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WhiteTrash BBQ -- Real Pit Barbecue from New York City. This is the story of a fire obsessed guy, living in Brooklyn, with a dream of producing award winning, competition busting, real Barbeque. Come live the dream as I compete around the country in the KCBS Championship Barbecue circuit.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A shelter from pigs on the wing?

This came into my inbox today and I thought I'd share. Pig Brother is watching.

No barbecue is safe

John Kass - The Chicago Tribune
February 8, 2008

America was a free country, once, before the Barbecue Police put their boot heels on our necks.

"Or, you can call them the Pig Police, since they hate people cooking pigs in their own back yard!" Amante Enad, 55, of Wheeling told me Thursday.

"That's what I was doing, until they wrote tickets on me and took me to court. I said, 'What rights do I have to cook in my own back yard? Don't I have rights to cook a pig on my own property?' And they gave me the tickets."

The enemy in this case is the Village of Wheeling. Not the fine and proud barbecue-loving people of Wheeling, but the power-mad bureaucrats of Wheeling. They're dragging Enad into court next week on some vague charge of barbecuing multiple pigs without a license.

But it sounds like they're just opposed to a proud native of the Philippines cooking up some traditional lechon (roast pork) on his own property for later transport to a church fiesta.

It's time Americans stand up and protest, because once they get Enad's back yard rotisseries, they'll come after yours, and then they'll come after mine, and they'll order us to eat lentils and like it.

"What country is America, where you can't even cook a pig in your own back yard?" Enad asked me, perhaps rhetorically. "They came, they wrote tickets. I asked them, 'What are my rights in my own home?' And you know what they told me?"

No, what did they say?

"They said, 'You can cook only one pig. One pig only.' Who sets the limits on pigs? It's my hobby, not a business. I do it for love of the Filipino people. And they say one pig. One pig? Who are they to say one pig? What is going on?"

I first learned of the Barbecue Police by reading stories by Tribune reporter Vikki Ortiz, who has been following the anti-lechon discrimination case.

She pointed out that the lechon Enad made was recently served at St. Catherine Laboure Roman Catholic Church inGlenview. So I called the priests there.

"You can't have a meeting of any kind of Filipinos without having lechon," Rev. Alfredo Salera, associate pastor, told me Thursday. "You have it for birthdays, house blessings and any big feast. I don't know the man, but I've heard his name from other people. He cooks lechon for fiestas. You can't have a fiesta without it. A fiesta without lechon is not a fiesta."

Wheeling Village Manager Mark Rooney says Enad may have been running a lechon side business, but the evidence was unclear.

One anonymous tipster whispered to inspectors that Enad was trapping and slaughtering animals in his back yard, and once he was finished, he'd toss the bones onto the neighbor's yard.

Clearly, this is a vicious lie and not evidence, but some bones were allegedly found. Naturally, the anonymous lechon-hating "neighbor" could have planted them.

"[Inspectors] agreed he could keep the roasters and not sell anything to the public, and if he did it for family and close friends, the village had no problem," Rooney said. "We are not the Barbecue Police. He has to keep the bones on his property so the neighbor doesn't run over them with his lawn mower."

So I called Enad's neighbor, who said he has no complaints whatsoever.

"I would never complain on a guy for cooking in his own back yard," said Roman Augustyn, a native of Poland, which has its own proud roast-pig traditions.

"It doesn't bother me. He told me he stopped because the village came after him. I'd never call the pig police on a neighbor because he cooks a few times. If he makes some more, I hope he brings me a plate," Augustyn said.

Another Wheeling bureaucrat was James Lang, about as reasonable as a riding crop against a boot.

"He's a repeat offender," Lang said. "You take all the humor or whatever you call it. When you get down to it, the guy twice had the case closed against him, and yet, he keeps breaking the code, breaking the rules.

"And then we showed up and he had five roasters and a commercial-grade freezer," Lang said.

I asked Enad about this, and he said, yes, but that he never sold any of it, and just made lechon for churches and friends because he loves to do it.

"I wondered, what country is this?" Enad said. "I mean, you cook in your back yard, they come in your house and look in your freezers? I didn't do this for money."

If they get Enad, then some day, the Barbecue Police will come after your barbecue. And they'll tell me I can't roast a lamb in my driveway on Easter because I leave the head on and neighbor kids might freak out thinking it's a dog.

And what about my rib cookers? They belch hickory smoke when I fire them up. And the two kettles, and the gas grill? The only time I'll give them up is when they're pried from my cold, dead hands.

"No one bothered me in the Philippines," Enad said. "I was free to cook there."

The great economistMilton Friedman insisted Americans should be free to choose. Now we're not even free to cook.

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