When you roast hogs for nearly 60 years, you get pretty good at it. “It started as a hobby,” said Maloy Wittman, a retired farmer from Lake Lillian. “Then I started roasting a few hogs here and there for parties.” Before long, his schedule was as plump as the hogs. In fact, one year he did more than 40 hog roasts. “I just enjoyed doing them,” he said. “I met lots of great people and had fun with it.” By the 1960s and 1970s, Wittman started perfecting the pork flavor which includes injecting barbeque sauce, using a salt curing brine and aging the meat. He also swears by his seasoned roasting pan using “a little of this and a little of that.” And that is just the start. “He won’t even tell my husband and I the secret recipe,” said Kay Bomstad, Maloy’s daughter. Another technique used by Maloy was roasting sliced carrots along with the meat. Bomstad said you could always identify one of her dad’s hog roasts by the carrots. For many years, Wittman was roasting hogs, not only in the Lake Lillian area, but well beyond the county lines. His most notable roast was for the Susan Butcher/David Monson wedding on Sept. 2, 1985 in Alaska. “My friend Leroy Swenson from Svea — whose son Rick was the most noted Iditerod winning dog musher at the time — was good friends with Susan Butcher, who was also an iditerod racer.” Not only was Butcher a dog musher, she was a four-time winner of the Iditarod and the most decorated female musher ever. In fact, she is so popular in Alaska that they have designated the first Saturday in March as Susan Butcher Day. “I met her on a trip up to Alaska when I traveled with Leroy in 1984 and I told her I did a pretty good job roasting pork” said Wittman. “She was single then, and she said, ‘If I find myself a buck in the next year and get married, I’ll have you do the roast at my wedding.’” Sure enough, she found her future husband, David Monson, and they had the wedding in Alaska. And Wittman was there. “I drove six straight days with all my roasting equipment to get there,” he said. “They had the wedding about 140 miles from Fairbanks and it was 3,360 miles. It was quite a wedding. People from all over the world were there.” Butcher died in 2006 of leukemia. And Wittman took the loss hard. “Susan and my dad remained friends and stayed in contact from the wedding day on and it really bothered my dad when she passed away,” reported his daughter. Another roast took him in another direction. “One of my local friends who also had a home in West Palm Beach, Florida,” said Wittman, “Wanted to know if I would come down and do a hog roast for him and his bride-to-be at a biker wedding celebration.” Again, Wittman was there. Over the years, he has set up his roasting equipment all over the midwest, from such events as a huge event at Form-A-Feed in Stewart with 1,500 served, a holiday party in Montana, a celebration at Rainy River, a reunion in Iowa, a mock 1849 wedding that took place in Chicago, and a graduation party celebration in Van Couver, Washington, with lots of roasts in the surrounding areas around Lake Lillian. “One of my good friends, Luverne Peterson has had me provide meat at least 20 or more times over the years,” he said. When the summer roasting season was really cooking, Wittman was always on the go. His wife Mary was his “secretary” and would continue booking Maloy’s services. “He nearly always delivered the roasters of meat to where the occasion was and if he had more than one roast a day, he would send my mom with roasters of meat in another direction,” said Bomstad. Over the last few years, the number of roasts has declined and Wittman said his days of roasting hogs are now behind him. Wittman turns 90 in January.
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