Summer Fun ~ The Top 3 Ways to Roast a Pig

Roast Pig

Warm weather is upon us which means that it is likely that you will be vacationing outdoors or enjoying family meals with loved ones. If you are hosting a family cookout or a large gathering, serving pig as the main entree is always a huge hit. As with any type of specialty cooking, roasting a pig takes time, effort, and careful planning. This article will help identify a few ways that you can successfully roast a pig for your next family function.

  1. The first thing you need to decide is how you want to cook your pig. There are several ways to do so such as on a grill, spit, or rotisserie. Some prefer to use a large, box roaster that cooks the pig over a period of time in a covered container. A pig roaster can make some of the tastiest meat on the planet. The charcoal and wood mixture flavors the meat in a unique way and adds a latin flair to it. Be sure to account for the amount of time it will take to cook a big thoroughly. Using a roasting box, you can count on needing 4 hours of roasting time for an entire hog.
  2. Consider what kind of flavor you want the roasted pig to have. If you love the flavor of the natural pig, you can skip this tip. Some enjoy marinating the pig, adding spices, or injecting flavorful juices into the meat before starting the cooking process. If you would like to add some additional flavors to your pig, be sure to plan accordingly as this may require more supplies as well as time and effort on your part. You can find a number of recipes and other flavorful ideas by doing a quick search online.
  3. When cooking the pig, it is important to light the charcoal and heat the meat just right. You do not want the heat to be too hot or you will scorch the meat. You want it to be hot enough that the pig can cook evenly throughout, being careful to turn the pig every so often so that you can achieve this goal. It is important to avoid using instant charcoal as this can infect the meat with unnecessary chemicals and taint the taste of the pig. It is important to find a charcoal that lights easily and burns fast. Use lighter fluid and dose the charcoal with the liquid. Allow the liquid to penetrate into the coals for 30 minutes before lighting the fire. This will ensure that you will have a longer, more consistent burn which will provide great cooking time for your pig.

Whether you are hosting a big family cookout, making a smaller dinner for friends, or want to try roasting a pig on your own, these simple tips will help you get started. Your efforts will be noticed and appreciated by friends and family alike and your flavorful pig roast will surely be the talk around the water cooler on Monday morning!

Giveaway ~ Dead Men Tell No Tales ~ Giveaway ~#PiratesLife #TheHoppingBloggers

I love pirates! You love pirates! We all love pirates! Because we all love pirates I’ve joined forces with other bloggers to celebrate the opening of the newest installment on May 26 with a giveaway! Prize value is close to $200! Watch the latest trailer to get yourself in the mood and get those entries in! The giveaway begins today and ends on June 2. Good Luck!!

Dead Men Tell No Tales Giveaway

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of Disney’s most popular series of films. Originally based off the popular ride at the Disney parks, they quickly became a hit. Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth film in the series, will be hitting theaters everywhere soon, and to celebrate The Hopping Bloggers have put together an awesome prize pack for one lucky reader! This package is worth nearly $200 and includes:

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer and a headstrong young man in the British navy.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES opens in theaters everywhere May 26th!

Connect with Pirates of the Caribbean

Official Site | Facebook | Twitter | #PiratesLife

Enter to win this Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Prize Pack using the form below. GOOD LUCK!

If you’re a blogger looking to connect with brands: Join The Hopping Bloggers database and get started today!
If you’re a brand looking to work with a network of professional bloggers: Check out the creative campaigns The Hopping Bloggers has to offer!

Disclaimer: An Open Suitcase is not responsible for shipment of prizes. Prizes will be shipped directly from The Hopping Bloggers.

The Story Behind the Story of Cars 3 – Meeting the Writers – #Cars3Event

Cars 3 Story

At Pixar, it’s all about the story. Everything revolves around the story. The story is KING! Getting the story right is one of the most important aspects of what the creative minds at Pixar do. How to bring the story to life and make sure your audience feels the emotions of the characters. With Cars 3, much of the story needed to focus on how to have the audience relate to the cars as characters with emotions first and as vehicles second.

To explore the challenges and successes of how the writers of Cars 3 approached the third Cars installment and continued Lightning McQueen’s story, Pixar brought together writer Kiel Murray, writer Bob Peterson, writer Mike Rich, and story supervisor Scott Morse. On my recent trip to San Francisco, I was lucky enough to listen to them talk about the journey that brought Cars 3 to life.

Cars 3 Story
The “Cars 3” writers (left to right) Mike Rich, Bob Peterson and Kiel Murray and Story Supervisor Scott Morse (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Creating a Pixar story is always a collaborative effort. The Cars 3 team included a couple veterans and a rookie working together to fill the story with the emotion that is needed to bring the story to life. Not only was it important to bring the emotion of Lightning McQueen and the other characters alive through their story for the audience, it was just as important to give the other departments of Pixar (i.e. Animation, Lighting, etc.) a good story so that they can do their job too.

As all things Pixar – Mike Rich and Scott Morse started by researching. They traveled to overgrown dirt tracks in the South to get a feel for where the characters needed to go and how the story should feel. Peterson and Murray came on to add to the story and push Lightning McQueen into the character they needed him to be. Since the writers include both former athletes and sports fan, they knew the story had to include an important aspect: as an athlete ages, they lose their edge and they have to begin to replace youthful exuberance with a carefully-honed strategy. Lightning McQueen is struggling with deciding if he should go out on top or fight till the end. Lightning needed someone to get him back in the game so they created Cruz Ramirez, a tech trainer at the newly revamped Ruse-Eze Racing Center.

I love the direction that Cars 3 takes us and I believe the reason Cars 3 will work so well and be a huge hit is because it just isn’t your typical Car movie full of action. It also has emotion and heart that comes from the writers. Comes from the research, time and commitment they put into the story. The camaraderie of the characters mirrors the camaraderie of the writing team. They were so much fun to sit and listen to. 

Cars 3 will be roaring into theaters on June 16. Don’t miss it. I know you will love it!

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Visit the official CARS 3 website here:

CARS 3 opens in theaters everywhere on June 16th!

I was provided an all expense trip to San Francisco by Disney. All opinions are my own.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Activity Packet

Pirates Caribbean Activity Packet

Get ready to be a pirate with these fun Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales activities from Disney! Create your own spyglass, work your way through a pirate’s maze, sink some pirate ships and check out the brightest stars! I’ll be trying out these activities while I wait (not so) patiently for the opening!

Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.





Visit the official PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES website here:

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES opens in theaters everywhere May 26th

#PiratesLife ~ #PiratesOfTheCaribbean

Take a Lap Around Sonoma Raceway #Cars3Event

Sonoma Raceway Cars 3

So, what do you do when you work at Pixar and you find yourself knee-deep in the middle of the creation of Cars 3. How do you make sure your animation is right? How do you make sure your story is right? How do you make sure you are being emotionally realistic? Well, of course, you head off to Sonoma Raceway and learn everything there is to know about racing, race cars, fixing race cars, and driving race cars. You live, breathe, eat and dream race cars and racing. So what do you do when Disney invites you to come to California for the #Cars3Event. You do what all those creative minds at Pixar did and you spend time at Sonoma Raceway!

Sonoma Raceway is pretty – I never expected to think of a car race track that way, but there is no denying it. Pretty, green, well-maintained and really, really fascinating. Situated among the hills, the raceway has a permanent seating capacity of around 47,000. During major races, hospitality tents and other stages are erected around the track, which brings the total capacity up to around 102,000 seats. 

Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar

Pit Stop Training and Challenge (Photo by Marc Flores)

What a day. An early day that started off at 6:00 a.m. To get to the raceway our shuttle started winding it’s way through the hills surrounding San Francisco before it was light out. Through beautiful green hills filled with grape vines and small signs advertising wine tastings and vineyard tours. Never having been a racing fan I wasn’t sure what to expect, it was really early morning and I was still tired. I sat watching the scenery go by. Taking in the prettiness. Listening to the quiet chatter of 24 other bloggers who obviously knew much more about race cars than I did. There was a schedule full of interviews, presentations, taking a ride in a race car, a pit stop challenge and more that would have us at the raceway until late in the day.

A ride in a simulator! (Photo by Marc Flores)

From the moment we arrived I knew that Sonoma Raceway was just as excited for us to visit, as we were to be there! Sonoma Raceway was excited about Cars 3! 

Everywhere we turned we saw something else to remind us of the film and something else that would have us appreciating the “racing family” more. Putting aside the Cars 3 Event Press Day, if you are ever in the area, a visit to Sonoma Raceway has to make it on your ‘MUST VISIT’ list.

Fun loving and brave bloggers getting ready to take a lap around the track!

(Photo by Marc Flores)

(Photo by Marc Flores)

Touring the facility gave me such an appreciation for racing. I was apprehensive since high speeds and lots of motion aren’t really my thing, but excited at the same time because I knew I would learn what went into making Cars 3 and that’s really where my interest was. I couldn’t wait to find out how the creators of the film, which I had screened a portion of the night before, were able to have me think of the cars as characters first and vehicles second. How they were able to instill the emotional realism – which is an important part of every Pixar film – into cars. Cars that have us thinking of them as humans, with feelings and emotions. I wanted to learn about racing what they learned about racing that helped them create this latest Cars film. I wasn’t disappointed!

Creative Director Jay Ward and Ray Evernham, Former Crew Chief for Hendrick Motorsports (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

One of the most amazing presentations was about the history of racing. Since there are portions of the film that give homage to some of the original legends of racing, this was a presentation full of great information. Stories from the early history of racing with photos and details and fun! Oh My! The history of stock car racing, the evolution of car design, stories of legendary drivers ~ told by Jay Ward, Creative Director at Pixar (think of him as basically John Lassiter’s eyes and ears on all things Cars 3) and Ray Evernham, Former Crew Chief for Hendrick Motorsports.

Ray Evernham, Former Crew Chief for Hendrick Motorsports (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Creative Director Jay Ward (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

This was my favorite presentation of the day. I came away thinking of these two as the dynamic duo of racing comedy. It was obvious from the moment they started they have a great respect for each others knowledge. It was obvious they have spent lots of time together researching racing for the making of the film. It was obvious they loved what they do . . . and it was contagious! I came away having a totally different thought on the racing world. It’s a world full of family, full of respect, full of love and excitement. And all of those feelings will come through in Cars 3. It will come through because of their passion for the sport and their passion for the movie.

Stock car racing is a quintessentially American pastime that was developed in the days of Prohibition. Picture it – A bunch of dirt poor good ol’ boys who lived anywhere from Virginia on down to Georgia had no other choice to survive than the illegal whiskey business. They souped up their cars to haul their bounty, and then ran from the law like their behinds were on fire. Since boys will be boys – they started racing each other on local roads to prove who had the fastest car. Then, somebody got the bright idea to cut a track out of a cow pasture somewhere, and the rest, as they say, is history! By the time Prohibition ended in 1933, racing and modifying normal vehicles had become extremely popular. By 1948 it was a widespread sport.  The most famous bootlegger to make a name for himself in racing was Junior Johnson. 

Over the years, stock car racing has evolved from a band of drivers who raced for gas money on tracks primarily in the South, to millionaire owners and drivers who race at tracks across the country from North Carolina to California. Its a way of life for many. Its in the blood and heritage of many. The history is fascinating.

Lightning McQueen connects with racing’s roots in “Cars 3.” From left: River Scott, Junior “Midnight” Moon, Smokey and Louise “Barnstormer” Nash. Disney/Pixar

ESPN recently did an article on the legends of racing that are represented in Cars 3. You can read the full article HERE and get a sense of what I learned during the presentation.

I was not a race car fan before my visit, but I sure am now! How about you – are you a race car fan? 


Like CARS on Facebook:

Follow Disney/Pixar on Twitter:

Follow Disney/Pixar on Instagram:

Visit the official CARS 3 website here:

CARS 3 opens in theaters everywhere on June 16th!

I was provided an all expense paid trip to San Francisco. All opinions are my own.