-shiny chrome rims, and three chimneys.
How difficult would it have been to steal the cooker?
It required some planning and the presence of power tools for sure. All of the cut lines in the steel of our electric gate (and the padlock) were super clean. They managed to break in between visits to the shop by our events team. We believe it happened shortly after dark. The lesson … with a little planning, some proper power tools, and a little bit of luck … anyone can be a dirtbag.
Don't be a dirtbag — return the cooker.